Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 911–935 | Cite as

“I’m not a lesbian; I’m just a freak”: A Pilot Study of the Experiences of Women in Assumed-Monogamous Other-Sex Unions Seeking Secret Same-Sex Encounters Online, their Negotiation of Sexual Desire, and Meaning-Making of Sexual Identity

  • Alicia WalkerEmail author
Original Paper


This pilot study looked to examine the experiences of women who are “undercover,” the meaning-making of their sexual identity, how they came to negotiate their same-sex sexual desires alongside their primary other-sex unions, and their experience of a secret, compartmentalized life. The study sought to understand their experiences as well as their meaning-making in the course of maintaining a public heterosexual persona while balancing their secret desire for sex with women. The thirty-four women in this study report lifelong incidence of attraction to and encounters with other women as well as men. They are not transitioning toward a lesbian identity nor experiencing fluidity; rather, clandestine encounters are part of an ongoing means to negotiate their opposite-sex marriages. For them, our culture’s limited notions of sexual identity are less than useful. It was important to their self-concept that their sexuality be understood in terms of its intensity and their desire for frequency and diversity of acts. They defined themselves on their own terms and by their sexual personalities and inclination toward what they considered “hypersexuality” or “freakiness.” Despite conventional ideas that women are emotionally driven in their extra-relational affairs and need to “fall in love” to participate in extra-relational sexual activity, all of the women were clear in their desire to limit their association with their same-sex partners to sexual encounters only.


Sexual identity Non-monogamy Internet Clandestine Bisexual Extra-relational 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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