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My Secret Garden

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 has the prurient appeal that made it one of the most passed-around books in high school study halls (it boasts chapters titled "Insatiability" and "The Thrill of the Forbidden"), but its premise, underneath the tales of lusty longings, is a serious one. Friday, also author of My Mother, My Self and Women on Top, is appalled at how parents, especially mothers, instill in their children a deep fear of sexual pleasure, and she advises how to do away with this stultifying force. While Friday can get a little histrionic at times ("Women's lust ... could bring down not only individuals, but society itself"), that doesn't make this book any less enthralling. --Erica Jorgensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Reviews of

​A sensitive account of three generations of one family from the perspective of the youngest. A compelling read. - Leonard Iggulden

This is a short novel of a young girl growing into adulthood, trying to understand her Charleston home and world, jealous of her mother's greater caring for her older brother, puzzling over her missing father, realizing her early peer leadership is fading with her friends dating and her own seeming rejection by boys, then seeing her heroes collapse, and in the end understanding that one can only rely on oneself to find friendship, love and closeness, a life in the world.
LULU is funny and sad, intriguing and ultimately insightful, a book for each of us, a helpful and even important read. - Bill Baker
Forbidden Flowers

Finally women can talk about what they used to only dream about....
Forbidden Flowers is Nancy Friday's second collection of sexual fantasies -- and it's even more explicit and outspoken than her original erotic masterpiece, My Secret Garden. The constant refrain from the legions of women across America who read My Secret Garden was, "Thank God I'm not the only one..." who had those wild, exciting erotic thoughts. With Forbidden Flowers, these women can yet again experience the exhilarating freedom that comes with the awareness and acceptance of their sexual selves.  - google books

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Jealousy and Envy
Jealousy and envy are difficult to define; Nancy Friday touches on definitions throughout the book. Envy is additive; a person wants something that someone else has and envy results. Jealousy is subtractive; a person faces a loss of influence, control, and power, and consequently feels left out. From another perspective, however, envy is a form of jealousy. The most important psychological factors that enter into jealousy and envy include power, control, dependency, sibling rivalry, and the Oedipal urge. It is possible to go from being envious to feeling guilty about it; this can lead to working on reestablishing lost trust. Friday quotes Melanie Klein: “conscious awareness of envious, destructive feelings can repair love.”

Themes of abandonment, guilt, humiliation, reparation, idealization, narcissism, competition, sex, inhibition, gender identity, possessiveness, self-diminishment, greed, revenge, vulnerability, destruction, betrayal, and projection are woven into this ambitious book. 

Like Friday’s previous book, MY MOTHER/MYSELF, JEALOUSY is strongly autobiographical. Recollections of Friday’s sex life before marriage abound. Many vignettes from close friends are included as well as interviews with professionals in mental health fields--hardly controlled studies.   -  enotes

I love this book. It has been suggested that "the sign of a good book" might be when the author undresses! And you've got to admire Nancy Friday for her passionate quest to rid herself from the plight which pledges the world today. In all honesty I believed she and her great writing ability excel  heights many writers (seek.)

Some of her quotes are uniquely and masterfully memorable, with just a touch of poetic flare. Quite often large books bore me and I find the think-mode too similar and common, but not so with this masterful prize. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand people better. Also thebook is excellent for those who just want to learn behavior attitudes and hindrances which limit avenues of success.  -  Millie Hunter

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My Mother My Self

When Nancy Friday began her research for My Mother/My Self in the early 1970’s no work existed that explored the unique interaction between mother and daughter. Today psychotherapists throughout the world acknowledge that if women are to be able to love without possessing, to find work that fulfills them, and to discover their full sexuality, they must first acknowledge their identity as separate from their mother’s. Nancy Friday’s book played a major role in that acceptance. The greatest gift a good mother can give remains unquestioning love planted deep in the first year of life, so deep and anassailable that the tiny child grown to womanhood is never held back by the fear of losing that love, no matter what her own choice in love, sexuality, or work may be.

Through candid self-disclosure and hundreds of interviews, Friday investigates a generational legacy and reveals the conflicting feelings of anger, hate, and love the daughter’s hold for their mothers–and why they so often “become” that mother themselves.

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Women on Top
Nancy Friday's phenomenal bestsellers My Secret Garden and Forbidden Flowers broke new ground, revealing for the first time the complexity of women's secret sexual fantasies. In Women on Top, she returns to the subject that made her famous, examining the erotic fantasy lives of more than one hundred and fifty modern women. Drawn from Friday's personal interviews and letters, Women on Top contains transcripts of real sexual fantasies that will change your mind-set about women and sex. A revolutionary exploration of female eroticism, Women on Top reveals the powerful and astounding sexual attitudes that are forever changing our intimate lives.

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The Power of Beauty
This controversial work traces the evolution of women's attitudes about their appearance, their sexuality and their conflicting feelings about themselves and others. Using her own life story and varied social commentary, Friday offers liberation from the power of beauty.


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Men in Love

Nancy Friday's study of the secret, erotic fantasies that men have always kept hidden.
An extraordinary, explicitly masculine journey, Men In Love develops a startlingly honest portrayal of what it means to be a man in contemporary America. Here are the unexpurgated dreams, fantasies and fetishes that excite and obsess men today. In creating this historic study, Nancy Friday listened -- without disapproval, apology or censorship -- to the candid responses of thousands of men aged fourteen through sixty. She gave them a legitimate arena where they could share their "secret gardens" -- the hidden and forbidden but nonetheless real and true. Much more than a litany of erotica, this unique volume doesn't tell us how men should love. It tells us how men do love -- a stunning insight into the desires that dwell within men's psyches... and their hearts.

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Beyond My Control 
Forbidden Fantasies in an Uncensored Age

The bestselling author of My Secret Garden exposes the wild and sexy fantasies that many of us have but are afraid to share. For over thirty years, Nancy Friday has written about eros, love, beauty, and seduction. Now she returns to the territory she pioneered during the sexual revolution, exploring our most taboo sexual desires. In a contemporary world where women are formidable partners in the erotic dance and no topic seems out of bounds, Friday breaks into a still-forbidden world of lust, power, and pleasure. Collecting fantasies from dozens of women and, for the first time, men, Friday explores the wildest corners of our imagination. Beyond My Control: Forbidden Fantasies in an Uncensored Age shows that our fantasies are not compensation for a "missing" sex life but are a critical component of our fullest selves, the secret desires that yearn to soar.


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New York Times bestselling author of LULU, My Secret Garden, Forbidden Flowers, Jealousy and Envy, My Mother/My Self, The Power of Beauty, Beyond My Control, Men in Love, and Women on Top. Nancy Friday currently lives in New York City

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