Chanel Contos: ‘Conversations around consent are comforting, not awkward’

After three years of championing its importance, relationship expert Chanel Contos has debunked one of the most common online dating myths she says plague modern relationships.

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

“I think that’s a huge barrier to getting those conversations going,” he says.

“I don’t think people realize how comforting it is to message someone on Tinder and ask them to check in with you.

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

Her comments come as Tinder is set to release eight new terms this Friday in an upgrade to its online dating dictionary.

They include coercive control, sexual norms, healthy sexual relations, sexual act/activity, sexual harm, sexual violence, social norms and victim-survivors,

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

“I think it’s important because these are all words that we instinctively understand, but without actual language to define them, it’s very difficult to talk about them or participate in conversations in a respectful way,” says Ms. Contos.

A big priority for the 26-year-old, who founded the online platform Teach Us Consent, is to transform how people deal with and understand refusal.

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

“It’s about finding what everyone likes and developing a new connection.”

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

The new dating dictionary will also include an infographic featuring the Commonwealth Government’s Consent Policy Framework, based on the five pillars of consent, which are Free and Voluntary, Accurate and Informed, Affirmative and Informed, Ongoing and Reciprocal, and reflecting individuals’ capabilities.

Tinder’s Australia-based communications director Kirsty Dunn said the most important thing for the company is that dating interactions on the app are “safe and consensual”.

“Clearly defining what is – and what is not – consent is essential to help keep Australians safe,” she said.

She said Ms. Contos’ continued involvement with the app would provide users with “tools” to communicate clearly and build healthy relationships.

“User safety is at the core of our work,” she said.

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

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