Sexual behavior remains one of the adjudicative criteria considered in a security clearance investigation. Uncle Sam doesn’t care about your sexual habits, and even a polygraph examination won’t include embarrassing sexual questions (despite what you may have heard).


Sexual behavior as a criteria in security clearance determinations is strongly influenced by societal shifts. A number of sexual behaviors that would have once been deemed taboo are no longer disqualifying. The critical question is whether the behavior is compulsive, self- destructive, high risk or criminal.

Pornography is an increasingly prevalent issue, and is often brought up during a polygraph investigation. A question frequently asked is whether or not an applicant has ever viewed child pornography. Those who watch porn and aren’t diligent in avoiding potentially criminal images may encounter issues that will need to be mitigated through the passage of time, and otherwise sound judgment. If you’ve ever accidentally downloaded potentially criminal images, your conscious is likely to get the best of you, and could easily cause a failed polygraph.

When it comes to sex and your security clearance, the best way to avoid issues is to be transparent with your spouse or significant other, and have friends who can support your good character.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer