Different professions take different approaches to the sexual and romantic lives of professionals. Some professions take the view that a sexual or romantic relationship with a client is not a professional ethical issue because there is an insufficient nexus to the profession. The fact of a professional having an intimate relationship with a client does not create a power imbalance that affects the professional carrying out their duties to the client. On the other end of the spectrum are professions which have zero tolerance for professionals having personal relationships with clients. For many of these professions an intimate relationship with a client is seen as abusing the professional-client relationship or creating an unacceptable power-imbalance with a client who is already vulnerable. In between, there are professions which view an intimate relationship as an ethical issue only if a collateral ethical issue such as a conflict of interest or exploitation exists.
The “Sexual Misconduct Series” to be posted here will report on the standards and approaches of different professions.