Flirting consists of a whole host of behaviors, gestures and words, which can be subject to endless interpretations. For the purposes of this poll, however, let's just define "flirting" as an occasion when you act pleasantly toward a member of the opposite sex in a way that you would never act toward a member of your own.

Step into any office or classroom -- let alone a venue hosting a more social activity -- and you won't have to look hard to find evidence of flirting. And it should come as no surprise to find that some of the biggest flirts are those who happen to be in a committed relationship with a person other than their flirting partner.

So, what's the protocol on that? Is it OK to flirt when you have a significant other (so long as the action stops at just the flirting)?

Read on for the arguments for and against engaging in playful, sexually charged banter with a person other than the one you're currently sleeping with.

Is flirting outside your relationship OK?
Sure -- it's how men and women naturally communicate2858 (20.2%)
Depends -- occasional, mild flirting has probably never hurt anyone6368 (44.9%)
Not at all -- it's disrespectful to your partner4943 (34.9%)

It's not a big deal:
  • Flirting is so ingrained in our culture that if you completely cease to do it upon entering into a committed relationship people will begin to think that you are socially awkward or belong to a strange religious cult.
  • The sexual tension you build up flirting outside of your relationship can be channeled into physical fun inside your relationship.
  • If nobody in a committed relationship ever flirted, the institution of flirting would eventually flounder, as people would become reluctant to flirt for fear of rejection. Would you really want to live in a society where men and women treat the opposite sex exactly the same as they treat their own gender?
It's not something you should do:
  • While we never really bought the whole "gateway" theory on marijuana, flirting could certainly be described as a "gateway to infidelity."
  • Apply the Golden Rule: Would you want your wife or girlfriend flirting with other guys?
  • Let's say you flirt outside of your relationship but have no intention of ever cheating on your wife or girlfriend. Aren't you behaving in a somewhat dishonest manner toward all the women you are flirting with?