Women’s Sexual Fantasies – The Updated Version

gardenofdesiresEmily Dubberley is fabulous erotica writer and long-time women’s smut webmistress. Her site Cliterati has been online since 2001 and for a time she edited the sexy erotica magazine Scarlet. Now, after months of conducting surveys and interviews, she’s about to release her new book, Garden of Desires. Over 400 women submitted their fantasies for the project. On her site, Emily says:

I first started studying female sexual fantasy 20 years ago  in 1993, looking into whether women wanted their fantasies to come true. I’ve wanted to follow in Nancy Friday’s inspirational footsteps ever since, so I’m excited that my own dream has now come true.

This is an updated version of Nancy Friday’s groundbreaking work about women’s sexual fantasies My Secret Garden which was released 40 years ago (the same year I was born). Back then it was assumed that women didn’t even have sexual fantasies. Friday’s book shocked many people with its frank revelations about what got women off – including the fact that many women enjoyed rape fantasies. I have the book on my shelf and it certainly makes for compelling reading.


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So have things changed?

Dr. Brooke Magnanti has written about an article about the book in the Telegraph. She says the book features five main fantasy themes: “submissive fantasies, dominant fantasies, exhibitionism and voyeurism, group sex, and partner fantasies.” The latter is quite interesting, especially as many women fantasies about their real-life partners, albeit in unusual situations.

In the book, the possibilities within these broader themes are fairly comprehensively explored. Brooke writes:

So what has changed since 1973? Gender and sexual fluidity makes a strong appearance: people who are normally straight fantasising about gay sex, and vice versa; dressing up as or having the sex organs of another sex, and so on. With more awareness of differences in gender identification and sexual orientation hitting the mainstream, it’s no surprise these are more prevalent now than they were 40 years ago.

And with more people watching erotica, things we’ve seen are also influencing women’s fantasies. This isn’t exactly news since just about anything we watch, whether sexual or not, can be fodder for imaginative wanderings later. But explicit material being within reach of both sexes means that particular practices one sees only in porn get name-checks too.

I’m looking forward to reading it.