Your personal life is nobody’s business. Unless you’re applying for a federal security clearance. Those applying for a security clearance are often surprised to see sexual behavior is still one of the 13 adjudicative criteria – and can be used to deny an individual a security clearance. Here are five specific sexual behaviors that have resulted in clearance denial.

One, sexual harassment. Sure, you tell a great dirty joke. But making sexual advances or sexual comments at work can result in clearance denial – particularly if the accusations are recent.

Two, the guy with a real kink in his neck. You may enjoy a nice massage while on vacation, but if you’re traveling to a location where the massages legally – or particularly illegally – end with a happy ending, you can kiss your clearance chances good-bye. This is doubly so if you engage in this type of behavior while you have a security clearance.

Three, adultery. Think your marriage is a personal, private affair? It is, but if you have something to hide from your spouse – including a relationship on the side – you may be more subject to blackmail. Individuals have lost their security clearances due to a hidden love affair – this is particularly true for individuals who are in the military, and also face military-specific punishments for adultery or fraternization.

Four, the swinging general. Uncle Sam really never caught onto the free love thing. A Major General in the U.S. Army lost his job, and his security clearance, after his pursuit of the swinger’s lifestyle was uncovered. It didn’t help that he’d hidden his swinging hobby from his spouse.

Five, answering the call of the wild…in the wild. Engaging in a sex act in a public place is a great way to lose your clearance on multiple grounds – criminal conduct and sexual behavior. The right to privacy doesn’t apply if a park ranger catches you and you end up with a citation.

In general, what happens behind closed doors is generally no one’s business – including the government. But if you hold a security clearance, always keep in mind that any risky behavior – even of a sexual nature– could end up catching up with you.

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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