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Forbidden Flowers by Nancy Friday is a book which explores women's sexual fantasies. It can be read on two levels: as a detailed feminist analysis of the development of women's fantasies against a background of sexual liberation, and a series of candid, erotic fantasies guaranteed to titillate both male and female readers.

Want a threesome?

Forbidden Flowers is part of a series of three books. Friday began her research for the first book, My Secret Garden, in 1968, and this second book, its sequel, was begun in 1973. She is thus able to compare how the fantasies have changed over the five-year period, and note women's reactions to the first book, which shocked many by revealing how many women fantasise sexually. A third book, Women on Top, was published in 1991.

In addition to this series, Friday has written a number of other books examining male and female sexuality. These are entitled My Mother/My Self, Men in Love, Jealousy, and The Power of Beauty.

The origins and uses of women's fantasies

Forbidden Flowers is divided into two parts, the first part examining where sexual fantasies come from, looking at the influences of childhood and adolescence, women looking at men, and sexual frustration. The second part looks at the uses of these fantasies, in daydreaming and masturbation, during sex, and making fantasies come true. Each of the eight chapters is illustrated by examples of fantasies from women who have written to Friday. As the book was written in the seventies, some of the stories have a definite seventies feel about them.

So who would enjoy reading this book?

This book would appeal to anyone interested in female sexuality or general erotic literature. As such it is therefore likely to prove of interest to open-minded readers of both sexes.

Forbidden Flowers, Nancy Friday, Arrow Books, 1994
Women on Top, Nancy Friday, BCA, 1991