These are the very real consequences of office se_x

Whether it’s a dangerous liaison or a life-long relationship, workplace seduction can have serious consequences. Three women who have broken the corporate taboo tell their stories…

Words by Anna Moore

In this long-hours culture many of us see more of our colleagues than our friends and families. We sit next to men in smart suits, showing us their most competent and creative sides. They, in turn, are treated to our best selves – most of us make more of an effort to look good for work than we do for our partners.

Little wonder that sex in the office is flourishing. One in three of us has had sex at work, according to a survey of 1,000 UK workers by Human & Legal Resources and half of us meet our partners at work, according to the Industrial Society. It feels deliciously illicit, locking you into a private world of in-jokes and emails, but often there is a cost – office affairs can be ruinous.

Is it worth it? Here three women tell their stories…

‘I FOUND LOVE AND LOST MY JOB’

Grace*, 36, an events organizer from Bristol, had an affair with her married colleague two years ago. She was sacked for gross misconduct.

‘Adam* and I clicked when he interviewed me for the job. He was very good-looking – tall and broad-shouldered. The week I started, we drove to Liverpool to meet clients. We laughed all the way back. When he dropped me off I almost kissed him goodbye. Although I was single at the time, I had to remind myself that he was my boss – and married with three children.

Two months later, we had an event in Morocco. On the first evening, when we were out for a meal, Adam accidentally touched my waist and left his arm there. I remember thinking “This is weird…it’s wrong.” But by the time we got back to the hotel, it was a question of “My room or yours?” From the very first time, it never felt like I was his bit on the side. Adam was tender and warm and totally focused on me. Sex wasn’t the main part of the evening – we were up most of the night talking and touching each other. When I woke up next morning, he pulled me to him and said “I’ve been watching you for hours, just sleeping, and you’re so beautiful…” No one had ever said the things he said to me.

Our affair lasted seven months and I fell utterly in love. I used to say, “You know I’ll lose my job,” and he’d reply, “I’d never let that happen.” A lot of very naughty MSN messages were sent, lots of texts, and we’d disappear together at lunch – it sounds seedy but there were lots of fields in that area and Adam had a big car! We saw each other a lot. We went to networking events together and there were openings in London where we’d have to stay overnight in a hotel. At work he’d say he needed to meet with me in the boardroom just so he could steal a kiss! The fact that it was behind everyone’s back added excitement.

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