Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Secret Garden” as Want to Read:
My Secret Garden
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Secret Garden

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,728 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
When it first appeared, Nancy Friday's taboo-shattering bestseller "My Secret Garden" created a mixed storm of outrage and exhilaration. Those women who feared their erotic fantasies called it pornographic. Those women who read it recognized in its pages the hidden content of their own sexuality. More outspoken and graphic than any book before its time, "My Secret Garden" ...more
Paperback, 361 pages
Published October 28th 2003 by Pocket Books (first published 1973)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 11, 2007 AE rated it really liked it
Shelves: one-handed-read
Omg, I heart this trashy little piece of "research" on female sexual desire. Let's face it, if you can make it one page without your hands going into your pants you're probably dead.

This thing is like the penthouse forum except it admits it's all fantasy. Yes, there are busloads of nuns and cheerleaders and maintenance men but nobody's trying to pass them off as actual experiences.
Petra Eggs
Jun 17, 2008 Petra Eggs rated it it was amazing
Reviewed Feb. 18th, 2013

Like so many older books on sex that purport to have a sociological raison d'etre. In this case, the (at the time) ground-breaking discussion of women's fantasies but in actuality it's just a not-very-well written collection of extremely dirty stories that unless you neither fancy women nor are one, are probably going to get you hot, just as the author intended.
The Scarlet Pervygirl
May 21, 2008 The Scarlet Pervygirl rated it it was amazing
Filthy, irrational, pointless, and rather badly written, like all of Nancy Friday's books, My Secret Garden offers what pretty much amounts to a guarantee to get me off.
Deary Darling
Sep 29, 2013 Deary Darling rated it did not like it
One thing I will say for this book is that it can do wonders for a person (me) who feels concerned or disturbed about the things that occur in their fantasy life. Chances are you will feel virginal and innocent after reading some of the darker taboos in this book.

My first problem with this book was not its subject matter ... it was the delivery. I'm not a psychologist so anything stated here is only opinion and experience. That being said, as Mrs. Friday points out ... women's fantasies tend to
Don Juan Quixote
Dec 02, 2012 Don Juan Quixote rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. As far as I know it is the first book of it's kind ever written. I picked it up while a senior in college at the University of Mn where I was studying Theatre Arts. My idea was to get some kind of clue to what women secretly think about...

It taught me that all women have sexy little fantasies that they hide from most people, even sometimes from themselves. 25 years after I read it, I began a similar book using her basic categories, or 'types' of flowers in the secret g
Marie Gentilcore
Feb 20, 2013 Marie Gentilcore rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth
I read this as a young teen, I think I was either 12 or 13. I got my copy in a thrift store. I was always shopping for books in the thrift store back then. I kept it secret because I'd never read anything so explicit before. I'm giving it 5 stars because it made a big impact on me at that young age.
Terri Lynn
Jul 03, 2011 Terri Lynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Nancy Friday's books are so refreshing to me. The first one I read was this one- MY SECRET GARDEN. The "garden" in question has nothing to do with soil and plants. This is the first book of women's sexual fantasies collected by Nancy Friday starting in the 1970's. She was not a psychologist or social scientist. She was a woman who wanted other women in a world that was finally opening up to female sexuality to be free to anonymously unveil their deepest sexual fantasies for other women to enjoy ...more
May 24, 2010 Surreysmum rated it liked it
[These notes were made in 1981:]. Naturally enough, I bought this out of prurient interest. And it is more or less what I expected - longish accounts of various types of erotic fantasy, linked with a facile tho' not by any means illiterate or vulgar commentary. It's printed on cheap paper, has a few typos (Brigid Brophy says no-one can bear to read pornography twice - hence it's never properly proof-read). It is not fiction; nor is it in any way scientific enough to be taken seriously as non-fic ...more
Cristina Garcia
Nov 29, 2010 Cristina Garcia rated it really liked it
Shelves: read_in_2011
Great book. It makes you feel like less of a weirdo for your own fantasies lol. And if you're an aspiring erotica writer its a great source of inspiration. Didn't really enjoy her interjections but I just skimmed over them.

Definitely worth the read.
Aug 21, 2011 Darth rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In turns titilating and downright boring, this was an eye opener in some ways. I know plenty of guys (myself included) with a long standing history of mentally going to the highlight reel of either past experience or fantasy to get them over the hump when they are having trouble finishing during sex. It really never occurred to me that women might do the same. Once I had the idea presented to me, it made perfect sense.

The psuedo-scientific approach was very lacking in any kind of organization,
Aug 24, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
And before internet porn and Shades of Grey there was one clever lady who collected other people's fantasies and packaged them neatly into a book with only the bare minimum of pseudo-intellectual, psycho babble around it as was required to make it past censorship - and hey presto a multimillion dollar book was born. I still take my hat off to Mrs Friday for letting others do the work but also thank her for the copy that existed in my parents' house and that introduced me to fantasising beyond me ...more
Natasha Walker
Jul 22, 2012 Natasha Walker rated it it was amazing
Delicious. Back in the seventies this book proved that women were naughty, dirty and utterly erotic. Anyone sitting at home ashamed of their fantasies now should pick this gem up and be liberated. No matter how obscene your fantasies are Nancy Friday is here to show you not only that you are not alone but that you're not even really trying.

There is one sad addendum - if you read later books by Firday you'll find that with the rise of porn, the internet and a general openness in society about ab
Jun 14, 2010 Hope rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
NOT for the faint-hearted about sexuality. I was not only surprised, but pretty deeply shocked at some of the fantasies women told for this book. I learned that I am still pretty much a prude AND that my own fantasies are more emotionally and romantic based, than having to do with pure sexuality.

Part of me wishes I had not read this book, but part of me is glad that it helped me learn a few things about myself and my morals and boundaries.
Jan 28, 2010 Tressa rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book made me feel so NOT like a freak. It was nice to know other women were fantasizing, too.
Feb 24, 2013 Charlotte rated it liked it
Shelves: theorie
Could a collection of women's sexual fantasies from the 70s still shock a reader in the Fifty Shades era?

It sure can.

Though it's easy to become desensitised after the first 100 or so pages of orgies, horses, dogs, whips and big black men.

But telling those fantasies off as silly or deviant is exactly what this book goes in against.Your fantasies are your own, and while you risk scorn when sharing them with the world, and may experience a feeling of guilt as a consequence, ultimately it doesn't ma
Apr 22, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: sex-ed
My Secret Garden was helpful in opening my eyes to female thoughts on fantasy, and more importantly, female thoughts about having them. Understanding the feminine reaction (guilt, shame, etc) to desire was my main interest in reading this book. Though I am not familiar with the pool from which Friday culled her samples, the feelings of self-hate are pervasive and sad. Why women beat themselves over the head for common human emotions is a question whose answer must be found in society, in the " n ...more
A friend here on Goodreads (thanks Petra) reviewed this book today, and one look at the cover, title and author and it all came flashing back. I have read this book! Some 20+ years ago, but oh yes, I remember it.

This is a book of short sexual fantasies of women. Dirty little short stories. The book was passed on to my with some other books by my older (and more experienced) sister when I was in my early 20's. Or it might have been my late teens, but I'm pretty sure it was my early 20's because I
May 18, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
It was purely, seriously!

I don't remember how I first heard about this book, but I think it was one of the first "erotic" pieces I read. It's a collection of fantasies submitted by anonymous women, at a time when repression was the norm. Some of the fantasies are vanilla, some are a bit scary, and some are quite hot. By the time the author/editor began compiling the later books in this series, women grew bolder in revealing their secret desires, and the later books grow hoter and
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 24, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it
This 1973 book was groundbreaking for its time but badly needs updating and a better grouning. It could be seen as a collection of dirty stories, yes, but it also does give insight into the female psyche and I wonder how much would still apply today. Part of the problem is I feel this isn't very grounded or representative. Friday seems to have collected the fantasies of a rather small range of women demographically.

Friday wrote she advertised for female fantasies in a magazine and newspaper and
Carla Acheson
Jan 17, 2013 Carla Acheson rated it liked it
Oh my good God, this book is filthy. A book warped with women's pseudo-psycho sexual weirdness. A book sooo vastly wrong and repellent to the natural karma of human sexual nature, it makes Fifty Shades read like a Teletubby romp. In fact, this book is sooo filthy you will find your hands blushing shamefully, just because you are holding it, they and perhaps other extremities will glow with guilt.

Unless, you too, are pseudo-psycho sexually warped you will feel like you need to go straight to chu
Didn't bother to finish because it started to get repetitive and the commentary in between was just asinine.

Not finished it yet but here are my thoughts so far:

I decided to pick this up as sort of a historical context for the current 50 Shades movie mania. It's already helped me to clarify my thoughts about 50 Shades. It's 100% fine for a woman to fantasize about whatever the heck she wants to. That does not in any way mean she necessarily wants any of those things to happen to her in real life
The Center for Sexual Pleasure & Health
"My Secret Garden" is a collection of many women's fantasies. First published in 1973, it was rather outspoken at the time. Nancy Friday breaks fantasies down into fifteen main rooms: anonymity, audience, rape, pain, domination, terror, the forbidden, transformation, earth mother, incest, animals, big black men, young boys, fetishists, and other women. Towards the end Friday also includes some women who played out their fantasies, and some who actively engaged in fantasy with their partner.

May 19, 2014 Boris rated it liked it
3 out of 5 might sound like it's a mediocre book. But it isn't.
It's just that it's not been a pageturner and I'm a bit disappointed that it might be dated and there are a couple of fantasies that are way out of the line.

There's a couple of things that I've learned:

1) While the one or the other fantasy left me at first like „What the...“ on second glance I found myself thinking „Well, why not?“
2) It can't be stressed enough that it's (mostly) about fantasies. There's nothing anyone should feel gu
Sep 02, 2014 A.J. rated it really liked it
Caitlin Moran mentioned this book in How to Be a Woman, and I was intrigued so went looking for it and found it's available as a free download from the Internet Archive. The fantasies are mostly fun - with a few disturbing exceptions where fantasy and reality overlap. These days its contents aren't all that shocking, but it must have been considered outrageous when it first came out in the 1970s.
May 16, 2014 Kristin rated it really liked it
Interesting book. Not shocking to me per say, I can stomach a lot. There's a wide variety of fantasies in this book. From your classic "I want to fuck the post man" to women who want or do, naughty things with their pets. In certain parts, this book just gets downright strange. But, I guess that's the beauty of human fantasy. It's all different and inside a fantasy bubble you can do what you want without being judged. When looked at from a physiological point of view, the book was quite interest ...more
Nov 18, 2007 Kristi rated it liked it
This book was groundbreaking in its time, but in a time where any fantasy is explicitly displayed on the internet, it's not as thrilling as it once was. Also, the author gets a little... exuberant about the effect of women's fantasy lives. Healthy fantasy and sex lives are important to an individual and a couple in a relationship. This book could possibly help a woman to feel empowered and unashamed of her own strange fantasies, I just don't think it could possibly have the impact it once did be ...more
Mohamed Salah
Nov 19, 2012 Mohamed Salah rated it liked it
Will, I understood the main idea from the very 50 1st pages; the rest was just about varieties of the fantasies women have.

When you reach that state you can use the book as a tool for powering your fantasies your self and do your thing if you know what I mean :D
Aug 19, 2009 Peter rated it liked it
This book seems a bit dated, I skipped over a lot of the blah blah which was aimed at a female audience newly experiencing the sexual revolution. Nevertheless, some of these women's fantasies still pack a wallop.
I DID NOT and I repeat DID NOT read this, only added it so I could have my Mary Whitehouse shelf, Mucky Muck Muck
Natasha (Diarist) Holme
Jun 25, 2015 Natasha (Diarist) Holme rated it really liked it
The first research, published in 1973, of women's sexual fantasies, at a time when women were believed not to have sexual fantasies. Not a book for binge-reading ... or public transport.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Hite Report
  • The New Topping Book
  • Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving
  • The New Bottoming Book
  • Getting Off: A Woman's Guide to Masturbation
  • The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex: The Most Complete Sex Manual Ever Written
  • The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction
  • Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist
  • That Takes Ovaries!  Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts
  • Human Sexual Response
  • Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences
  • Different Loving: A Complete Exploration of the World of Sexual Dominance and Submission
  • The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness
  • The New Male Sexuality
  • The Sexual State of the Union
  • Slow Hand: Women Writing Erotica
  • Generation S.L.U.T.: A Brutal Feel-up Session with Today's Sex-Crazed Adolescent Populace
  • Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture
Nancy Colbert Friday (born August 27, 1933) is an author who has written on the topics of female sexuality and liberation.

'Nancy Friday's successful fantasy revelations (My Secret Garden, Forbidden Flowers)' have seen her placed among 'the feminist erotic pioneers'. Her writings argue that women have often been reared under an ideal of womanhood which was outdated and restrictive, and largely unre
More about Nancy Friday...

Share This Book

“No man can be really free in bed with a woman who is not.” 19 likes
“Who said “ladies” don’t use words like “fuck” and “cunt,” or that one doesn’t use them around “ladies”? Maybe not when you’re having lunch with a lady, but when a lady’s fucking, she’s not having lunch.” 3 likes
More quotes…