This book caused quite a ruckus when it was released 25 years ago because it directly quotes the sexual fantasies of dozens of women, ranging from the "very common" rape fantasy to lesbian affairs to unusually explicit scenarios that are unmentionable here. While author Nancy Friday maintains that My Secret Garden served to free millions of women from sexual oppression, there's still a need today to get rid of the guilt that millions more still feel when it comes to fantasizing, having orgasms, and making one's sexual wishes be known. "How could it be, you might ask," she writes, "that women today, at the turn of the century, would still think they were the only Bad Girls with erotic thoughts? What kind of prison is this that that women impose on themselves?"
My Secret Garden is Nancy Friday's first foray into the world of sexual fantasies. Although it can be read simply for titillation as a voyeuristic peek into the sexual minds of American women, it's not intended as such. Nancy Friday had a feminist vision in mind--although rejected by mainstream feminists--of sexual equality, by normalizing the idea of women having and enjoying sexual fantasies as such. Ironically, the secret garden needed to be made a little public in order to convince women it is all right to cultivate her own. Friday systematically chronicles reasons why women might fantasize, what themes run through fantasies and their origins, and a final section called "Fantasy Accepted," all highlighted from examples she collected in letters and interviews. There's a lot of subject appropriate four-letter words and kinky fantastical acts described, although less explicitly than in a later volume on men's fantasies entitled Men in Love. An interesting read for someone interested in women's sexuality and gender studies.