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Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Sexual Fantasies

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Nancy Friday's groundbreaking books My Secret Garden and Forbidden Flowers offered an unprecedentedly detailed and honest look at the inner fantasy lives of ordinary women. In Women on Top, Friday returns to this topic, collecting detailed sexual fantasies from over 150 contemporary women from diverse backgrounds. Based on intimate personal interviews and letters, this boo Nancy Friday's groundbreaking books My Secret Garden and Forbidden Flowers offered an unprecedentedly detailed and honest look at the inner fantasy lives of ordinary women. In Women on Top, Friday returns to this topic, collecting detailed sexual fantasies from over 150 contemporary women from diverse backgrounds. Based on intimate personal interviews and letters, this book updates the conversation opened in her earlier works on women's sexual fantasies, detailing how women's erotic lives have changed over the past few decades-and remained the same. Nancy Friday's seminal works exploring female sexual fantasy have shattered taboos, exposed hidden desires, and opened up a conversation on women and sex that continues to be relevant today. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nancy Friday is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist who established her early career writing for high-profile publications in England, France, and the US. Her first book, My Secret Garden, was an iconic bestseller, offering an honest and illuminating look at the landscape of female sexuality. It was published in 1973, and since then, Nancy Friday has continued to write on themes including female sexuality, mother-daughter relationships, beauty, fetishism, and romantic relationships. She has been featured as a guest on Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Politically Incorrect, and NPR's Talk of the Nation. ABOUT THE SERIES More than any other feminist writer, Nancy Friday returned again and again to the topic of female sexuality. Her Female Sexuality Collection includes her most important works: The Power of Beauty, Jealousy, My Secret Garden, Forbidden Flowers, and Women on Top.


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Nancy Friday's groundbreaking books My Secret Garden and Forbidden Flowers offered an unprecedentedly detailed and honest look at the inner fantasy lives of ordinary women. In Women on Top, Friday returns to this topic, collecting detailed sexual fantasies from over 150 contemporary women from diverse backgrounds. Based on intimate personal interviews and letters, this boo Nancy Friday's groundbreaking books My Secret Garden and Forbidden Flowers offered an unprecedentedly detailed and honest look at the inner fantasy lives of ordinary women. In Women on Top, Friday returns to this topic, collecting detailed sexual fantasies from over 150 contemporary women from diverse backgrounds. Based on intimate personal interviews and letters, this book updates the conversation opened in her earlier works on women's sexual fantasies, detailing how women's erotic lives have changed over the past few decades-and remained the same. Nancy Friday's seminal works exploring female sexual fantasy have shattered taboos, exposed hidden desires, and opened up a conversation on women and sex that continues to be relevant today. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nancy Friday is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist who established her early career writing for high-profile publications in England, France, and the US. Her first book, My Secret Garden, was an iconic bestseller, offering an honest and illuminating look at the landscape of female sexuality. It was published in 1973, and since then, Nancy Friday has continued to write on themes including female sexuality, mother-daughter relationships, beauty, fetishism, and romantic relationships. She has been featured as a guest on Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Politically Incorrect, and NPR's Talk of the Nation. ABOUT THE SERIES More than any other feminist writer, Nancy Friday returned again and again to the topic of female sexuality. Her Female Sexuality Collection includes her most important works: The Power of Beauty, Jealousy, My Secret Garden, Forbidden Flowers, and Women on Top.

30 review for Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Sexual Fantasies

  1. 5 out of 5

    ~The Bookish Redhead~

    You know, despite the title, I went in here, not really knowing what to expect, and what I was expecting, ended up being so much more than that. Over the past year or so, I've discovered that I enjoy delving into erotica, and I'd heard some good things about Nancy Friday and her works, so I thought I'd give this one a go. This book was fairly large, and was packed to the brim of womens sexual fantasies. The women included in this book were from different backgrounds, a mixture of ages, some were You know, despite the title, I went in here, not really knowing what to expect, and what I was expecting, ended up being so much more than that. Over the past year or so, I've discovered that I enjoy delving into erotica, and I'd heard some good things about Nancy Friday and her works, so I thought I'd give this one a go. This book was fairly large, and was packed to the brim of womens sexual fantasies. The women included in this book were from different backgrounds, a mixture of ages, some were married, some single, so it was all fairly interesting and refreshing to read. Even though this book is rather dated, it is still relevant to today's women and their fantasies, and, to be honest, after reading this, it doesn't make your own seem so odd! I must be clear here, it takes a hell of a lot to disturb me, and it has yet to be done, but some of the sexual fantasies in this book was balancing dangerously on the borderline of disturbing me. I'm certainly not going to discuss it here, as it could prove to be very off-putting. However, despite the strange fantasies, there were some pretty hot ones too, and it's great to know that your doing something right, in owning, and enjoying your own body, and there is absolutely nothing wrong in doing so.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Huston

    Not for the prudish or the squeamish. And guys, just because we think about outlandish things, doesn't mean that we want to do them.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anthony americano

    If you've never wondered just how twisted the minds of women really are 'Women On Top' will have you do so with the turning of each page. Written by feminist Nancy Friday - whom I understand to be a psychologist of some sort - 'Women on Top' is a collection of erotic fantasies from hundreds of "oppressed" females who find empowerment through gangbangs, rape scenarios and bestiality. Here, Ms. Friday operates more as a file clerk than an actual author selecting tales from sessions with women Frid If you've never wondered just how twisted the minds of women really are 'Women On Top' will have you do so with the turning of each page. Written by feminist Nancy Friday - whom I understand to be a psychologist of some sort - 'Women on Top' is a collection of erotic fantasies from hundreds of "oppressed" females who find empowerment through gangbangs, rape scenarios and bestiality. Here, Ms. Friday operates more as a file clerk than an actual author selecting tales from sessions with women Friday believes she is here to liberate. Friday finds opportunity in breaking whatever moral code governs her snake oil industry by gaining the confidence of these desperate housewives and convincing them to let our suffragette earn millions from exploiting their sexual depression - a supreme act of feminism, I am sure . . . If memory serves, 'Women On Top' begins safely enough - lesbian kisses, infidelities, hate fucks - then quickly delves into corners of the female psyche that would place most men behind bars had they shared the same thoughts. Women's groups once rallied against books by Nabokov and Henry Miller, works that are tame in comparison to these lolitas. The hypocrisy of Friday's feminism is disturbingly transparent as she scribes her pawns discussions on such topics as; the thrill of beating men to death, the application of peanut-butter-to-pussy for the enjoyment of the family pet, or being "force fucked" by a pair of caged gorillas. Interestingly enough, these women are not just angry at men. They are also upset with women and are easily excitable by thoughts of female torture and domination. One 16 year old schoolgirl dreams of finding her boyfriend with a cheerleader so that she may tie her up and whip her with a rider's crop until she begs for mercy. There is the fantasy held by a middle aged woman who wishes to be walked on all fours, collar round the neck, a leash held by her lover as he directs her to a mirror. She is to be bent over a chair looking directly into the mirror. Behind her, she sees an endless line of men, leash in hand, as each Fido and Spot anxiously awaits his turn to "bury the bone". Apparently, women fantasize about horses and donkeys and being able to enjoy their stamina before an audience of cocktailing onlookers. Women wish to be beaten and raped by unknown men (or women) and find pleasure in being degraded. Some even look to the stars for extra-terrestrials to abduct them, take them back to their planet, and use them for sexual experimentation - little green-men sandwich, anyone? If that were not enough, many "fantasies" end with these adorable creatures no longer able to contain their dirty little secrets. In such cases, a full confession accompanied by a sigh and a giggle are usually enough to set their spirit free - All of this seems to equal 'progress' and 'liberation' for Ms. Friday - women behaving badly. Perhaps, I am not sophisticated enough to understand the genius of her work but I found Friday's 'Women On Top' to be little more than an exercise in simple titillation. If these are the sexual fantasies of most women they should be kept to themselves. Otherwise, young men who endeavor to gain insight into the fairer sex may stumble across books such as these and develop the wrong idea . . .

  4. 5 out of 5

    Harv Griffin

    WOMEN ON TOP is one of those books that I bought and read and re-read as research on women. Like Shere Hite, Nancy Friday is one of those interviewers of women who are expert at getting them to spill. Women's sexual fantasies circa 1991. Some of them are as classy and erotic as Anaïs Nin. A few may be as bluntly pornographic as early Penthouse letters. (I only subscribed to Penthouse for the cartoons.) I never marked this book up, although I wanted to, because I didn't dare let some future girlfri WOMEN ON TOP is one of those books that I bought and read and re-read as research on women. Like Shere Hite, Nancy Friday is one of those interviewers of women who are expert at getting them to spill. Women's sexual fantasies circa 1991. Some of them are as classy and erotic as Anaïs Nin. A few may be as bluntly pornographic as early Penthouse letters. (I only subscribed to Penthouse for the cartoons.) I never marked this book up, although I wanted to, because I didn't dare let some future girlfriend tap into which stories resonated with my own ultra-private SECRET sexual needs. She would then own me. Think I'll read it again. Hey! Research! It's Research! @hg47

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shelli Black Rose

    I first read this book in the early 90's and loved it! I've since re-read it dozens of times - sometimes front to back, sometimes just a section at a time - and still find it just as erotic and informative each and every time. This one stays on my nightstand for a quick read when I feel the urge.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Read this as a teenage boy. Thought it was way cool then. Come to think of it, I still think it's way cool. It's about women's sexual fantasies. Man, you people are just as messed up as we are. I like it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jafar

    Masturbatory. I practiced my English with this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    BookCupid

    Ever wondered why most women can't differentiate love from sex? According to this book, the depth of the problem goes all the way back to teenage masturbation. Men pleasured themselves a lot more than women, who sadly, are shun by society as dirty girls for entertaining the idea. Hence, when men go out on a first date, they're instantly aware that the sexual longing they feel for that person is purely sexual, after all they've experienced that feeling through self-pleasure many times. Whereas wom Ever wondered why most women can't differentiate love from sex? According to this book, the depth of the problem goes all the way back to teenage masturbation. Men pleasured themselves a lot more than women, who sadly, are shun by society as dirty girls for entertaining the idea. Hence, when men go out on a first date, they're instantly aware that the sexual longing they feel for that person is purely sexual, after all they've experienced that feeling through self-pleasure many times. Whereas women confuse the want to touch someone's hand or be touched by them as love butterflies. Friday goes on to discuss modern women who enjoy taking control in the bedroom (at least in their fantasies) and explores, through the use of fan letters, why some might dream about other women, raping a man, and exhibitionism. A mixture of erotica and non-fiction.

  9. 4 out of 5

    okyrhoe

    It's been almost twenty years since I first came across this collection of women's sexual fantasies. At the time I was just as interested in N. Friday's analysis of each fantasy, and what it revealed about women's liberation (or lack thereof). Today as I flip through the book I am a bit upset at how uniform the language of the so-called "real-life" fantasies reads, and I wonder to what extent each woman's narrative has been edited, how much each unique voice has been moulded (limited?) to fit th It's been almost twenty years since I first came across this collection of women's sexual fantasies. At the time I was just as interested in N. Friday's analysis of each fantasy, and what it revealed about women's liberation (or lack thereof). Today as I flip through the book I am a bit upset at how uniform the language of the so-called "real-life" fantasies reads, and I wonder to what extent each woman's narrative has been edited, how much each unique voice has been moulded (limited?) to fit the almost-uniform narrative pace of the collection. The stories I am drawn to now are not necessarily the most interesting sexually speaking; rather they are the ones where the first-person narrator's voice stands out from the rest of the women in this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Az

    That some people harbor sexual fantasies like these is both utterly terrifying and absolutely hilarious.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dee

    Great book, something for everyone and some bits not for everyone, but hey if a section is not for you skip it for one that is!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    This book is all about women's fantasies. Some of the fantasies included in this book are really far out and some are kind of disturbing, but some of them were really hot to me too. I think I got it at the Friends of the Public Library library booksale, so I didn't invest a lot of money to get it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ants

    Thanks to the book exchange at work, this book came into my hands. I did not return it but rather found a place for the book on my bookshelf. I like to know about sexual fantasies or realities. There is not too many sources of information but this book does a fine job. Enjoy it - I certainly did.

  14. 4 out of 5

    C.S. Morgan

    Thinly veiled erotica masked as academic research, this reads like the letters section of a man's magazine. Still, great fun for ... ahem ... research :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Noise

    Women's fantasies I have come to see are many, varied and at times had me thinking we are different but all the same. This collection collated by Nancy Friday from many women is a book I have had for years and will not part with. It tells of desires for other women, multiple men, leather, lace and whipped cream. Sometimes I was left pondering the extent of time on some womens' hands, pardon the pun, to enact their time consuming joys. Those who believe 50 Shades of Grey is a horny read, should get Women's fantasies I have come to see are many, varied and at times had me thinking we are different but all the same. This collection collated by Nancy Friday from many women is a book I have had for years and will not part with. It tells of desires for other women, multiple men, leather, lace and whipped cream. Sometimes I was left pondering the extent of time on some womens' hands, pardon the pun, to enact their time consuming joys. Those who believe 50 Shades of Grey is a horny read, should get your hands on this little book. No time for stories in amongst the fantasies here!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne Sami

    Awful! That's the Least I can say.. Want more?! This is a pure waste of time, I got this book thinking I've put my hands on some kind of proper academic research or at least a study on that matter! Unfortunately what I've found out is a pure porno content in a research outfit!!! Not only this but very weird, sick thoughts and concepts introducing extremist sexual behavior.. It's a typical 14 years old kind of book! That type of teenagers digging for anything that says just sex!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    innae

    I picked up this book back in 2004, thinking it sounded quite interesting "How real life has changed women's sexual fantasies", back in 2010 I tried to read it, and it starts out way too clinical, I guess I just wanted some smut, not a real discussion, so, I did not make it very far in the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Like the others in this series, it's a mix of hot, strange, and sometimes downright disturbing fantasies contributed by anonymous women.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    It was interesting to read what goes on inside other peoples heads, and one chapter in particular gave me a massive insight to myself.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Max

    This was like the absolute worst thing. First of all, the copy I got from the public library is covered in grease stains. Like almost every page has greasy fingerprints. It’s a little much, given the content. I thought it was gonna be like pop psychology but it’s just almost all these simultaneously lurid and tedious descriptions of women’s incredibly depraved sexual fantasies in the 80s. Friday has no substantive criticism of the pedophilia or beastiality mentioned in these fantasies. It’s pret This was like the absolute worst thing. First of all, the copy I got from the public library is covered in grease stains. Like almost every page has greasy fingerprints. It’s a little much, given the content. I thought it was gonna be like pop psychology but it’s just almost all these simultaneously lurid and tedious descriptions of women’s incredibly depraved sexual fantasies in the 80s. Friday has no substantive criticism of the pedophilia or beastiality mentioned in these fantasies. It’s pretty shocking and horrifying. She talks about how these awful stories are proof women don’t need feminism when they’re read much more readily as proof that women are living in an incredibly sick world and forced to eroticize disgusting stuff to make sense of it. I feel kinda bad writing such a mean review when Friday died a couple weeks ago but honestly the book is horrible enough to warrant it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    This book was written in the early 90's, however, Nancy Friday began her work in the late 1960's studying female sexual fantasies. She would place small ads in large papers and got LOTS more responses than she ever expected. She then chose (her favorite? The most interesting? The strangest?) and published many, MANY books on this very subject; her first titles "My Mother, Myself"...and I read every single one. Those of you that know me personally, know I have no filter when it comes to discussin This book was written in the early 90's, however, Nancy Friday began her work in the late 1960's studying female sexual fantasies. She would place small ads in large papers and got LOTS more responses than she ever expected. She then chose (her favorite? The most interesting? The strangest?) and published many, MANY books on this very subject; her first titles "My Mother, Myself"...and I read every single one. Those of you that know me personally, know I have no filter when it comes to discussing anything and everything about sex. I have Nancy Friday & my mom to thank for that. And I want to thank them, because had I not been schooled when I was younger, I wouldn't have had the courage to explore my own sexuality without shame and I KNOW I wouldn't have been active in the BDSM community for the past 30 years.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Dalby

    An amazing book although a little dated now because of yet more changes in attitudes and perspectives. In some ways we have regressed and in other ways we have made progress but we are a long way from a sexual utopia and the end of the patriarchal system. In fact the current trend is to treat the symptoms and not the cause and this sometimes denies that women are able to determine their own desires in order to "protect" them. By that I mean the protections, such as affairs between work colleague An amazing book although a little dated now because of yet more changes in attitudes and perspectives. In some ways we have regressed and in other ways we have made progress but we are a long way from a sexual utopia and the end of the patriarchal system. In fact the current trend is to treat the symptoms and not the cause and this sometimes denies that women are able to determine their own desires in order to "protect" them. By that I mean the protections, such as affairs between work colleagues or where there is a theoretical imbalance of power. The author also seems to have some mother issues that I am not convinced about but the rest is eye-opening and a very valuable read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marie Smith

    Not quite sure what I expected when I began this book however I am left both shocked and quite often repulsed my some of the fantasy had by some women. To manage to read through some of the chapters I had to remind myself that this is a study, research, into the changing fantasises of woman throughout the years. Suffice it too say this book has certainly opened my eyes and made my own fantasies seem quite tame in comparison.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nicolai

    I learned that women have complicated sexually fantasies that follow a theme over an extended period; unlike men who tend to flip from image to image this is an exciting book and well worth keeping by your bed.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hantz

    I have 4 Nancy friday's books...mmmpphhhhh!!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Ah, from my banned book phase!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ramona Silverwing

    So glad I found that one in a time where I was not sure on how to think about being dominant and sexy in bed. Always thought it maybe too much for man.This book sure changed my mind very fast.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maura

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I see the value in some of this. First of all, the information regarding why men and women view sex differently is rather enlightening. I always wondered how a guy could separate sex from emotion and this pretty much provided a reasonably logical answer. So that’s something. A lot of this feels like pseudo-psychology. Start out the chapter with 4-5 pages of Freudian psycho-babble that covers the bases and presents a reasonably logical explanation for the presence of such fantasies. But I’m not c I see the value in some of this. First of all, the information regarding why men and women view sex differently is rather enlightening. I always wondered how a guy could separate sex from emotion and this pretty much provided a reasonably logical answer. So that’s something. A lot of this feels like pseudo-psychology. Start out the chapter with 4-5 pages of Freudian psycho-babble that covers the bases and presents a reasonably logical explanation for the presence of such fantasies. But I’m not completely sold on the Freudian theories about how mother basically ruined us all for sex. I think there are other forces at play and it doesn’t explain so many of people’s sexual behaviors. And IMHO I kinda think all of this is presented as a “non-fiction” means of getting this very erotic writing into a more mainstream environment where it can make a lot more money. The point of this whole book is not the explanation, but the fantasies. The fantasies, to some extent, are valuable, in that they allow women who read this to see that fantasies are all over the place and are perfectly healthy (no matter how strange they are). But I also have to question how representative these fantasies actually are, seeing as how these are women who wrote to the author and therefore are already a little more adventurous than the average woman. The fantasies are highly detailed and read like some porn/erotica I’ve read before. Plenty of crude language and some really unusual situations (depending on your POV). But seriously, I have to wonder at the editing…how does having sex with an extremely well endowed gorilla constitute being in control of sex? By the end of this book though, I was skimming through the fantasies. Couldn’t be bothered. I actually found a lot of this book kind of boring. What was really disheartening to me was the number of women who admittedly seek to be or have been unfaithful to their spouses or who lure men into being unfaithful to their spouses in real life (not in the fantasy). One woman writes about seducing a man she knows has been married for 10 months. The author writes about how women are the ones who really hold women back – and this lack of solidarity in going after another woman’s husband is, IMHO, against the theme of the book. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the idea that sexual freedom should come at the expense of other women’s potential happiness. As for fantasizing about infidelity or seeking it with a spouse’s permission, that’s one thing, but I was discomfited by the number of women who said they had or wanted to cheat on their spouse. It’s kind of depressing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Tranchina

    Interesting anthology of the inner lives and secret fantasies of women. Nothing too revelatory, but nonetheless provides an unconventional portrait of a women's typically taboo desires.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    i had read an essay that referenced this book so i picked it up at the library. basically it a bunch of women from all different walks of life telling their sexual fantasies. the person whom referenced this book talked about how you shouldn't read the authors explanation/theories on these fantasies as they are kind of ridiculous and outdated. and perhaps at times misguided/mistaken about certain sexual fantasy subejcts, like bdsm or more queer ones. so i didn't because i didn't really care to re i had read an essay that referenced this book so i picked it up at the library. basically it a bunch of women from all different walks of life telling their sexual fantasies. the person whom referenced this book talked about how you shouldn't read the authors explanation/theories on these fantasies as they are kind of ridiculous and outdated. and perhaps at times misguided/mistaken about certain sexual fantasy subejcts, like bdsm or more queer ones. so i didn't because i didn't really care to read that part of it. but it was interesting to see all the different fantasies that women have. besides being hot times, it is interesting and while i could very well have guessed before that this is the case, it was curious to read about these women, the way that they described themselves and then what they were into. anyways, nothing too mindboggling, but interesting...

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