Secret Lives of Women

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Secret Lives of Women TV Poster Image
Sexed-up docuseries casts women in negative light.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series' focus on the sexual, violent, and illegal tendencies of select groups of women casts them in a strongly negative light.


Some episodes deal with content of a violent nature, like murder or poisoning, and details are explicit.


Many episodes explore sexuality, with frequent mention of making out, sexual positions, sexual turn-ons, sex toys, and orgasm. Both heterosexual and homosexual kissing and touching is shown. Female nudity is common, but all sensitive areas (breasts, butt, etc.) are blurred. Women are shown dancing suggestively in skimpy lingerie.


Occasional use of words like "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social scenes often show adults drinking and smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this docuseries -- which deals with mature content like sexuality, murder, poisoning, and crime -- casts all women in a strongly negative (and unrealistic) light by focusing on the unsavory habits of a select few. In many cases, the subjects attempt to justify their own dirty secrets, including polygamy, prostitution, and sexual offenses against children. Little is off-limits, and discussions routinely reference topics like orgasm, bedroom practices, and murder techniques. Social scenes often include drinking or smoking, and partial nudity is always a possibility -- women are sometimes shown in skimpy attire and various degrees of undress (though sensitive areas like breasts blurred).

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What's the story?

From polygamy to murder to sexual crimes, SECRET LIVES OF WOMEN gives viewers a glimpse into the dirty secrets of some notorious groups of gals. Each episode juxtaposes interviews with women who fit a certain profile (phone sex operators, shoplifters, older women seeking younger men, etc.) with expert insight into the issue in question. The women talk about themselves and their habits, explaining what factors contribute to their unusual tendencies, how they affect their lives, and what they think society thinks of them.

Is it any good?

Secret Lives of Women offers a titillating, sometimes informative glimpse into lifestyles that may be foreign to many viewers, but the show's very mature content makes it a poor choice for teens. In an episode focused on the lesbian lifestyle, for example, women describe their difficulties meeting potential partners when they defy homosexual stereotypes and dress in a feminine manner. Many openly discuss their sexual practices, speculating on how their sexuality affects the way they're viewed by the general public. The frank sexual nature of many of the discussions details women's thoughts on topics like sexual positions, turn-ons, sex toys, and methods of orgasm. Nudity is always a potential (though breasts and butts are blurred), as is social drinking and smoking.

Even worse, though, is the risk that this skewed series could give impressionable viewers a decidedly negative impression of women. If your teens ever do tune in, remind them that the show's subjects represent a very small portion of the female population -- and likely were selected in large part for their onscreen shock value.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the women featured in this show affect how you feel about women in general. What's the danger of focusing so strongly on negative behavior examples? Do you think the series gives an accurate representation of the groups it features? Why or why not? How do you think the participants were chosen? What traits do you think producers look for in subjects? How do their selections affect the show's messsages?

TV details

  • Premiere date: December 18, 2005
  • Network: WE
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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