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Mixing business with pleasure

Are office romances really taboo? Is it so wrong if your wife flashes truckers? And what's the straight talk on dirty talk? Sexploration answers your queries.
Kim Carney /
/ Source: contributor

Are office romances off-limits? Is it so wrong if your wife flashes truckers? And what's the straight talk on dirty talk? Sexploration answers your queries. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here. We'll tackle select questions in future columns.

Q: I'm interested in a guy at work, and I think he's interested in me. We got a little friendly at happy hour one night, and I think things are moving ahead, though I'm not sure they should. Is it really such a big deal to date a co-worker? Do most bosses frown on it, and if so, why?  Don't many people meet their partners at work?

A: Oooh, baby … the after-work appletini, the loosened tie, the sexy talk about the tax depreciation advantages of the Acme merger.

Makes me hot.

Well, not me — I don’t know tax depreciation from a corned beef brisket — but a lot of other people seem willing to hang a disco ball in the office of the V.P. of human resources and call it a singles bar.

In a recent issue of Glamour, where I am a contributing editor, the magazine ran some numbers showing that 41 percent of employed Americans ages 25 to 40 have engaged in at least one workplace romance. A recent Love@AOL Dating Trends Survey of 4,000 single adults found that 40 percent of the respondents thought workplace romance was a fine idea. And in 2003, the American Management Association conducted its own poll that showed 68 percent of male managers and 64 percent of female managers thought workplace dating was OK, which is a good thing because of those managers who had dated somebody from work, 40 percent wound up married to the co-worker.

The fact that most companies do not have blanket prohibitions against interoffice canoodling is recognition that not even Big Business can stop biology. So relax.

But keep your eyes open, too, and look ahead. First, be sure your company is not one of the spoil sports that has a policy against dating a co-worker. Second, think of what work might be like if the romance goes sour (or even its effect on a future relationship — see the next question). If you think you can handle the wink-wink, nudge-nudge, blaze ahead.   

Do not, however, date your boss or anybody who has direct authority over you and do not date somebody who works for you even if your company permits it (and most do not), because there’s no way the guy in the next cubicle is ever going to think you got the extra doughnut just because you give good PowerPoint.

My boyfriend and I are both 48. We told each other we would never keep secrets, so I informed him that 12 years ago I had a very short-lived affair with a co-worker who is now my boss. My boyfriend has since asked me several times to find a different job because he keeps thinking about me with my boss. He said he is going to give me an ultimatum. My girlfriends say he is being unreasonable. His friends say that under no circumstances should the work relationship continue. An unbiased opinion?

A: Here’s my unbiased opinion: People should stop telling each other everything that happened since they were 13. Do you really want to know about every woman he ever boinked while watching Conan O’Brien?

But now he knows about you and your boss. So what to do? Personally, I’d give him the ultimatum. After 12 years, the statute of limitations on jealousy is long expired. You had the job when he fell for you, and if he chooses to leave you because you won’t quit, you’ll have it after he’s gone, your boss will still be your boss, and your boyfriend will be the only loser.

My wife and I have quite often intentionally exposed her completely nude to male drivers (especially truckers) on the highway during road trips, and had her wear tops that expose a great deal of cleavage when visiting a bar out of town. Having other men see my wife's body excites me a lot. My question is: Am I screwed up somehow? What we have done so far has revived our marriage after 20 years.

A: I once knew a guy who worked as a trucker, and he told me that he was flashed so often that after seeing a few hundred women with their feet up on the passenger side dash touching themselves or licking their lips at him, he barely noticed any more. If you are screwed up, you apparently are not alone.

And you’re not screwed up. You’ve just been married for 20 years.

If showing your wife off to other men (as long as she enjoys it, too) helps pep up your marriage, go ahead. Use a little caution though. You don’t want to wrap your car around a light pole and you don’t want to find yourself in a bar fight with “Gator,” the tattooed gentleman who seems unacquainted with the concept of personal hygiene but who really, really likes your wife. 

My husband is 27, smokes, drinks, eats fast food on a daily basis, and has the sex drive of a dead person. Is this because of his diet and lifestyle or is he just weird? We used to have a great sex life and now, nothing. He says, "I just don't have any drive." What should I do?

A: Tell him to go clean the garage. (See the next question.)

Q: I have been having a serious lack of interest in sex. I have seen doctors for it with no results. I have recently been more active with a garage-cleaning project with my wife and we ended up making love multiple times during the weekend. So, I have come to the conclusion that my lack of exercise and movement could be what has been keeping me from becoming "randy" when my wife feels frisky. Does this sound logical?

A: Gee, ya think?

Get off the damn couch! Exercise. It releases hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone which can juice libido, and besides, your wife deserves better than a lump doomed to croak from a heart attack at 40.

Q: I can't get up the guts to talk dirty to my boyfriend in bed. And if I did, what do I say?

A: Well, I could tell you, but what fun would that be? Half the joy of sex with somebody you love is knowing you can’t make a mistake.

So use your imagination to make up your own dirty talk, lassie, and if he laughs, then you laugh, too, and enjoy the moment. And if he says, “Baby, stop, or Vesuvius will erupt," well, then you know you’re on to something.

Brian Alexander is a California-based writer who covers sex, relationships and health. He is a contributing editor at Glamour and the author of "Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion" (Basic Books).