Reality dating shows can be...overwhelming, but Brenden Durell, Too Hot To Handle's intimacy coach, knows how to keep contestants on track, even when it seems next to impossible.
Durrell chats with My Imperfect Life to discuss everything from what to expect from Too Hot To Handle season 5, premiering on Friday, July 14, to the best dating and relationship advice he's learned from working on the show.
An intimacy expert, coach, mentor, and tantra guide Brenden Durell put his expertise to good use while mentoring contestants on Netflix's Too Hot To Handle. A former baseball player, Brendan also works with professional athletes, celebrities and leaders who are ready to dig deep. His advice has been featured in many publications, including Men’s Health, Tantra, and Breathwork.
Brenden Durell, 'THTH' intimacy coach, talks to My Imperfect Life
MIL: Tell us about Too Hot To Handle season 5! What can fans expect?
Brenden Durell: I feel like all the seasons have been amazing, all the groups have been amazing. This season 5 crew, I can see a Hollywood billboard. They're really bright and really eccentric. Personally, [I've had] some of my best workshops in this season. I can't spill the beans on which theme it is, but I will say that there were some amazing breakthroughs.
MIL: What is something that surprised you this season? Any unexpected moments?
BD: There were a few matches within the retreat that I was like, "I didn't see them actually getting together and it working out." So there are definitely some wildcard pairings that I was like, "Oh wow." And then, a lot of potential grew from that. I really saw them extend themselves this season. There were a lot of brave contestants going for pairings that maybe they wouldn't do outside of the retreat.
MIL: What is the key piece of advice you give to contestants, regardless of the season?
BD: Slow down. Don't rush. They're in a retreat, a celibacy retreat, and they have a lot of time to do not a lot of things. Slow down, ask questions, get to know somebody, because on the outside world, outside of the retreat, they're so fast. It's like, "Oh beautiful person, I wanna go have sex with them. I wanna take them here, and this and that." In this space, they get to slow down and be like, "Hey, actually, what's your last name?"
MIL: Reality TV can be challenging, especially when it comes to dating shows. How do you keep your mental health in check while on these types of shows?
BD: I want to say, the production company and the standards it has and that Netflix has, they do a really good job with nurturing the mental health of the contestants.
With that being said, I feel like it's really important for reality TV show contestants, at large, but specifically on dating, to have a really strong community. Have supportive friends, supportive family, have a therapist and create an ecosystem around you so that when the show is done and hits are made, you can be prepared for anything.
MIL: What is the biggest lesson you learned about intimacy and well-being while participating in this Netflix series?
BD: One of the biggest lessons [I learned] by listening and observing and by looking at my workshops was how important it is to know yourself a little bit and know what pushes you or what doesn't push you, to be aware of things that might make you uncomfortable. Because if things make you uncomfortable, more than likely on reality TV, they're going to come out. You're going to have to be so comfortable with who you are as a person. You can be really solid in your ideas and know what your negotiables are.
MIL: How do you help people get to that comfortable place?
BD: Anyone that comes on reality TV knows that they have to understand that there's always going to be a polarity; there's gonna be another side to the glory and fame that they're going to get. There might be a space where you're edited where you don't look like the best version of yourself, and you have to be in a space where you accept that because they're not going to pull the show off the networks. There's always a risk involved. And on the show, in the realms of intimacy and romance, I feel like just, with the concept of slowing down, it gives them a space to set in and let things happen around them and not be so impulsive.
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MIL: What is something fans who watch the series might be surprised to learn? What don't they see on camera?
BD: Speaking from my experience, a lot of people think I create the workshops from scratch but they have a workshop team that creates the concepts and then I'm there to help deliver the message through the stuff that they chose. And we work on it as a team, which I really love. But I really love it because it allows me to tap deeper into my creativity while I deliver a message that's best going to support the show and the storyline going forward.
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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