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5.0 out of 5 stars I believed that I never fantasized.
For years, I used erotica books as surrogate fantasy material, believing that I was incapable of fantasizing during sex, that I had no fantasies of my own and had to use other people's. Reading "My Secret Garden" changed my perception of myself drastically. Those horrid, disturbing thoughts that floated into my brain, that I would shove down quickly as...
Published on Jan. 26 2001 by R. Byrd

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars interracial relationships portrayed as beastiality
As one half of an interracial marriage, I have become accustomed to purient inquiries such as "what's it like with a black woman?" Interracial relationships are frequently viewed as brazen explorations into forbiden sexuality, many finding it difficult to fathom two people of different races simply falling in love and enjoying a normal life together. Friday's...
Published on Aug. 1 1998 by SusScrofa


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars interracial relationships portrayed as beastiality, Aug. 1 1998
By 
As one half of an interracial marriage, I have become accustomed to purient inquiries such as "what's it like with a black woman?" Interracial relationships are frequently viewed as brazen explorations into forbiden sexuality, many finding it difficult to fathom two people of different races simply falling in love and enjoying a normal life together. Friday's book includes interracial sex in the section on beastiality! Perhaps giving us some insight into how she views such unions. This book is an vile insult to interracial couples and their children.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good Pornography for the Middle Class., June 24 2001
By A Customer
The problem with this book is not that it is pornographic. The problem is that it is hypocrticial. It is one thing to edit and publish a collection of women's sexual fantasies and not care whether someone considers it pornographic or not. It is quite another to collect such fantasies, add a few introductory notes between the chapters, and try to disguise the pornographic content as "research". The idea, apparently, is to make this colletion "respectable", worthy of being sold in Barnes&Noble in the "psychology" section instead of in the local "adult bookstore".
Is this book *really* "research", like Nancy Friday claims, or is it "pronography"? The definition of "pornography" is, according to the american heritage dictionary, "obscene literature... having little or no artistic merit", literally from the greek "writing about harlots". "Reseach" is "dilligent and systematic inquiry into a subject". Clearly "My Secret Garden" is the first, not the second. It is almost literally "writing about harlots" (or women fantasizing of being ones). But it is *not* a "dilligent inquiry" into the subject by any stretch of the imagination.
For example, Nancy Friday's method was simply to collect the stories from *women who answered her request for fantasies*. Do you really think it is likely that a woman who sends her sexual fantasies to a complete stranger is the *average* woman? How about men who send stories, claiming to be women? Women who answered the advertisement as a joke with all kind of wild stories, and so on? Nancy Friday does not show the least awareness of such potential biases in her data. Nor does she do any quantitive analysis whatsoever of the results. She simply published the "best stories". If this is reseach at all, it is very bad research.
*As Pornography*, this book is quite good: much better, in variety of subject, experiences, and authenticity, than the usual "adult books". It can be exciting; it can add spice to one's sex life, and suggest some new things you haven't thought of (and, unlike the usual fictional "adult" book, these suggestions can actually be tried without getting yourself or your spouse arrested, injured, or worse.) It is clearly collected by an intelligent woman who had both men and women in mind when she chose her material.
I suspect Nancy Friday knows very well that her books are pronographic, and that her claims of "reseach" are merely a rather transparent excuse for publishing them with a "respectable" publisher. As a writer (or collector) of pronography, she did a good job, and it is perhaps a good thing to have this kind of high-level porn available. Just don't kid yourself about what it is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I believed that I never fantasized., Jan. 26 2001
By 
R. Byrd "byrdie" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For years, I used erotica books as surrogate fantasy material, believing that I was incapable of fantasizing during sex, that I had no fantasies of my own and had to use other people's. Reading "My Secret Garden" changed my perception of myself drastically. Those horrid, disturbing thoughts that floated into my brain, that I would shove down quickly as "sick," were indeed fantasies. The brave women who contributed their fantasies and feelings showed me that even if what I was drawn to was "sick," it certainly wasn't uncommon.
I am especially grateful to the women who commented on making the decision to share, or not share, their fantasies with their lovers. This was crucial for me. At a time when my thoughts were to be confessed on demand, I deprived my lover by depriving myself: those weren't fantasies, they were just random weird thoughts that made me uncomfortable. However, after getting out of a bad relationship and realizing that my mind was my own toy, I found that I could explore those thoughts without fear of exposure to anyone but myself ... and thus without shame.
Once I allowed myself my own secret garden, I found that I could share with myself and my current lovers in a way that previous ones had tried to coerce out of me. Living well is indeed the best revenge, and I thank Nancy Friday for her subversive assistence.
There are sections and chapters. Here's a listing of the section headings:
Introduction: Twenty-Five Years in the Garden
1. "Tell Me What You Are Thinking About," He Said
2. "Why Fantasize When You Have Me?"
3. The House of Fantasy
4. "Where Did A Nice Girl Like You Get An Idea Like That?"
5. Guilt and Fantasy, Or, "Why The Fig Leaf?"
6. Fantasy Accepted
7. Quickies
Afterword: "In Defense of Nancy Friday" by Martin Shepard, M.D., psychiatrist
Along with fantasies submitted via taped interview and by mail, Friday includes her own analysis of the history of women's erotic nature, of the era at the time of initial publication and of the fantasies themselves. There's no bibliography and no footnotes; she mostly refers to any sources in the text itself. She's a good writer, whether or not I agree with her from chapter to chapter.
Written letters are kept in the style in which they were sent. Some of the women are amazingly articulate. Some of the letters are a painful read from a literary standpoint. But I think this enforces the idea that all of the submissions are genuine.
People who are interested in this book simply as another erotica compilation may well be disappointed. This is an academic study of women's fantasies, and not a "best of" compilation. If anything, it's a compilation of what Friday observed to be most representative of her times. And a quarter of a century after its initial publication, it changed my life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I believed that I never fantasized., Jan. 26 2001
By 
R. Byrd "byrdie" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For years, I used erotica books as surrogate fantasy material, believing that I was incapable of fantasizing during sex, that I had no fantasies of my own and had to use other people's. Reading "My Secret Garden" changed my perception of myself drastically. Those horrid, disturbing thoughts that floated into my brain, that I would shove down quickly as "sick," were indeed fantasies. The brave women who contributed their fantasies and feelings showed me that even if what I was drawn to was "sick," it certainly wasn't uncommon.
I am especially grateful to the women who commented on making the decision to share, or not share, their fantasies with their lovers. This was crucial for me. At a time when my thoughts were to be confessed on demand, I deprived my lover by depriving myself: those weren't fantasies, they were just random weird thoughts that made me uncomfortable. However, after getting out of a bad relationship and realizing that my mind was my own toy, I realized that I could explore those thoughts without fear of exposure to anyone but myself.
One I allowed myself my own secret garden, I found that I could share with myself and my current lovers in a way that previous ones had tried to coerce out of me. Living well is indeed the best revenge, and I thank Nancy Friday for her subversive assistence.
There are sections and chapters. Here's a listing of the section headings:
Introduction: Twenty-Five Years in the Garden
1. "Tell Me What You Are Thinking About," He Said
2. "Why Fantasize When You Have Me?"
3. The House of Fantasy
4. "Where Did A Nice Girl Like You Get An Idea Like That?"
5. Guilt and Fantasy, Or, "Why The Fig Leaf?"
6. Fantasy Accepted
7. Quickies
Afterword: "In Defense of Nancy Friday" by Martin Shepard, M.D., psychiatrist
Along with fantasies submitted via taped interview and by mail, Friday includes her own analysis of the history of women's erotic nature, the era at the time of initial publication and the fantasies themselves. There's no bibliography and no footnotes; she mostly refers to any sources in her text itself. She's a good writer, whether I agree with her at each chapter or not.
Written letters are kept in the style in which they were sent. Some of the women are amazingly articulate. Some of the letters are a painful read from a literary standpoint. But I think that enforces the idea that all of the submissions are genuine.
People who are interested in this book simply as another erotica compilation may well be disappointed. This is an academic study of women's fantasies, and not a "best of" compilation. If anything, it's a compilation of what Friday observed to be most representative of her times. And a quarter of a century after its initial publication, it changed my life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Secret Garden., Dec 30 2008
This review is from: My Secret Garden (Paperback)
This book has been around for many, many years and it's easy to see why. Inside are real women who talk about real things, fantasies and what have you. They don't hold back, either and some make "normal" fantasies seem almost vanilla. It's a great read for anyone who wants to explore this realm. Another good one: Playtime.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I guess I'm more exciting than I thought...., Aug. 1 2001
By 
"lilylovesphone" (Tacoma, WA United States) - See all my reviews
I purchased this book hoping to get some new ideas, be inspired, enlightened, aroused, titillated...but no, none of the above.
The only thing this book did was reassure me that this world is full of a lot of sexually repressed women and even more Jerry Springer-like trashy ho-bags. There was no sensuality here. Perhaps it's because most of the text was written by amateurs but good LORD. If I were writing something that I thought would end up in a book, I'd take more care to make it interesting.
There's a distinct lack of imagination AND character in our society. This book makes that painfully obvious.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Twenty five years later and I still love it!, Jan. 24 1999
By 
Barbara A. McCarthy (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
When I first read My Secret Garden 25 years ago, my reaction was WOW! I was just discovering my lesbianism and realizedI wasn't the only one with these wicked thoughts. The fantasies still give me hours of arousal and new ideas for my fastasy life; some of which have become pleasurable realities. My wish is to see more concerning lesbians. My current fantasy is to see this book published in an audio version...I might never leave my bed if that happened! Thank you Nancy Friday for your wisdom and courage!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible pornographic book, April 18 2000
By A Customer
This book is not written for women. This is written by a woman to satisfy the lecherous needs of sex-starved pansy type men, who just get excited by reading such material. Majority of the people who bought, read and enjoyed this book were probably men. No woman will enjoy reading this book. Descriptions are third rated and disgrace women as slaves of men. There are much better books which will help women to free themselves and put them in a respectful position equal to men.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A book written by women....To please women, Jan. 31 1999
By A Customer
This book is still breaking ground 20-something years later and the stories of arousal and passion go far beyond what you think could happen in real life, except alot of them are true,,,, And they are having WAY more fun than you.... I Highly RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYTONE EXPLORING THEIR SEXUALITY. THS IS YOUR CHANCE TO KNOW THAT WAHT EVER IS IN YOUR MIND IS IN OTHERES MINDS AS WELL
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5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating, Informative,and Enlightening, March 21 1999
By A Customer
This book was a brazen attempt (in it's era )to liberate Women to realize that their sexual fantasies are okay. If more women and men would read this book, perhaps it could help to alleviate some of the sexual tension between our sexes.Then we could get on with the communication issue, that we all need so much.
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My Secret Garden
My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday (Paperback - Feb. 5 2008)
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