Gillian Anderson Wants To Know Your Sexual Fantasies

Noted bisexual and — by my estimation — mommi/daddy switch Gillian Anderson is working on a crowdsourced book project to be put out by Bloomsbury, inspired by the 1973 sexual studies book My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday. My Secret Garden compiled women’s sexual fantasies, using letters and orated stories to paint a portrait of desire, sex, and erotics. Now, Gillian Anderson wants to do it again. Given her role on Sex Education as a distressingly hot sex therapist, it almost seems like she has gone full method actor, becoming inextricable from Jean Milburn herself. From investigating alien and alien-adjacent activity as Dana Scully to now investigating the curves and contortions of women’s deepest, darkest fantasies, Anderson indeed seems drawn to probing curiosity.

Anderson penned a piece on why she’s doing the project in The Guardian, touching on the history of My Secret Garden and the fact that she indeed had not read the seminal sex text until she was prepping to play Jean. “Its unfiltered and painful honesty shook me,” she writes. “These letters and interviews were incredibly intimate and very raw. They weren’t necessarily over polished, or trying to be literary; they seemed to come straight from the mysterious heart of the women’s innermost yearning.”

And now she wants to do “a My Secret Garden for the 21st century, so to speak” which she is calling, for now, Dear Gillian, which funnily enough is exactly how I addressed my diary letters to her as a closeted teen lesbian who was thoroughly obsessed with The X Files during formative years!!!!!!!

She’s inviting a wide range of voices to share, and the project will be trans-inclusive (I do wish she had therefore chosen a place other than The Guardian for this announcement essay given the publication’s ongoing platforming of TERFs and TERF ideology). Queer, straight, and bisexual cis and trans women as well as nonbinary folks are invited to submit, according to Anderson. Poly people and people with various relationship statuses are also encouraged. She wants to hear about: “Fantasies, frustrations, explorations, the forbidden, childhood, sounds, fetishes, guilt, insatiability.”

Yes, I read this entire piece in her voice, and let me tell you it was quite the experience. (As a side note, and speaking of fetishes, how do we get Gillian Anderson in on the Drew Barrymore/Natasha Lyonne/Aubrey Plaza bit that recently ruined a lot of lives here at Autostraddle because 🧐.)

On a more granular level, the project seeks letters between 1,000 and 2,500 words (in any language) on the topics of private sexual fantasies, desires, etc. They must all begin “Dear Gillian” which imo is the new “yes chef” but I can’t explain it. It should definitely be noted that these submissions are anonymous, unpaid, and turn over complete rights to Bloomsbury. So it’s in the style of Post Secrets or an anonymous blog where you’re not receiving any direct credit for submitting. I absolutely think there are valid critiques to be made of that, so do with it what you will!

Anderson also writes she will be including her own submission…unfortunately also anonymous so we will not be learning what the sexual awakenings were for the woman who has been responsible for so many queer sexual awakenings.

Shoutout to the A+ member who tipped us off about the project; sometimes the tips y’all send us become real, live articles on the site like instantaneously! It’s helpful and also makes the work feel collaborative and queer as hell. And if you wanna read anonymous queer sex diaries from our archives, that’s another great reason to become an A+ member!

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 813 articles for us.


  1. this book project sounds both fascinating and slightly unhinged, and while I understand why anonymity may be desirable to many contributors it feels like some form of compensation would be called for.

    but I mostly came here to say that you and I had parallel teenager diaries, Kayla. (I think even as a 14-year-old I understand that I was drawn to the talking tattoo episode mostly because it was the sexiest we ever got to see Scully.)

  2. Honestly not sure how I feel about this, but when I saw her Instagram post about it my first thought was: I really hope for her sake the submission website is heavily moderated because she is truly not ready for the level of thirst we as a society have for Gillian Anderson

  3. I have a serious problem with people not being paid for their work. It reminds me of the situation with the documentary. “Paris Is Burning.” Not only will people not get paid, but if Bloomsbury owns the rights, they can never use that story again.

    But hey…that’s just me.

  4. It’s exciting to hear that Gillian Anderson is working on a new book project inspired by Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden. As a well-known actress and advocate for sexual expression and freedom, Anderson’s involvement in this project could bring much-needed attention to the importance of exploring and embracing our sexual desires.

    Sexual fantasies are a natural and healthy part of human sexuality, and providing a platform for women to share and explore their deepest desires can be empowering and liberating.

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