Tim was 28 and had been married for two years when he started working as a commercial producer at a company in Santa Monica, California. He immediately took a liking to the receptionist, a tanned, friendly 25-year-old.
"She couldn't have been nicer or have represented the company in a more positive way," he recalls. "Also, there was her body."
When she was promoted to assistant producer, they had such a good time working closely together--he would give her advice about how to get ahead as a producer, she would IM him about music, and they would have a few beers after work together to unwind--that Tim began to look forward to arriving at the office the way some guys anticipate leaving it.
"My marriage started to go south," Tim, now 32, says. "Whether it was because of her, who knows? But I wasn't happy at home, and I was so happy going to work."
Six months after the flirtation began, Tim and his wife separated. A week later, he and the receptionist turned producer consummated their office flirtation. Soon they'd had sex in all seven of the company's editing suites.
If this sounds like the kind of scenario that exists only in porn movies, you should start looking up from your spreadsheets once in a while. Through the nineties, office affairs were typically confined to hurried liaisons after holiday parties or at boozy Las Vegas sales conferences. And even then, most men feared those dalliances would get them fired or sued for sexual harassment. But now sexual harassment claims have decreased--21 percent fewer were filed in 2007 than in 1997--and a more relaxed environment has well-paid professionals trolling the corridors for willing sex partners like the overheated colleagues on The Office do, without worrying about getting sued.
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