Meet Shan Boodram, Sexologist and Dating Expert
Whether you’re single, attached, or it’s complicated, you’ll find something relatable in the work of Shannon Boodram. Known to her fans as Shan Boody, the sex and dating expert has made a name for herself with her boundary-pushing YouTube channel and as the host of Make Up or Break Up – a weekly, live relationship series on Facebook Watch where a live studio audience votes on whether a real-life couple should stay together or split. With her fresh perspective on love life issues, Boodram’s not afraid to broach subjects like open relationships and female sexual pleasure, which feels revolutionary in a genre that’s still largely stuck in a traditional mold.
We spoke with the Los Angeles-based expert to learn more about her take on relationships, how she added “sexologist” to her résumé, and of course, her killer curls.
How would you describe what you do? I talk about sex and relationships for a living on various platforms. I describe myself as being like the Wal-Mart greeter of sex and relationships. I want to be the person that gets you curious, that sparks your interest, but then hopefully you travel to aisle 10 and learn more about what your specific niche is, or if therapy is in the cards for you, or a fetish is in the cards for you. I think a lot of times we tend to look at this area of our life like it’s just supposed to work out. People take for granted that it takes work and self-knowledge.
What’s your background? I went to school for journalism, and when I finished that, I went on to the University of Toronto and became a sex education counselor, which is a certification program. From there, I went to a school in California and got my associates in sex education, and I became certified as a sexologist in 2015.
How did you end up starting your YouTube channel? I was trying to do traditional media for a very long time, trying to find the right fit. I moved to Los Angeles, and I shot four pilots. After the fourth one didn’t get picked up, I thought, “well, how about YouTube?” [On YouTube] people aren’t telling me how to use my voice or what to say, and it’s a place for me to be my unfiltered self. I credit YouTube as the launching pad for everything else that has followed.
What are some of the most common questions you get from your audience? My audience is 70 percent women, and mostly between the ages of 18-35. “Is it normal?” is probably number one with anything that has to do with sex. When it comes to relationships, it’s a lot of “How do I fix this?” or “How do I make someone like me?” or “How do I get over it?” It’s kind of like fighting against what your natural feelings and tendencies are to choose something better for yourself.
If everyone in the world had to learn one lesson about love, relationships, or sex, what would you teach them? Love is addictive just like food, so we’re driven to certain natural tendencies that may be comfortable to us but not necessarily healthy for us. I want people to understand that there are “junk food” types of relationships and sexual interactions. I want people to start having a clear, almost nutritional guide for how to conduct their intimate life.
You have amazing curls – what’s your secret? For me it’s about embracing my curls, embracing their pattern, not trying to fight against them but work with them. If I do want to alter my hair in some way, I wear curly hair extensions and that’s my way of getting the kind of look that I want without putting heat to my hair or trying to make it something that it’s not.
Did you always embrace your curls, or was there a time when you wanted straight hair? Of course, I think everyone went through the straight hair phase. I went to extreme lengths – I used to relax my hair, as a lot of people do. I used to shave my hairline because it was a rougher texture, so I just shaved it off altogether. And I used to part my hair down the middle and completely cut the center out so that it would be not as full. And now, at this part of my life, I put extensions in because I want more hair [laughs]. It wasn’t until probably my late teens that I was like, I actually have the best hair because my hair can be whatever I want it to be – it’s versatile and there’s so much that I can do with it.
Do you have a favorite Ouidad product? I really like the Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil right now. My hair’s super dry, so I avoid washing it like the plague because I hate those two days after I wash where it’s just so clean and frizzy. With the cleansing oil, it feels like I’m cleaning my hair but not stripping it, which is great.
If there’s one thing that you hope to accomplish through your work, what would it be? For people to have great sex and be happy about their love life.