Relationship expert Chanel Contos busts major dating myth

Relationship expert Chanel Contos has busted one of the most common online dating myths she says is plaguing modern relationships, after three years of championing its importance.

“We need to break the myth that talking about consent is awkward,” she says.

“I think that’s a big barrier in encouraging these conversations,” she says.

“I don’t think people realise how comforting is it to be messaging someone on Tinder and have them check in with you.

Relationship expert Chanel Contos says it’s important to talk about consent. Instagram/@chanelc

“There’s this idea that it’s a very rigid, awkward thing but if you’re talking about the positives of engaging in consensual and respectful relationships, it’s a really normal and natural progression of that, and it’s pretty much always going to be appreciated.”

Her comments come as Tinder is set to launch eight new terms in an upgrade to its online Dating Dictionary this Friday.

They include coercive control, gender norms, healthy sexual relationships, sexual act/activity, sexual harm, sexual violence, social norms and victim-survivor,

Contos collaborated with the online dating app in its latest update, and is set to front a new chapter of its online date guide, School of Swipe: Consent Edition, when it launches this September.

Contos argues that it shouldn’t be so uncomfortable talking about consent in new relationships. Kaspars Grinvalds –

“It think it’s significant because these are all words that we instinctively understand but without the actual language to pinpoint them, it’s very hard to talk about them, or engage in the conversations in a respectful way,” says Contos.

A big priority for the 26-year-old, who founded online platform Teach Us Consent, is reframing how people handle and understand rejection.

“If someone doesn’t take an extra step forward with you, whether it’s that they’re not ready to meet with you in real life or kiss on the first date – whatever it is – that doesn’t mean that’s game over,” she says.

Contos says people need to re-think rejection to have better conversations about consent. Instagram/@chanelc

“It’s all about figuring out what everyone is comfortable with and developing a new connection.”

Tinder’s education campaign comes after dating apps, including Bumble and Hinge (which is owned by Tinder’s company parent Match Group), were put on notice by the Albanese government in September, which called on apps to implement a code of conduct by mid-2024, or risk the government implementing its own legislation.

The new Dating Dictionary will also include an infographic incorporating the government’s Commonwealth Consent Policy Framework, based on the five tentpoles that consent it free and voluntary, specific and informed, affirmative and communicated, ongoing and mutual, and reflects the capacity of individuals.

Tinder’s Australia-based communications director Kirsty Dunn said ensuring dating interactions on the app are “safe and consensual” was paramount for the company.

Tinder is set to launch eight new terms in an upgrade to its online Dating Dictionary this Friday. –

“Clearly defining what is – and what isn’t – consent, is essential to help keep Aussies safe,” she said.

She said Contos’ continued collaboration with the app would help give users “tools” to communicate clearly and build healthy relationships.

“User safety is at the core of what we do,” she said.

“It all started with mutual matching, we don’t allow photos or links to be exchanged in our chat and we have a range of safety features to help encourage better behaviour and to make dating safer.”

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