Cityfile has partnered with Dr. Helen Fisher to bring you the latest insight into love and romantic attraction. A renowned biological anthropologist, Dr. Fisher has conducted extensive research in the fields of human sexuality, love and marriage. She serves as Chief Scientific Advisor for the internet dating site Chemistry.com.
Question: Does the fact office hook-ups are forbidden make them that much more appealing?
Answer: Any love that is forbidden makes it more enticing. The brain's reward system is triggered when you want something.
And if the reward is delayed in coming, the reward system just keeps firing impulses—driving you to work harder to get what you can't yet attain. But the office happens to be a particularly efficient petri dish for passion. It's neutral territory. You and your office colleagues share similar schedules, similar business goals, have similar stresses, tell similar jokes and often spend time together far from family and friends. Then there's our natural human tendency to flirt, and you have a recipe for joy or trouble.
This wasn't always the case, of course. For millions of years men and women worked, but they didn't work together. Men set off alone or in small groups to do their hunting, while women congregated with other women to gather. Today we work in tiny offices for years.