Chantelle Otten is a Psycho-Sexologist who is passionate about empowering people to feel great about their sexual health, self-esteem, communication and education. She has recently partnered up with Bumble to help Australians make authentic connections on the app and in real life.
Question: How can singles approach romance with a confident mindset especially as we approach Valentine's Day?
Chantelle Otten: Singles can approach Valentine's Day in a way that is positive and uplifting. If you don't have a partner, try and organise a date with yourself or a group of friends. Valentine's day is typically for couples, but who says we can't have some self-love or friend love on that day. Enjoy a date with a loved one or family member, or pop in some quality time at home. Get your favourite dinner and watch a show, read a book, have a bath, or plan a nice event.
If you are looking to attract a meaningful relationship leading into Valentine's Day, my best advice is to focus on maintaining a positive and confident energy Below are some of my top tips on how to stay confident in the early stages of dating:
Think of your date like a story:
Going on a date should be exciting. It gives you an opportunity to get dressed up, try a new restaurant or bar, learn to better read body language and many more exciting things. At the very least, by the end you should have a new story under your belt (good or bad) to tell your friends afterwards! Be open to seeing how a relationship evolves, and don't be afraid to date outside your "type" as sometimes people will surprise you! Go into the date confident and positive, and be open to seeing how the relationship evolves.
Remember that you're there to connect with another human:
You might be nervous but I guarantee you that your date is feeling exactly the same. Try not to think about the future too much, especially on your first date, as it will help take the pressure off. Remember you are there to connect, chat and have fun.
Dating is meant to be fun, so even if you're feeling a little uncomfortable, always put yourself out there and never be afraid to make the first move. You need to meet a number of different characters to discover what your type is. If you are absolutely set on certain characteristics, I recommend using Bumble's Filters feature. This means the people you see are more in line with what you're looking for.
Question: How can women feel empowered to make the first move on Valentine's Day?
Chantelle Otten: Women should be empowered to make the first move every day, not just on Valentine's Day! Sometimes as women we can revert back to quite traditional gender roles when it comes to dating, but I am here to remind you that we are in 2020 and there is nothing more appealing than a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it.
On Bumble women make the first move which I love. But a lot of women that I speak to still feel nervous or shy to own the next step, which is progressing the digital conversation to a real-life date. I've seen a lot of women wait for their match to ask them on a date and get stressed or anxious if the conversation isn't moving in that direction fast enough. The best solution is to just do it yourself! Know what you want, and chase that dream. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work out, but luckily there are plenty more men on Bumble who would love to be asked on a date by a catch like you!
Question: You and your partner are extremely busy individuals; how can those with busy work schedules manage a successful relationship?
Chantelle Otten: It's always best to prioritise time together. And that doesn't have to necessarily mean a 'date' but it might mean couch time. Check in with each other during the day, send messages or affection and playfulness. Know that being busy and having careers is helpful for your future and you are both in this together. Respect each other and communicate about how you would like to spend your quality time together.
Question: How does having a baby change a relationship, initially and how can this change be managed?
Chantelle Otten: Having a baby means that your couples time will be reduced. A huge amount of attention goes to the new-born. Often mum's feel overwhelmed and partners feel neglected. It's important to both make an effort to hang, and really be friends during this time. Try and give each other as much affection as possible, and prioritise time together and sleep. I would suggest more texts that are affectionate and sexy (not always about baby, or 'to-do' lists). Remember that one day your bub will grow up and it will be you and your partner left, so remain focussed on keeping that relationship well and alive.
Question: Can you share your best date ideas for the Valentine's Day ahead?
Chantelle Otten: If your first date is on Valentine's Day it's important you both have a say on where you are going. I personally love going to an old favourite restaurant or bar so you can recommend dishes and drinks, and act as the host for the night!
Communicate about expectations. If you cannot celebrate your love or 'self-love' on that day, make a good time and date to do this. I believe you don't have to go to extreme lengths for Valentine's Day. But definitely writing a love letter to your partner or to yourself is a beautiful thing to do. Celebrate with meaningful things. You could also focus on your partners 'love language' and make a meaningful gift with your partner's love language in mind.
Question: What are your Valentine's Day plans?
Chantelle Otten: My partner and I are going on vacation next week and will celebrate with some quality time and lots of love then. We are both so grateful that we found each other and get to wake up to a loving and caring partner every morning.
Question: What's next, for you?
Chantelle Otten: Well! Lots of plans really. For myself personally, I'm really focussed on working hard this year to expand my company of sexologists from six sexologists to at least eight. I am enjoying spreading the word about sexual wellness through collaborations and media. I would really like to start a podcast but must make some time and get a good producer to help, and I am writing a book! Plus supporting my partner for his big tennis year. I'll be cheering him on every step of the way.
Question: What advice do you have for creating the perfect Bumble profile?
Lucille McCart: A picture says a thousand words! The photos you chose are such an important way to communicate who you are. When it comes to photos:
● Make sure they are current - taken in the last six months is best!
● Use as many as you can. Our data shows that users who used three to six photos on their profile were 31% more likely to get a match.
● Your first photo should be just you, without any filters. You can include photos with your friends too, but make it clear to your potential matches who they are swiping right on.
● Communicate your likes and interests through your photos - love to salsa dance? Show that. Love hiking? That photo of you at the top of a mountain says it all! Pets are also super popular in our community, so if you own a pet show them off too!
In terms of your bio, less is definitely NOT more! Do not leave your bio blank! Even just filling out your basic info makes you 13% more likely to match with someone. Your bio is an opportunity to show off your personality and sense of humour - let your match get to know you, so that when it comes time to chat, you have a starting point with each other. By using our Badges filter you can quickly show the important information like star sign, height, what kind of relationship you are looking for etc. Users who assign Badges to their profile are 55% more likely to get a match, so this one is a must.
If you are really struggling, ask a friend to write your bio for you. As women we can be way too hard on ourselves, but our friends only see our best qualities - so they can be trusted to represent you well!
Interview by Brooke Hunter