It is generally accepted that in classical Athens a widely proclaimed sexual morality expected citizen women not only to be chaste, confining sexual activity to marriage, but also to avoid any suspicion of improper contact with men. While some recent works still suggest that Athenian citizen women did conform to their society's expectations, and even that women lived in seclusion to promote chastity, others have long recognized that Athenian women showed a wider range of behaviour and, sometimes at least, had sexual liaisons with men other than their husbands. It is unfortunate that the most vigorous statement of the view that significant numbers of Athenian women did not in practice accept their society's constraints, an article by Richter in 1971, while containing much of value, weakens its own case by overstatement: few can accept, for instance, that in classical Athens ‘the young wives were as undisciplined a bevy of nymphs as Hellas ever reared’. Nonetheless it seems clear that Athenian women (and of course Athenian men) breached the sexual code commonly proclaimed in their society. It is the purpose of this paper to consider how widespread such breaches were, and in what spirit they were undertaken, whether purely as guilty acts or as behaviour that was at least condoned by an alternative morality.