Nancy Friday is an author
and psychologist. She was brought up in Charleston
, South Carolina
with her sister
by a single mother
being supported by Nancy's grandfather
, and she admits this has had a great influence on her writing. Her first book was 1973
's My Secret Garden
, a collection of women
's sexual fantasies
(and analyses of their supposed psychological meanings) which shocked many at the time, as it was common belief that women did not have sexual fantasies. Its followup, 1975
's Forbidden Flowers
, notes that many people were still
saying the women who contributed to the first book must be a weird self-selected sample of exhibitionist
s. (I find the difference in tone between these two books to be quite interesting; My Secret Garden
has a tone of exhausted relief
to it -- "Thank God I'm not the only one!"; Forbidden Flowers
has a joy
ous "These thoughts are mine
and I want to show them off" feel.)
After those two, Friday took a break from sexual fantasies and wrote My Mother, My Self (published 1997) which is an analysis of women's psyches and the influence one's mother has on them, with a lot of her own history included. After that, she took on the interesting task of men's sexual fantasies in Men In Love. She admits in that book that it was much more difficult than working with women's fantasies because of not being able to use her own experience in interpreting them as much as she had before.
In 1985, she came out with Jealousy, another more general book of analysis of how an emotion comes to be and what it means, filled again with examples from her own life. In 1986, she hosted "Intimate Sex," a panel discussion of women's sexual fantasies with several actors, which was released on video. In 1992, a third book of women's sexual fantasies followed: Women On Top, which is interesting because it shows the marked changes in sexual attitudes over the period since Forbidden Flowers.
In 1996, she went back to a subject of personal interest in The Power of Beauty, (republished in paperback as Our Looks, Our Lives) which seemed to have started out with her childhood feeling that her sister was "the pretty one." She's still writing and interviewing, and has a website with discussion areas at www.nancyfriday.com. Even if you don't agree with her analyses, she's still been a great contributor to sexual psychology just by collecting and publishing the fantasy material.