Everyone thinks about doing it. Whether it’s that tantalizing charge of energy when making eye contact during a meeting, or being too shwasty at the office holiday party, the temptation to fuck a coworker is an almost universal experience in corporate life.
It makes sense. In many cases, you’re seeing this person more often than your friends, Tinder dates, or even your own significant other. Morale-boosting activities often involve copious amounts of alcohol, and that intermingling of proximity and lowered inhibitions can be compelling, to say the least. Plus, there’s the excitement that comes with doing something naughty, something forbidden, something against the rules. For example, deep-throating your male boss in the storage closet is a great way to say, “Fuck you” to The Man — by actually fucking a man.
Every one of your friends will warn you against “shitting where you eat,” as the saying goes, but a lot of people — your friends included — go for it, anyway. Because, let’s face it, it’s kind of worth it.
My fledgling career began at the peak of the tech takeover, when startups claiming to “change the world” with their revolutionary approach to digital ads hired people under 25 by the Google Bus-ful. I moved home to San Francisco after college and got myself one of these jobs, drawn in by the fact that no particular skills were required, except the ability to tolerate making $25,000 a year. Hormones and booze flowed freely, so office hookups were common among the single and the committed, the young and the older-but-not-yet 30.
I for sure banged a coworker during that time. He was hot, terrible, and completely distracting. I reveled in harboring a sexy secret, even though everyone was aware it was happening. If I knew about all their trysts, then surely they knew of mine. It progressed and ended badly, harming my reputation just like everyone said it would, but I still recount the time fondly, because #DoesntMatterHadSex.
The most heinous encounter we shared was during a company vacation, where hundreds of us spent a weekend outside of San Francisco, drinking, throwing up, and getting laid. Even though fucking around was ostensibly a company-wide activity, my participation was egregious in that I blew my lover in (potentially) full view of our coworkers before taking him back to my bed, where he passed out mid-coitus from drinking too much — and could not be woken. In any other circumstance this would have been fine, except I was supposed to be sharing the bed with a female colleague who would be back any minute. This was my definitive shitting-where-you-eat moment.
Our affair quickly ended, as did my time with that company. (I quit.) But intraoffice bangaranging did not. Wherever I went, colleagues at all levels of the hierarchy were joining genitals any chance they got, although some of the more mature companies managed to hire horny help that was able to hide their affairs with greater tact. Marriages fell apart, rumors ran rampant, but in most cases, the bottom line stayed the same, so at least HR could be happy about that.
Sex in the world of self-employment has only gotten more visceral, with a significant portion of my day spent on masturbation. However, without the sensation of running around and keeping a secret, it’s just not quite as satisfying as shitting where I eat.
I’m not going to encourage anyone to fuck their coworker, because for most people in the world, earning a living is more important than busting a nut with your boss in a short skirt. There’s also the downside of giving in to temptation: After that line is crossed, the relationship itself needs to be stimulating enough to maintain that initial intrigue, and it’s hard to keep the stakes that high. You might end up trying to get caught just for the thrill of it, and find out later that being able to afford rent was actually more satisfying in the long term.
But if you do find yourself knuckle deep in someone during the office holiday party, their husband or wife mere feet away from the storage room in which you’re sequestered, maybe then you will understand why this particular activity has earned such a gross name.