How Do Lesbian Relationships Work in Prison?

Originally Published March 3, 2020

Lesbian relationships are quite usual in prison. And yes, “gay for the stay” is actually a thing inside the jail. Those who entered straight, end up having a relationship with their female inmates. (Related: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Life in Women’s Prison)

So how do lesbian relationships work inside the prison? Let’s find out from these former inmates who told their stories about their same-sex relationships while inside the jail.


Angela, not her real name, had always been interested in men. She had a four-year relationship with her ex-boyfriend before her incarceration until her boyfriend stopped writing letters to her and left her.

Devastated, Angela met Cam, not her real name as well. They started as friends and eventually became intimate. Both of them found love and comfort with each other.

Despite prison relationships being prohibited, it was easy for them to sneak around in showers and each other’s rooms. It is punishable, really. Inmates who are caught being intimate with another inmate will be locked in solitary.

Unfortunately for them, they got caught, which led to Cam’s confinement in solitary. Fast forward, their relationship did not end up well. Cam cheated on Angela with another fellow inmate. (Related: How Successful Are Prison Relationships?)

Angela was able to accept it easily. Maybe she was just one of the people who are “gay for the stay.” She said that having someone to talk to and confide in can make your prison stay a little easier. But, the main reason for inmates to engage in same-sex relationships is the lack of support from the outside. Well, at least for her.

Lesbians holding hands inside prison.


Amanda Knox was wrongfully convicted for the murder of her roommate in 2007. She served four years in Capanne Prison, a women’s facility in Perugia, Italy. After proving her innocence, she was able to gain freedom and is now a freelance writer.

According to Knox, inmates inside Capanne had crushes on one another. Passing of love letter through the bars are often and is the usual way of showing love to their partners. Fistfights between new partners and exes are also expected.

While there might be inmate couples who acted immaturely, there are also inmates who are self-contained. Most often than not, these couples are the ones who continue their lesbian relationship once they got out of prison.

Knox said that a female prisoner named Leny once seduced her. She thinks that Leny was only trying to find comfort with the loneliness that the prison walls bring.

While other inmates use sexual intimacy for cigarettes, money, protection, or solely for love, Knox doesn’t want any of these. She already gets enough attention from her family and friends. Knox needs not use anyone so that the feeling of isolation will get easier.


60-year-old Sally, who was a former inmate, used to be in and out of jail. She says that people have more sex in prison than they do on the street. This only shows how same-sex intimacy is common inside prison walls.

However, in her case, lesbian relationships in prison are hard. People who engage in same-sex relationships are often mistreated and discriminated against. Most correctional officers are often homophobic and are disgusted with them.

Sally says that for the relationship to work, you must not let everyone know about your sexual orientation. You will never know who is violent and homophobic. Getting caught doing sex or kissing will have you punished and locked in solitary, regardless of whether it’s consensual.

While sexual relationships inside a women’s prison are forbidden, it is still common for two inmates to have intimate relationships. (Related: How Prison Couples Get Intimate)

So what drives them to commit lesbian relationships-even those who claim that they are heterosexual?


A social psychology professor at California State University, Dr. Pamela Regan, said that people want to form a loving and lasting relationship. Whether for intimacy, recreation, social support, sex, or for whatever reason it is, it’s all because of the need to form a connection with another person.

Since prison is an awful place, most people think that the relationship behind bars is only because of sex. But, most often than not, lesbian relationships and any other types of relationships inside the prison are about human connection.


GlobalTel’s inmate calling service lowers jail call rates by 90% for jail calls to US facilities. Sign up for our service to eliminate the long distance jail call fees for $45.99 for 90 days. Make US/domestic and international jail calls at the local rate and stay connected to your incarcerated loved ones for less. Learn more about how to sign up for calls from inmates on our website.

Franchette Agatha an author for GlobalTel


Franchette Agatha Jardin believes that everyone has the capacity to help those who are in need. She writes blogs about issues and news surrounding those in prison in the hopes of restoring a little extra faith in humanity.