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Beyond My Control : Forbidden Fantasies in an Uncensored Age
Beyond My Control
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 fi rst 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.
Praise for Nancy Friday
"YOU'LL BLUSH, YOUR PULSE WILL RACE."
New York Times
"Delicious... women can share in their sisters' secrets and not feel that they are alone."
Los Angeles Times
"Nancy Friday's work... demonstrate[s] beyond doubt that the emancipation of women's bodies begins with the emancipation of our minds."
Faye Wattleton, former president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
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April 06, 2009
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Excerpt from Beyond My Control by Nancy Friday
Excerpt from Author to Reader: Still My Secret Garden
Over thirty-five years ago, I called it My Secret Garden because collecting fantasies was like listening to women whispering in my ear. I was hearing their deepest erotic secrets--in many cases, desires they had not even told themselves until then. Still today, many women and men finish by saying, "Thank you for letting me tell you."
I know precisely what they mean. There is something about putting sex into writing, almost as if we are taking it to the next level of reality, getting closer and closer to the flame. At the same time, it is emboldening, as in: "This is who I am--who I really am! And look...the sky hasn't fallen, I haven't been ostracized from the family, and I feel more complete, whole, part of the human race."
Yes, I do believe that for many of us, accepting our erotic reveries opens a new consciousness in our lives. We don't have to act on the fantasies to feel this way. Some, fully realized, would become nightmares. Nor share them with our partners. Often, kept from them, they can be even more emboldening. It is thrilling just to own the creativity of our sexual imagination. Just as learning to drive opens new paths--emotionally as well as physically--so do our private sexual thoughts, at any age, take us on ever-new trips, as doors open and horizons broaden.
We like to think that we are formed by what we choose to take in, while from the day we were born, we have been absorbing the opinions of the people on whom we are dependent. Our caretakers' opinions (often unspoken) of our body are woven into our self-image. Later, changes that we choose to make will be in opposition to theirs.
Our tiny hand goes between our legs because it feels good and, yes, because it is our body. So, there we are, not even able to use adverbs, and the giants of the nursery are laying down lifelong prejudices. They say, "No, no, darling..." and remove our hand from that sweet crevice. We won't remember it or a dozen other repeated sounds and actions that over time hammer home their opinions of our genitals.
So often our devoted caretakers would deny any role in turning us away from our sexual parts, so automatic and unthinking were their intentions. If accused in court of crippling someone's sexual self-esteem, they would look askance.
By the time we choose a sexual mate, have a certificate of marriage, or become economically independent, we will also have a private stash of erotic fantasies, stored since adolescence, helping us get past the negative opinions of other people regarding our sexual parts. Now, when our mind and body want to boost us up, up, and away into orgasm, we call upon these fantasies to do their magic.
Our response to the thrill of sexual feeling in adolescence is electric. It is so sweet, so winning, yes, so natural, that it is hard to ally it with the negative experience long ago in the nursery.
This is something new and beautiful, what we feel in one another's arms at adolescence. That so many young girls get pregnant when they have been raised never to let a lad anywhere near that forbidden fertile ground until the appropriate moment speaks of the beauty of erotic rapture--something the girl might understand and deal with had she been taught to respect "that place." But raised on distaste and abhorrence of her genitals, the girl eagerly hands herself over to the boy/man and crowns him a Prince for loving that "unspeakable" core of herself. Before the sexual revolution of the twentieth century, most women denied their erotic fantasies. Young adults today find that hard to believe. Where did these forbidden, unacceptable fantasies go after they were enjoyed, these rich erotic thoughts that accompanied our sex? Can the mind actually entertain a sexual fantasy during intercourse or masturbation and then erase it post-orgasm?
I thought I'd heard everything with regard to my favorite subject until I received this missive in 2002 from a twenty-threeyear-old English woman:
"Dear Nancy, I always thought it was only famous, rich, successful--as in some way privileged women--who had sexual fantasies. Finding out that so many ORDINARY WOMEN [her caps] enjoy sex so much is a fantastic thing to know. It makes me feel so much better to realize that anyone can have a great sex life."
Such a funny, sweet thought makes me want to put my arm around the dear girl and welcome her into the club.
But, of course, masturbation only came onto the scene, front and center, in the last thirty years. Certainly, some women masturbated but not in the epidemic proportions we do today. (Hah! Fun to imagine an "epidemic" of women masturbating; the headlines in the newspapers: "All traffic comes to a halt as women across the world masturbate for world peace!"