My Secret Garden: Women's Sexual Fantasies
, by Nancy Friday
, first published in 1973.
Friday collected sexual fantasies sent to her by women from all over the US and put them in a book. No big deal.
Except it was a huge deal. Women didn't have sexual fantasies. It was a well known fact that they didn't. Women who admitted to sexual fantasies were diagnosed as suffering from hysteria and branded insane. I'm not sure when sexual fantasies were taken off the mental illness list, but it was a startlingly recent development.
These days we accept as perfectly normal that a woman will start having sexual fantasies as soon as she is old enough to think of sex in general - body and mind walking hand in hand. But back in the '70s the situation was very different. If you had sexual fantasies you were depraved, unnatural and dirty.
But all of a sudden, here are all these women, from every conceivable walk of life, writing in sizzling detail about their own innermost dreams and fancies. It was a revelation to the women who read it and a slap in the face to the scientific establishment and the medical experts.
I would recommend My Secret Garden, or one of its sequels, Forbidden Flowers and Women on Top to women today, too. For some reason, every woman I ever met thinks that her masturbation pattern is the most intense, that her sexual fantasies are the most depraved. It's a liberating experience to find out just how much we think along similar lines to other women, and how much some women's imaginations differ from our own.