From Bedroom To Boardroom: Sexologist Chantelle Otten’s Confidence-Boosting Tips

Your burning confidence questions, answered.

Trying new things can be terrifying.

Whether it be reentering the dating world after a bit of a hiatus, trying a new look or standing up for yourself among friends, sometimes we need a little extra boost of confidence to take the next step.

Enter: award-winning sexologist Chantelle Otten.

A champion for those wanting to explore and celebrate their sexual health, self-esteem and inner confidence, she’s also the new ambassador for Kérastase’s Chroma Absolu Collection—a complete, customisable colour care collection that supports the hair fire from the inside out. 

After asking her some of your burning questions around life, love, and friendship, she’s offered up her best confidence-boosting advice.

Q: “I’m recently separated after a 15-year relationship. I’m new to online dating and feel totally overwhelmed. So much has changed—where do I start?”—Melanie, 37

A: Firstly, what a big step you’ve made, separation isn’t easy. Secondly, you’re not alone in feeling intimidated and a little rusty when it comes to dating—so many things have changed since you were last single!

Here are some tips:

  1. Get comfortable with the idea of dating again—it’s normal to feel a bit apprehensive at first. Just take things slowly and remember that there are plenty of fish in the sea!
  2. Join a few different dating sites or apps and see which ones you like best. There are lots of different options out there, so it’s important to find the one that feels right for you.
  3. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you’re interested in. Sending a message is a great way to break the ice and start a conversation.
  4. Be honest about what you’re looking for. It’s important to be upfront about your expectations and intentions from the outset, otherwise you might waste each other’s time.
  5. Enjoy yourself! Dating should be fun, so make sure you go into it with that mindset.
Chantelle’s advice for getting back into dating? “Enjoy yourself—dating should be fun!”
Chantelle’s advice for getting back into dating? “Enjoy yourself—dating should be fun!” (Credit: Getty)

Q: “Looking in the mirror, I’m feeling a little ‘over’ my current look. I want to try something new, maybe even a little bit bold, but I’m worried I don’t have the confident personality to match. What do I do?”—Amy, 31

 A: Honey, have you ever heard of the phrase “fake it til you make it”? The funny thing is, the more you fake this confident personality, the more confident you will become. It sounds like you are ready for a change, and that is exciting!

I would suggest doing some research on what kind of style you are drawn to. Then, start slowly incorporating some new pieces into your wardrobe. As you get more comfortable with the new look, you will start to feel more confident. And who knows, maybe this bold new look will help you attract some new and exciting opportunities into your life!

The Chroma Absolu Collection: You Dare, They Care

Feel free to express yourself and colour your hair whatever shade you want, whenever you want—without sacrificing the health of your hair.

The Kérastase Chroma Absolu collection supports the hair fibre from the inside out, with the customisable system designed to be tailored to your hair type and goals.

With options to bathe, treat and prime your hair, the restoring acid care is a powerful, skincare-inspired approach to building and maintaining the health of your hair.

The Kérastase Chroma Absolu collection supports the hair fibre from the inside out, so you can colour your hair without the fear of damage.
The Kérastase Chroma Absolu collection supports the hair fibre from the inside out, so you can colour your hair without the fear of damage. (Credit: Kérastase)

Q: “I love my partner, but he sometimes isn’t…getting it right in the bedroom. I don’t want to offend him by telling him what he’s currently doing isn’t quite working for me. How do I give him directions without hurting his feelings?”— Sarah, 28

 A: Sarah, every relationship will have these types of communication challenges, but your partner will not learn unless you give him feedback.

Have you ever heard of the ‘compliment sandwich’? You start with a compliment, then give your constructive criticism, and end with another compliment. For example, you could say “I love it when you hug me from behind, it makes me feel so safe. I would love it even more if you would hold me a little tighter. And I really appreciate your effort.”

This way, you are giving him the information he needs to help make your sexy times even better!

Q: “I’ve put on a lot of weight over the past two years. I wrecked my hair with home dye kits, none of my clothes fit, my friends have all hooked up with partners and I’m just feeling ‘blah’. I can’t seem to find the motivation to do exercise and as much as I try to eat healthy, the Tim Tams and red wine always win out by 9pm. How can I break this cycle?”—Melinda, 35

A: Melinda! It sounds like you are going through a tough time and are not feeling your best. We’ve all been there. But remember, you deserve a fun time! Sounds like you need to give yourself some TLC… and not in the Tim Tam way.

It might be a little push, but you can make a commitment to take care of your appearance. This does not mean that you need to be skinny or have perfect skin but taking the time to do things that make you feel good about yourself can make a big difference.

For example, you could get a new haircut, buy some clothes that make you feel confident, or even just put on some BB Cream and a lip tint. Once you start taking care of your appearance, you will likely find it easier to take care of your health as well.

Exercise will become more enjoyable, and you will be more likely to make healthy choices when it comes to food. And honey… take photos of yourself when you feel good! You deserve that pep in your step.

Take a leaf out of Chantelle’s book and “take photos of yourself when you feel good”.
Take a leaf out of Chantelle’s book and “take photos of yourself when you feel good”. (Credit: @chantelle_otten_sexologist/Instagram.)

Q: “I need to set boundaries with my friend— I am always getting pressured to do things I don’t really want to. How can I do this in a way that doesn’t offend them?”—Kate, 25

A: Boundaries are something we all must learn in life, and it can be tricky to figure out how to set them without hurting other people’s feelings.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Be assertive: it’s okay to say no, and you don’t have to explain yourself if you don’t want to.
  2. Be direct: if you’re feeling uncomfortable, let your friend know and explain why.
  3. Offer alternatives: if you don’t want to do something, suggest something else you could do instead.
  4. Give yourself time: if you’re not sure what you want, it’s okay to take some time to think about it.
  5. Stick to your guns: if you’ve said no, don’t let yourself be talked into changing your mind.

Good luck! And remember, you are worthy of someone respecting your boundaries.

Q: “I sometimes feel afraid that I will end up alone, and that means I often look past those red flags that pop up when I start dating someone new. How do I find the confidence to be on my own and not settle for less than I deserve?”—Rachel, 32

A: I can understand that fear, Rachel. A lot of us have been taught that we need to be in a relationship to be happy and fulfilled. But the truth is, you are the only person who can make yourself happy. You are enough. And you deserve to be in a relationship that enhances your life, not one that brings you down.

So, start by getting to know yourself. What do you like to do for fun? What are your interests? How do you want to spend your time? Once you know what you want, it will be easier to recognise when someone is not a good match for you.

And don’t settle! You deserve the best.

Brought to you by Kérastase.

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