A Sexologist Says This Activity Is the Key to Making a Great Connection on a Date


If you’re in lockdown in certain parts of Australia and you’re with (or even without) an “intimate partner”, this is one for you.

My name is Chantelle Otten and I’m a psycho-sexologist. My job is to help people have better relationships both physically and psychologically. I live, breathe and love seeing people build meaningful connections that are both mutually rewarding and fulfilling. This is what truly excites me.

Recently my friends at Bumble, the social networking platform where women make the first move, partnered up with HelloFresh, to find out if cooking was, in fact, a desirable interest or skill for Aussies when you’re considering dating someone. What they found is no surprise, but perhaps not well known — that food and relationships have a very strong connection and that an interest in cooking could in fact increase your chances of matching with someone.

The nationwide survey found that cooking is one of the top three most attractive traits in a partner, and seven in 10 Aussies actually think that cooking together can strengthen their relationship.

Now, I’m not saying you have to be an expert chef to find love, I’m simply saying that getting creative with this particular skill set and bringing it to life on some of those first dates could be advantageous. Why? Because it’s fun, playful and more interesting than more conventional dating activities.

This absolutely makes sense, right? Cooking and food are so woven into every relationship we have ever had. Whether that be memories of our childhood, being taught how to cook by a carer, teaching little ones about healthy eating, or being impressed by romantic partners who have culinary skills. The skill and love of cooking, as we all endure a global pandemic, has never been more important.

What I love about this trend is that it is forcing our dating game to be a little bit more creative, which absolutely encourages more meaningful connections from the very beginning. Australians actually said that cooking a nice meal together at home has been the date of choice for almost half of the country’s singles. And if you ask me, that’s the perfect environment to nurture the relationship to that next step.

For those that know me, they’ll know that I’m all about pushing the boundaries if it means the opportunity for a better relationship from the get-go.  I encourage my clients every day to get creative, and that is specifically encouraged when it comes to dating.  So, instead of just saying “I love cooking” on your Bumble profile, get cooking with your potential date.  Do a cooking class together, cook together at home or, if you’re back to virtual dating (like many Australians are now) commit to ordering a service like HelloFresh and cook a recipe that you can follow along with virtually, and have fun with it.  This is a sure-fire way to fast-tracking a deeper understanding of your date’s personality, skill sets, domestic skills and sense of humour.

In addition to a thirst from Australians for cooking and dating, another fun fact is that the brain actually thinks food and sex are the same thing. As humans, we need and desire food and sex, and both are physically connected in the limbic system of the brain, which is the area that controls emotional activity. Food and sex bring out the same type of brain reactions, producing dopamine, which is a hormone that signals cravings. Dopamine plays a huge part in how we interact with others and is part of our highest desires to eat and reproduce.

If you can’t cook, don’t fear, all you need is two to three basic, yummy recipes to impress your date. And if that’s even stretching it, know that having fun in the kitchen can actually just be a great way to show off your personality!

My tip for dating in winter – nurture your innate love of cooking and get creative with how you choose to connect with your dates.

Earlier this year, Bumble launched ‘Interest Badges’, a feature that aims to help the dating community share their personalities on their profiles, enabling them to find more meaningful connections. Cooking has fast become one of the top interests favoured by Australian singles on Bumble with over 60,000 people adding the badge to their profile, and a further 17,000 adding the ‘foodie’ badge. So if you are looking to match with a fellow foodie this winter, update your Interest Badges now.

Chantelle Otten is a Melbourne-based psycho-sexologist who is passionate about empowering people to feel great about their sexual health, self-esteem, communication and education.

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