Women’s rationales and perspectives on “mostly” as a nonexclusive sexual identity label.

Liam Wignall, Helen Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sexuality labels of “mostly straight” and “mostly gay” are used by men to understand their nonexclusive sexualities, yet the value of these labels in understanding women’s sexuality has not been investigated. The current qualitative study addresses this issue by examining how women with nonexclusive sexualities view the term “mostly” to understand their sexual desires and identities and explores their experiences as women with nonexclusive sexualities. Participants were 30 cis-gendered women who indicated having gender nonexclusive desires yet did not identify as bisexual. Semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted and analyzed using thematic analysis. Participants reported mostly lesbian and mostly straight identities as meaningfully different to bisexual identities, citing sexual, romantic, and intellectual reasons as rationales for their nonexclusive orientations. Participants viewed “mostly” as more indicative of sexuality as a fluid construct, serving to deemphasize sexual identity labels. Participants’ narratives support the notion that sexual identity labels “mostly lesbian” and “mostly straight” are useful to understand nonexclusive sexual desires and provides support for sexuality understood as a continuum interpreted through multiple overlapping categories. Implications for the understanding of women’s sexuality as fluid and flexible and how this relates more broadly to their identity are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-374
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • bisexuality
  • heterosexual
  • homosexuality
  • sexual identity
  • sexual orientation


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