Speider Schneider December 29th, 2014

Up All Night to Get Lucky? Why Having Sex with a Freelance Client is a Good Idea…

I hate to admit it, but I’ve had sex with a lot of my clients (female). Maybe it was just being young, in New York City where dating is strange, or it was the looser morals in the design and advertising world. I wasn’t alone, either. My peers seem to be having a shtupfest, also. We did question the possible problems sex with a freelance client might cause, just as someone would think twice about an affair with an office coworker. The thing is that it WAS a good idea!

Sex success

One of the designers in my studio received a last minute call on a Friday after we attended an industry event. I called and left him a message that the assignment had to be done by Tuesday and sketches were to be delivered Monday. There was no answer that night. On Saturday, I called again and again, and again. It wasn’t like him to not return a call, so I was worried. I was also worried we’d lose the assignment.

A few more calls on Sunday and I just figured he was dead. It was, after all, New York City and people died quite often. And then the phone rang. It was an art director we had chatted up at the event Friday night. She informed me that she had kidnapped my designer and was holding him as a sex slave.

She put him on the phone and he acknowledged getting my messages but was “busy” being used as a sexual plaything for the past 72 hours. He did, however, assure me sketches would be ready Monday morning.

The interesting thing about this whole sweaty, steamy mess, was the art director kept giving my studio work as long as she got what she wanted from this designer. To her, they were dating. To him, she was there if nothing better came along at the next industry event.

As she had my contact information, I found myself covering for my employee more and more. Still, the projects came rolling in. Whenever she had an opening for a freelance designer, this guy would fill it.

Is It Immoral to Have Sex With a Client?

I was a bit more careful about sleeping with clients but there were offers that couldn’t be refused. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a gentleman and nothing ever started a business relationship with ending up in bed. Part of my job was to woo new customers for the studio and lunches to either thank a regular client or woo a new one were commonplace. Many times the offer of sex-for-work was presented to me in a blatant manner. Want work to continue? Stick it in me! There were more subtle demands, such as “drop your pants!”

Sensuous Secretary Seducing Boss At Desk

One regular client who I would take to lunch every other month or so was telling a mutual friend that she “didn’t know where our relationship was going.”

I had no idea she thought we were having a relationship as there was no physical relationship. It was purely professional – or so I thought. To her, my attention was enough to stir her emotions. She ended up moving on to another company in another state, so I was never forced to put it up… er, put up, or shut up. Unrequited love can ruin a working relationship as quickly as a spurned lover situation.

Despite what many of you are thinking of me right now, I can be quite charming and in a city of lonely people with severe emotional problems, and it being hard to meet people socially, these lunches often turned into me being pressed against a taxi door and having a tongue shoved down my throat. I pretty much figured out that was a message of some sort but always insisted on at least one romantic dinner (I’m old fashioned in that way) before “bumping uglies.”

Now, aside from the sex that followed, and, unfortunately the balancing act that would happen at industry events when more than one paramour would show up, the benefits were substantial. It came in the form of steady projects and the highest fees possible. With a dozen or so designers and illustrators in my studio, I found myself running interference at industry get-togethers. I felt like a pimp dodging reporters wanting to know which politician ws sleeping with whom.

It’s not all about sex, however. Love does abound when men and women meet, especially when both work closely together over the course of a big project. At one corporation, I worked on many long projects with female co-workers and the long hours leads to casual talk and finding out more about each other. Attraction can lead to admiration and even love.

There were quite a few situations like this, especially a boss and his/her assistant falling in love and getting married. Most corporations require workers who are dating to sign an agreement so there will be no sexual harassment suits later if the relationship fell apart with bad blood between the two parties. Often inter-company dating meant that the two lovers would be separated if they worked in the same department.

There are professions, such as attorneys and therapists that actually legally ban sexual relations between the professional and clients and one can lose their license to practice and face jail time. Designers, of course, are not considered “professionals” so we can hump just about anything that consents to it. I’ve known some designers (but mostly illustrators as they are the biggest perverts) who would screw small livestock if someone held it down for them. Some states forbid that legally. The southern U.S. actually encourages it.

The Great Thing About Sex with a Client

Intimate couple in office

  1. It’s SEX!

  2. It’s regular sex and the human body and animal response is to let off “I’m an alpha mating animal” pheromones, which attracts the opposite sex with the drive to mate and you have MORE SEX!

  3. Sex is great exercise so you’ll look and feel better – which leads to more and better sex!

  4. Your lover will give you lots of work, so you make more money.

  5. Your lover will blab about having sex with you and his/her co-workers will want to have sex with you and you’ll get more work. At a large advertising agency, you can sleep around for years and make an entire career out of it and retire early… which you’ll need to do to get some rest from all of that sex.

The Bad Thing About Sex with a Client

  1. Sometimes people look better with their clothes on. Throwing up at the sight of a naked client is a quick way to lose that client and the associated income.

  2. When it’s over, so is the steady income stream.

  3. In a small industry, you can get a reputation, hopefully not with a nickname like “The Herp-inator” or “Captain Crabs.”

  4. A client can be fired for consorting with freelancers, and then there’s no income but you have your former client wanting to move in with you because he/she is out of a job and can’t afford their own apartment.

  5. When it ends, industry events become a minefield of former lovers and a multitude of handy and very deadly cheese knives and burning Sterno containers.

Do the Math Before You Act

With the pros and cons weighing more or less evenly, it’s important to consider the implications of a relationship with a client or co-worker.

  1. Most people stay at one job for 1-3 years. When your lover leaves, you can start over with his/her replacement.

  2. 1-3 years of steady income from your lover can be wisely invested and last you 3-6 years during dry times with no steady income.

  3. If your lover moves to a new and better job, you can gain better experience and pump up your portfolio.

  4. You can keep working for your lover’s replacement AND your lover at his/her new company and double your income potential but cut your sleep time in half.

  5. You might find that one, special person and get married!


While much of this is tongue-in-cheek humor (such as it were), there’s a truth behind it that can spell danger for a freelancer. Unfortunately, sexual demands among men and women in power positions often arise and there are no easy answers or rules one can follow, except “keep it in your pants whenever possible.”

Sex is a natural and beautiful act between two consenting adults. Men, of course, are pigs and usually act as such. Women, even acting as the aggressor in the formation of a sexual relationship, still maintain an emotional connection with their lover. The split-ups will always be messy and angry. There are always hurt feelings. Is losing a client for some sex worth it? Therapist Lisa Shield points out that men and women ARE wired differently when it comes to sex. What might be just sex for you might very well mean something deeper to your lover and that always spells trouble:

For men, sex can be purely physical. I am not saying that men can never connect the physical and the emotional when it comes to sex, but unlike women, they can separate the emotional and physical, allowing them to have recreational sex without getting attached.

What further complicates matters is that men and women don’t seem to understand each other. Women get angry with men for remaining emotionless and unattached, and men get angry with women for developing feelings for them when they told the women from the beginning that the relationship wasn’t going anywhere.

Many women make the mistake of thinking that just because they can develop feelings for a man over time, a man will eventually develop feelings for them. In my experience, most men know right away if they have deeper feelings for a particular woman and want more than just sex with her. My male clients rarely talk about falling slowly in love with a woman. They know immediately when they are interested in having more than just a sexual relationship with a woman.

For men, sex can be purely physical. I am not saying that men can never connect the physical and the emotional when it comes to sex, but unlike women, they can separate the emotional and physical, allowing them to have recreational sex without getting attached.

What further complicates matters is that men and women don’t seem to understand each other. Women get angry with men for remaining emotionless and unattached, and men get angry with women for developing feelings for them when they told the women from the beginning that the relationship wasn’t going anywhere.

Young people are wonderfully foolish and will make mistakes when their brains reside below their belts. Even the most innocent of kind acts or treatment can and will be misunderstood. With one new client, I sent a bouquet of flowers for her birthday, thanking her for her business. She screamed at me for embarrassing her in front of her co-workers. It’s not like I sent her an assortment of dildos, but the result was the same – a lost client and huge opportunity with a large international corporation. I probably should have sent a fruit basket.

Women eating banana

Another client wrote me thank you notes that were very personal. I misunderstood and asked her out. She was shocked and explained that she had a boyfriend. The embarrassment we both felt ended that professional relationship. Sure, clients can come and go (no pun intended… although it certainly fits… no pun intended there, either), but why let our animal instincts cause that to happen? It’s hard enough (no pun intended) to find freelance work these days, and easier to find sex, so keep it professional and monk-like when dealing with a client… even the really hot ones!

Images ©GL Stock Images

Speider Schneider

Speider Schneider is a former member of The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine, “among other professional embarrassments and failures.” He currently writes for local newspapers, blogs and other web content and has designed products for Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Mattel, DC and Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon among other notable companies. Speider is a former member of the board for the Graphic Artists Guild, co-chair of the GAG Professional Practices Committee and a former board member of the Society of Illustrators. He also continues to speak at art schools across the United States on business and professional practices. Follow him on Twitter @speider.


  1. This means no more articles on Designing/Development Inspirational ideas on Noupe, eveyone know’s a lot of inspirational things about S*X on internet, so why dirty articles on your blog, Please post Serious articles like (Designing, Resources, Development) instead of “Sex Life”. :)

  2. Oh loosen up. Oh my god… He said sex… Run!!! welcome to the real world. It happens. You don’t have to agree with him, I sure as hell don’t but it’s still a relevant article.

  3. An interesting collection of comments. One of the things I love about Noupe is it explores so many things outside the usual, “the 10 best plugins,” “or “WordPress tips” that every design blog publishes five times a month.

    As creatives, we are exposed to so much more in our everyday lives. Do you ever hear a plumber complaining that a prospective client asked for a free bathroom because he has rich friends that will use it and hire the plumber for big bucks? Freelance creatives certainly hear that same come-on (no pun intended for this article) for doing free work.

    The subject of having sex with a client is taboo? Well, as with the examples cited (and there were some decorum wouldn’t allow me to use), it goes on every day but is seldom discussed. Every now and then, it should come out (again, no pun intended) for those who quietly hold their similar experiences inside so they can see they are not alone, nor are the designers who are faced with the decision of entering a sexual relationship with a client but have no idea of the ramifications.

    Aside from that, more people thought enough of this article to tweet it, post it on G+, Facebook and LinkedIn. As Mike posted… “loosen up!” (no pun intended!).

Sorry, Comments are closed...