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Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Aphrodisiacs | Office Romances

Quick Access:
Office Romances - Safe?

Are there real aphrodisiacs?

Research on both men and women suggests that sexual arousal is increased by increasing the flow of blood to the genitalia. Now, as Paul Harvey would say, let me give you the rest of the story. The research has found that sexual arousal in both men and women depends on many other factors, including psychological well being, foreplay and bonding and general good health. There are a multitude of products – both manmade and natural – that claim to boost sex drive.

I join with Online Dating Magazine in urging everyone considering a purported aphrodisiac to consult with their physician before choosing and using a given product. Some products are akin to “snake oil” medicine and only work as a placebo. Other products may be proven to help with sex drive, but these can be costly medications available only with a prescription. In actuality, many sexual problems can be minimized by a “healthy” attitude, life style, and proper diet. The same can be said for enhancing an already healthy libido. For further adult reading on the topic – and a resource that can be an impetus for a discussion with a physician – I recommend the following site. It’s fascinating:

Are office romances safe?

Hmmm…. safe from what? Office romances are nothing new, but they’re likely on the rise. Today’s busy singles hardly have time for socializing, so the main ways they meet romantic prospects are through introductions by family or friends, accidental meetings, and of course, in their workplace. But, yes, they can be unsafe in the sense that they can cause personal and professional headaches and heartaches, if you don’t approach such relationships with a level head.

Remember my motto – “In matters of the heart use your head!” To that end, here are a few tips to help you keep yours tightly screwed on if romance in the workplace has a tight grip on you:

» Obey company policies. Realize that many companies now have written polices about workplace fraternization. Before pursuing an office romance, it’s in the best professional interest of both of you to consult with your employee handbook to see what limitations there may be. For example, such romances might be prohibited altogether, or it might be that only public displays of affection, such hand-holding, caresses or flirting are prohibited. Moreover, some companies restrict the use of company e-mail systems for personal purposes. Still other organizations reserve the right to access or disclose electronic messages or files of an employee with good cause, such as suspected employee wrongdoing or concerns of sexually explicit content.

» Don’t flirt with disaster. It’s generally best not to date or become involved with your work manager or supervisor. If you ignore this advice, then at least resist the temptation to exploit the relationship. For example, don’t ask for work-related favors from your sweetie, such as promotions, bigger office, free “business” lunches, or fancy office supplies. Co-workers are all too observant and sensitive to such special treatment, and it places both of you in potentially troubled legal waters with the human resource department.

» Wait and see. I agree wholeheartedly with the advice that it's best to wait a month or so before you share your romantic news publicly. This gives you both a chance to see if the relationship is likely to last past the initial attraction. Furthermore, it can help you both to save face and any appearance of impropriety if that attraction dies after the first few weeks.

» Maintain professionalism. Personal life and professional life are and should be kept separate. If you let romance compromise your worth ethic and productivity, then you may be asked to end your relationship or find another job. The bottom line is this: don’t behave in ways that force you to choose between your career and your companion.

» Workplaces are not bedrooms. Never have sex in the workplace environment. You can fantasize about it and even role play it at home. But, just don’t actually do it! There are too many risks involved.

» Heed boundaries. Regardless of the type of relationship, it's advised not to bring your arguments to work. Workplace conflicts are difficult enough when two colleagues don’t get along. It only creates significant chaos when you add the emotions and tensions of related to romantic relationships.

» Realistic expectations. Romantic relationships are difficult to handle and negotiate, much less ones that involve a co-worker. Therefore, despite the feelings of anticipation and euphoria you may be feeling remember that people can and often do break up. Make sure you remain professional and don’t burn bridges.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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