The Amorist raised a glass to Nancy Friday this week, the groundbreaking writer on female sexuality who died aged 84 on 5 November and whose bestselling 1973 book, ‘My Secret Garden’, revealed the secret fantasies of hundreds of America’s housewives to a shocked nation.
Friday was heroically outspoken in waving the flag for female sexual pleasure, and her book was read by millions, many of whom didn’t know what a female orgasm was, nor how to achieve it. The Amorist salutes her quest for honesty and equality between the sexes, and her fight to overcome the guilt and shame women felt about their bodies and erotic desires.
Her pronouncements like ‘No man can be really free in bed with a woman who is not,’ earned Friday accusations of anti-feminism, although her writings made it clear that she also believed the inverse, that no woman can be really free in bed with a man who is not.
Given that 48% of people in a recent New York Times poll said it wasn't forgivable for a partner to fantasise about having sex with someone else, her belief in the innocence of sexual fantasy and its power as an aphrodisiac still isn’t widely shared.
But the Amorist will always love her forthrightness: ‘Who said “ladies” don’t use words like “fuck” and “cunt,” or that one doesn’t use them around “ladies”? Maybe not when you’re having lunch with a lady, but when a lady’s fucking, she’s not having lunch.’
Graze on my lips
And if those hills be dry
Where the pleasant fountains lie
Shakespeare, from Venus and Adonis