"Fraternization" is the term traditionally used to identify personal relationships that contravene the customary bounds of acceptable senior-subordinate relationships.
Although it has most commonly been applied to officer-enlisted relationships, fraternization also includes improper relationships and social interaction between officer members as well as between enlisted members.
While the existence of a direct senior-subordinate supervisory relationship is not a prerequisite for a relationship between juniors and seniors to constitute fraternization, the fact that individuals are in the same chain of command increases the likelihood that an unduly familiar relationship between senior and junior officers, or between senior and junior enlisted members will result in prejudice to good order and discipline or discredit to the naval service.
By long-standing custom and tradition, chief petty officers (E-7 to E-9) are separate and distinct leaders within their assigned command.
Chief petty officers provide leadership not just within their direct chain of command, but for the entire unit.
Historically, and as used here, fraternization is a gender-neutral concept.
Its focus is the detriment to good order and discipline resulting from the erosion of respect for authority inherent in an unduly familiar senior-subordinate relationship, not the sex of the members involved.