Shan Boody Is Happy to Be Known As the “Open Relationship Girl”
Shannon Boodram aka Shan Boody, is a woman you won’t be able to forget.
You may know her from BET, MTV, or her new show “Shan Boody is the Perfect Date.” But you probably most likely know her for her amazing channel on YouTube. She’s a sexologist and author whose approach to sexuality, the body, and love is unconventional. She even has her own vibrator out that’s so discreet, you can wear it around your neck and take pleasure wherever you go.
Shan speaks from a place of truth and honesty, which is definitely exemplified in her discussions about open relationships, casual sex, vaginal aesthetics, and more. Her ability to make you feel comfortable about yourself and open others’s minds about things that probably never thought about is admirable.
I had to pleasure of speaking to her and let me tell you, she is dropping some serious gems!
I want to start off by asking you who is Shannon Boodram for those who don’t know you yet?
I would describe myself as sexologist, as an author, and YouTuber.
What made you decide to pursue a career as a sexologist?
Essentially, I saw a niche. So, when I turned 19, I went to school for journalism and then day one of journalism school they say write what you know. And to me, I was really passionate about sexuality and I had a really shitty teen sex life and so I thought to myself I don’t there’s anybody else who looks like me, around my age who’s talking about this thing in a conformed perspective. So, it was really just a matter of me like seeing that there was a hole that needed to be filled.
What were you doing before?
I did track! So, I ran. I did sports. Probably from the age of like nine to 19 really. That’s like all I really thought I would be doing — going to the Olympics and competing professionally. I felt like I was behind actually when I started to work on my craft as a writer and as journalist because I had no experience. It wasn’t until I gave up my scholarship and I came back to school in Canada that I started to think about what else I should be doing with my life.y
How did you get started doing YouTube?
I think YouTube is awesome. It’s like a place where if you work in the beauty area, you have always wait for someone else to say yes to you or someone else to green light your idea. A lot of times you don’t get to work on your ideas, you’re working on someone else’s idea. And on YouTube is a place where you get to be your own CEO and whatever you want to do is what you get to put out and it’s 100% your voice and that can be scary because there’s no else to blame, but also like a really powerful and empowering place and I’m like so grateful to apart of that community.
Have ever thought about teaching a course on sex education at a high school or university or even a course about self-love and embracing your sexuality? And I’m talking about actual real life sex education, not the sugar coated ish that we normally get from school.
I think on my YouTube channel and the content that I make and on media in that regard, I come to this realization really clearly of late too. Like I definitely got into the field knowing how I wanted to share a story and I make that comment all the time when people say, “I want to become a sexologist. Can you help me?” And I’m like I don’t know if I’m the best person to ask for help from because I have a very specific way of that I wanted to practice.
I knew I never wanted to be a college professional or a teacher. I knew I never wanted to work in a pharmacy. And then even in doing the one on one consoling work that I do, while I enjoy it, I definitely like see that as a side thing I do because it’s nice to have a way to connect with people versus this how I want to make my money. And so, for me, telling stories via media or via writing or videos, it’s definitely [how I prefer]. I mean at the end of the day, I’m a never say never person and so I don’t know if in 10 years I may feel totally different, but right now the way I want to provide information is exactly how I’m doing it.
I love how open you are about your life and views on love, sex, the body, and relationships throughout your platform. Was that always so easy for you to do?
Yeah! You know what I talked about this today actually. It’s like all of my entire life, I feel like people have been like “it’s so brave of you to say that.” And it’s like… it feels not great. When I wrote my book Laid, people [were saying] I’m so brave to share my experience, but by the time I shared an experience with you guys, I’ve already talked about it with friends and family, talked about it with that person — gone through the motions. So, I’m at the place now where I’m like ok, I totally get that or I’ve gotten what I wanted out of the situation lesson wise. Now I’m sharing it with somebody so they can start the same process for themselves. I’m never sharing a story or experience or relationship that I’m still… like I don’t know what to do or I don’t know how I feel about something. And I think there’s a big part of the protection of being able to share myself on camera is that I’m always sharing an old version of me. It’s almost like an outdated iPhone Shannon that I’m sharing versus what I’m currently dealing with. I wouldn’t feel as comfortable going through what I’m going through right now on camera until I understood exactly like, “ok, what’s the lesson in all of this.”
I think it can be super dangerous— it’s dangerous for your self-esteem. Like if I’m putting out my relationship style, but I’m not comfortable with it yet then hearing people’s negative comments is like going to sway my opinion or make me second guess myself versus I’m putting it out there because I’m already totally comfortable with it and I already totally embraced it. And now it’s entertainment. It’s not Shannon and like my hopes, dreams being put on a video. It’s like entertainment that can do good for other people, but it already had its purpose for me.
You said in one of your latest YouTube videos that when you wrote your first book, “Laid,” you weren’t really ready to answer the questions of random people that came up to quit yet even though you wrote this book? Do you feel that over the years since, you become more comfortable with interactions such as and more willing to provide answer to them?
For sure! And a big thing for me was like I never for a long time… I started doing sex ed in my teens. I’m now in my 30s and so in my teens I was like I never (or even in my early 20s) I didn’t want to be the sex girl. So, I was like I don’t mind talking about this. I think it’s a good story. I think people can learn from it, but I don’t want to be the sex girl. Like it’s not what I want to be.
So, when people approach me in the street and talk about sex, I’m like ok, cool, but I’m a sex girl you know that right? It wasn’t until my late 20s that I’m like “no, no, I’m the sex girl.” It’s just like a comfort within myself of like embracing the topic. And that’s like why I give a lot of space for other people not be completely open about sex because I wasn’t that person. So, I really can’t judge you because I’m now not that person. But for a long time, I did whatever possible to sort of balance talking about sex while trying to distant myself from it. Where as of now, I look at it all the same and I’m just much happier obviously because of that.
On your YouTube channel, you discuss your open relationship with your partner publicly, which automatically opened the door for everyone’s opinion. Have you received a lot of backlash because of it? If so, how have you been handling it?
My partner is really good at managing criticism and he has a really healthy opinion of it. Even I may say to you “oh, it’s entertainment. I don’t really care.” I’m still somebody who in my normal life, I’m a catty person. So, if somebody in my normal life was to approach me and say something sideways to me, I wouldn’t be the person to “turn the other cheek.” I’m engaging with you — like it’s going to be like a beef thing. So, it took a long time and I’m still sort of doing the balance.
Like this morning actually, someone called my scalp dry and I commented back. And then my partner was like, “why did you feel the need to do that? Like why are you still talking to people like that?” Because I felt really disappointed. “Like I don’t understand.” So, I think that’s been helpful. I mean again it’s like one of those things like I don’t think my scalp is dry and I also don’t think my relationship style is negative or shitty and a place of insecurity and shame. And so, because I don’t think those things like realistically it doesn’t matter what people are going to think.
I was reading somewhere that the average person thinks like 60,00 thoughts per day and 70% of those thoughts are negative and that comes from a place of survival because we have to think in worst case scenarios. Often times people think negatively about other people not because they’re shitty bad people, but just because that’s how our brains are hardwired. I try to take it with a grain of salt. Sometimes it definitely bothers me because some of the comments are like “who do you think you’re talking to bro?” More than anything else. Just like, “who do you think you’re talking to. You’ll never say that to my face. So, what makes you so brave.”
And then it’s just like the audacity because for example, the reason why I don’t do DM or email counseling is because there’s no possible way that I could assess somebody’s situation or give really deep, personal advice based on an email or 140 characters. I need at least an hour to talk to you, to get to know you, to understand you before I would ever feel like I have a place to have an opinion on your life. And so, I think it just bothers me when other people get these like snapshots of who I am because most of the time it’s people who don’t know me well. Who just click on one or two videos and who just wants to say something negative.
My people like you and the people who show up for me are usually the people that I’m like even if we don’t agree with each other, we still have respect for each other and that bothers me when people don’t at least have that.
A lot of people don’t have that and I feel it’s really crucial just to like have that there even if you don’t understand it quit yet.
Yeah, it’s just knowing. It’s the same way I couldn’t stand up here and tell you everybody should be circus performers. The most beautiful, amazing job. And people be like, “I’m not flexible. I don’t enjoy performing.” You have to give to nuances to like the variation of people. And the same when it comes to anything else. People try to push one ideal or one style of relationship or way of thinking as being the gospel. It’s like, “nowhere else in life does this works, so why do you think it’s ok for you.” But it’s a gen. You can’t take it personal. It’s not anything against me and I have to get better at managing. I’m still working on management don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely not telling right now that I’m above it all.
With you announcing your open relationship, it spurred my curiosity of the relationship. So, do you or your partner ever get jealous when see each other with other people. Like how does it work if you don’t mind me asking?
I think that jealousy is a natural… don’t get me wrong, I get jealous sometimes when my partner is with his friends, you know. I get jealous sometimes when my partner is with his family members. I’m like, “oh, why you don’t treat me that way or you didn’t get me this or you don’t laugh that much when you’re around me?” I get jealous when my friends are hanging out with other friends.
I had a situation once where I introduced two friends together and then now they’re like super close friends. Like they go out, they don’t invite me. I’m jealous of that. Jealousy is a very natural human emotion and in everywhere else in life we manage it, but when it comes to relationships we feel like we don’t have to — and jealousy would destroy your work life, it would destroy your friendships, it would destroy your family if you let yourself run wild with that, but in relationships that doesn’t apply. I’m allowed to be jealous. I don’t think it’s any different. I manage it the same way. Obviously, it’s harder because there’s an emotional attachment you know in a different way.
I had this conversation — I have this video coming out [which is out already on YouTube] about women who like casual sex and I had a group of six different women just talk about their experiences and asked them this question, “do you ever feel that soul tie?” Because a lot of people say that like “oh, when you have sex with someone, you have a soul tied to them.” I’m like, “does that feel true to you guys?” And they’re like, “No. I get it. There are times that after sex or after experience I may feel a connection, but if I just sit on something for 72 hours and wait for that feeling to subside when I can make a logical decision, I usually you know feel the way I originally felt.” And I’m like that’s so true. Like a lot of things, we may have a human reaction or a natural reaction or an emotional response to something, but if you just gave yourself 48 hours you can see things from a more balance perspective.
So, you have to be a victim to your emotions. You don’t have to be a victim to your jealousy in your relationship. I love that our relationship style challenges us in that way and I think it’s really healthy.
I know that you stated you were known as the “sex girl” when you released your book “Laid.” Are people now seeing you as the “open relationship girl” or the person to go to about this?
I mean I hope so! It’ll be nice. I think it’s definitely one of those things too, where myself and my partner because it’s like… to be like super honest, I think he and I are not high novelty seekers. It’s not like the open relationship element was created because both of us have super high sex drives for new people, so we needed to find a way to do that without cheating. It’s more like I don’t want the additional rules and I’d rather just make my own decisions. At the end of the day, neither person is needing to go out and find a new person every week. It may happen once every ten years. It may happen once every year. It’s not like I’m dealing with that element constantly in my relationship style. I think what I definitely want to be a voice for is people who say like “hey, you don’t have to control someone to prove that you love somebody.” And there’s a lot more freedom that can come from this style of relationship of letting people be their authentic selves and then judging them based off their decision rather than trying to skew or force or manage their decisions, so you don’t have to feel or judge or manage your own emotion.
So, I mean, I like it. I like when people ask questions about it. I think it sparks a different interest, a different thought process in people’s minds. So, I would definitely be proud to be someone that people thought of as a go-to to talk about it.
What advice would you give to those who feel discouraged or afraid to pursue something that is often looked down upon such as your line of work?
It’s a very competitive world and it gets harder and harder — especially in a global market, to find a space for yourself and sometimes you have to look at the spaces that aren’t occupied, you know. Yes, a part of me would love to be known. Like Lilly Singh has an amazing career. She’s just like everyone’s sweetheart, her parents must be so proud, she never swears, she never talks about sex. She’s such like a pure, funny, good hearted pro woman and that’s a great space to be. Are there a lot spaces for people like that? Probably not. Ideally, would we all somewhat like to be that? Maybe. Maybe not though, because I’m kind of a shit disturber in my natural life and this kind of field of work really suits me. But I think you have to look at it like, “ok, what am I good at and where are people not doing this thing I’m good at? And how can I do this thing in a way that people haven’t seen before?” So, that just increases your chance at success.
And I always describe myself as I’m definitely not a big YouTuber — like I’m probably very small. A lot of the time when I’m in a room with other people or other opportunities, I’m definitely the smallest YouTuber. Like I have a show on this platform called Fullscreen and they signed I think like 10 or 15 influencers to do their own show and by far everybody else is in the millions, right and I have 250,000 [followers], but I think because my topic is niche and speaking from a place that’s not saturated — people see a need for my voice and so I get invited into rooms, where people whose topics are a bit more common have to have achieved a lot more than I did. So, I look at it like oh, there’s definitely benefits to taking the road less traveled. Even though it can feel dark or it can feel it’s very judgmental or less supported. The benefits to me greatly outweigh that.
So, I was wondering about your show on Fullscreen, “Shan Boody Is Your Perfect Date.” Are you putting it on the back burner for now or is that just it?
So, we finished season one and that in itself has been a dream come true for me because I come from traditional media and I’ve done a lot of pilots and auditioning to get a season — greenlit is a massive deal, so I’m proud of that. And the show performed really, really well — better than they expected and I give that 100% credit to my supporters and people who showed up for me and watched it. That just like again, going back to the comment I made about me being one of the smaller influencers that they had. They said that I drastically outperformed what they thought I would in terms of ratings, and so that only puts me in a better position for season two. I don’t know a 100% about that yet, but nonetheless, it was successful and I got to do something amazing, I was really proud of the product, and people really enjoyed it. Hopefully, I get to do it again!
I love it! I don’t know, I always felt like you should go into acting because on your YouTube, you’re acting sort of in some of your videos and I feel like you’re a good actress. I don’t know if that’s anything you want to do maybe?
You know actually, I’m going to take my YouTube channel in a different direction and I want to start hiring actors. I want to start hiring people to act out stuff, but it’s just not my passion. It’s funny because my management company — it’s a great testament to why I don’t want to do acting — it’s just like type casting. Did you see on Twitter today Kal Penn put out a bunch of scripts that he has gotten over his career and they were all like super racist Indian snake charmer roles? And a woman who looks like me gets put into the like dumb, bimbo and uneducated — just like that stupid video girl role.
So, my management company was like “oh, this NBA player is doing a pilot and they identify you as someone they want to audition for this role.” And then I was like, “Listen, if it’s going to be any kind of basic bitch situation, I don’t want it. He was like “I don’t really know what it is.” Mind you, the casting producer emailed me and literally girl, the role said “camel toe girl.” And I had to write her and say, “Is your intention for me to audition for the camel toe girl part?” Just so you can hear yourself out loud, you what I mean? My manager was like “I’m so sorry. They told me you declined. I don’t know why they still wrote you.” But that’s like why I’m not attracted to that field. I’m really happy with what I’m doing and the way I get to do it. I have a lot respect for people who take the classes and take the craft seriously. So, I’d rather hire them then trying to be them. But who knows, I never say never.
Do you have anything new happening — upcoming projects or collabs that you can tell me about?
Yeah, definitely. There’s a video on my channel called “I’m Obsessed with Him — Help” and it is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a scripted beginning of a story and then it goes into a scientific explanation. And this is basically the idea of the book “Laid.” That’s what “Laid” is. So that’s me going back, like my original purpose. I really wanted to do it and I was trying to pitch it around. And I was talking about it to Jared (partner) recently and he was like “why don’t you do it for yourself? Why don’t you take the funding from some of the things you’re doing that are for other people’s platform, for ads, or promos that you’re doing and like take that and reinvest and do the kind of content you want?” And I was like “lightbulb!” Why aren’t I making my YouTube channel my best content. So, that’s what I’m really excited about refocusing on.
Hopefully, starting season two of my other show. I’m doing a pilot presentation with MTV— pilot presentations mean nothing. I’ve done seven pilots in my life, so who knows if that goes anywhere, which is cool. I’m always in great conversations. Like tomorrow, I’m going to this health care foundation and doing something with the gala they’re having. Then next week, I’m going to DC to talk on a panel about teenage pregnancy. And then I have like the whole Vitcom, Playlist Live, and all the YouTube conventions I have coming up at the end of the year. Then I’m going to Toronto to go speak.
Ah my life is amazing! I’m really grateful. I talk about sex wherever I possibly can. I very rarely say no and I’ve been really happy with that formula.
Photos by Reesee Zigga Zagga
And while you’re at it, click below to view her latest YouTube video: