January 28, 2019
Sexuality Superheroes: Marla Renee Stewart
It’s time to feature another Sexuality Superhero. This week, our Sexuality Superhero is: Marla Renee Stewart. Aside from her work as a sexologist and sex educator, Marla keeps busy by organizing events and conferences which focus on sex education and health. Happy reading!
How did you find yourself working in sexuality?
In college, I found that I was the go-to person for all things sexually-related. I loved studying sexuality and this really enabled me to connect with most people. The one thing that propelled me in this field was the fact that many of my friends were having sex, but weren’t having orgasms and I found myself to be frustrated about this and really wanting to change this; I found it to be a huge problem. I believe that harvesting your sexual energy is one of the best things that you can do, but having an orgasm is truly a gift from the universe. It is so healing in so many different ways and I truly feel that if we have more love and more sex in the world, it would be an incredibly amazing place to be.
What is the best part of the job?
The best part of this career choice is seeing the light bulbs that go off in people’s heads when they’ve discovered something about themselves. Really seeing people feeling empowered and taking control of their sex lives so that they can be a better lover, spouse, and person is truly a gift. Additionally, I love traveling everywhere and speaking to different audiences around the world. That really is a highlight of mine and I hope to do it more often!
What is the most challenging part of the job?
The most challenging part of the job is dealing with people who engage in too much emotional labor without
payment. Sometimes, people don’t know exactly what I do, despite me telling them that I specialize in teaching them seduction, communication, and sex skills. I think people might have a hard time conceptualizing that this kind of job actually exists, so they get excited and then have a ton of questions. I generally point them to my website because it’s obvious that they haven’t read it. I think people don’t realize that doing this kind of work takes a lot of emotional strength and we get encumbered with emails, texts, and phone calls with questions that can be easily solved by going to the website.
What is your most important piece of advice that has the potential to revolutionize relationships?
The most important piece of advice that has the potential to revolutionize relationships is that relationships should be fairly easy. Yes, you might get in a tiff or two with your spouse every once in a while, but overall, your communication should be so strong that navigating the relationship should be relatively painless. When people say that relationships “take work,” then something is amiss. Loving your partner is an action and it shouldn’t take that much effort on your behalf to please your partner or want to please your partner.
What do you do to decompress and take care of yourself given that you spend so much time helping and caring for others?
One motto of mine is “work hard, play harder.” For decompression, I love hanging out and drinking with my friends, I love watching murder and horror films and TV, and I love playing strategy or thinking games with anyone who’s willing to play them with me. I also love to go out dancing, playing basketball (I’m always in a recreational league) and most of all, I love being cuddled up with my wife.
Being a conference organizer is hard work! It takes a whole year of planning and because my business partner, Tia, and I always set out big goals for ourselves, we are always trying to up the ante and be bigger than the previous year. So far, we’ve been able to achieve that! I also would want people to know that being inclusive shouldn’t be that hard. As an organizer, you should always be looking through the lens of many different identities and be empathetic; however, this is hard to do! Especially, if you don’t relate, it can be pretty difficult to be diplomatic sometimes, but that’s the sacrifice you have to make in order to accommodate the communities that are dearest to your heart.
Where can we learn more about your work?
You can learn more about my work on my website, velvetlipsllc.com or sexdownsouth.com, as well as my personal site, marlareneestewart.com. In addition to being a sexologist and sex educator, I also teach at a university and I conduct research and evaluations for non-profit institutions. I’m most proud of my new class which will be following my book, The Gamechanger: Research-based techniques on pleasing the vulva and vagina (title still pending). That should be out in the Spring 2019. I’m also proud to be co-writing a book with Dr. Jess, The Ultimate Guide to Seduction. As always, I will be traveling and presenting at conferences across the country.
Events at the moment:
Feel free to also check out Marla’s advice about seduction on the Sex With Dr. Jess Podcast.
Marla Renee Stewart, MA is a Lecturer at Clayton State University and runs her own sexuality education company, Velvet Lips. She is also a Co-Founder of the Sex Down South Conference and the Sexual Liberation Collective. She has studied human sexuality for more than 18 years and has been featured on a variety of media outlets, as well as spoken to various audiences around the world.