T.O.’s own love expert Shan Boodram on going from friends with benefits to married with kids

An expert on all things intimacy, sex and relationships, Toronto-born sexologist Shan Boodram has spent her career helping other people figure out how to love. Whether it’s as an intimacy expert on Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle, on her podcast Lovers and Friends, through her 2019 best-selling book The Game of Desire or through candid posts to her more than half a million followers on Instagram, Shan Boodram has explored just about every kind of relationship out there. So it’s no surprise that her relationship with her husband, Jared Brady, embodies all the healthiest qualities of love. She shared the details of how they evolved from friends with benefits to married with two kids.

How they met

A friend of mine was kind of dating comedian Affion Crockett, and he invited her to a party on a night that I happened to be with her and … Jared happened to be the host of this party. I will say this is the night I met Jared, but since he doesn’t remember meeting me that night, I guess for him we met a year later through Instagram.

The first date

This is a hard-to-answer question because Jared and I started as friends with benefits, so we had a lot of, “Do you want to get food?” after moments that I never thought of like dates. When I asked him this question [about our first date], he said a hike, so I think we should go with that, because that would have been an intentional outing. Our first meetup was at my studio apartment. When he came over, I was playing music and running art on my projector. The night ended with us watching Ted Talks then making it to second or third base.

The courtship

Every single part of my relationship with Jared has been equally as lovely and easy — maybe easy isn’t the right word all the time, but truly logical, like, “Yeah, this makes sense.” Our courtship was us learning that we had so much to learn and gain from one another through slow, mutual, gradual, reciprocal acts of intimacy. It went from just sex, to sex and watering each other’s plants when one person was out of town, to hanging with each other’s friends, to attending events together when we couldn’t find anyone else, to movies, to helping each other throw out furniture after a bed bug infestation … just little life things that showed up and gave opportunities for us to prove we were invested in being there for each other.

The proposal

I pressured the hell out of Jared for half a year, and then one day he picked me up from the airport and brought me home to a scavenger hunt that ended in our apartment that he’d filled with balloons, flowers and my favourite candles.

The marriage and honeymoon

Dec. 23, 2018, we rented a house in Fallbrook, California, invited 40 people we deeply enjoyed who knew us as a couple and got married on a hill in front of the most gorgeous sunset. We went to Pineapple Villas in Costa Rica for our honeymoon. It was the best. We talk about it fondly constantly.

The kids

Two daughters: Ryu and Xya!

Balancing careers and marriage

We work together, so balance isn’t the right word — maybe flow. We flow by being equal partners in love, but in business it’s all based on who can do something the best, and that’s how we divvy up tasks. We’ve been working together since 2017, so we have gotten way way way better at this.

The secret to success

There is nothing more important than us liking each other as people, and we work our ass off to maintain that. I pay very, very close attention to what pisses Jared off, and I try to not do those things.

The future

Kids are growing healthy and happily, careers as well, community, exploration, expansion, resilience … I can’t see it, but I can feel it and it feels like, “Yes, this is what life is about.”

For Shan Boodram’s Valentine’s Day advice, click here. 

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