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So You Want to Work in the Sex Industry?

There's no one way to do it.

Marla Renee Stewart speaking about sex education at a movie replaying of Pleasantville.
Marla speaking on stage

Ever since my Netflix debut on Trigger Warning with Killer Mike, I’ve been getting messages from people who want to do the work that I do. The fact is, I created the work that I do because of the formal and informal education that I’ve received over the years. There is no one way to do sexuality work. There are many different avenues to explore, so it’s a matter of targeting what you want to do and honing what your strengths are.

My strengths lie in seduction, communication, sex skills, and ultimately, building up people’s sexual confidence in themselves. We’re all good, but we can always be better. For anyone who says that they don’t need advice in their sex life, they are dead wrong; even the most educated needs education about something. We don’t all know everything and it would be ridiculous to claim so.

I have learned a lot through academic institutions, and I have learned a lot on my own. As an entrepreneur, I’m constantly dedicating my life to bettering my business, so if you’re going to go that route, remember, it takes time, dedication, patience, and persistence.

However, if you’re interested in getting involved in this type of work, you need to go through all the who, what, where, why, and how questions and be specific on the type of work you want to do. To get into this work here are the questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. What do you want to do to help people? Do you want to counsel them? Do you want to teach them skills? Do you want to study sex? There are so many pathways in doing this work, so it’s just a matter of what your strengths are and how these strengths can be used to help the folks that need your help. You may want to do all these things, but if you’re just starting, you need to focus on one of these first. For instance, when I first started as an undergrad, I started doing psychological sex research. Having this experience helped me to navigate how I want to help people; not just reporting on what people do. However, now that I know what people do, I can use that skill any time that I wish to do sex research.

  2. How do you want to go about helping people? Do you want to want to teach them hands-on and/or virtually? As we move into spending more and more time on our technological devices, this is something to consider seriously. You also need to think about what media outlets you can engage in. Remember, SESTA/FOSTA has had a great impact on folks doing sexuality work.

  3. When would you like to get this all accomplished? Remember, it could take about 5 years for you to hone in on what you really want to do and how you want to go about it. There are many certification programs that aren’t as long as academic institutions and are considerably cheaper. I suggest making a 3- or 5-year plan to hoard as much information as you possibly can to get the results that you want.

  4. Who do you want to study with/under? Do you want to intern? Do you want to join forces with someone? Do you want to build your own business? Do you want to do this through a university or through a certification program? In addition, if you want to build your brand/business, you will also need to study business and marketing, as well. You will need to consider how much money and time you are willing to invest in your passion.

  5. What population would you like to help? Some of us want to help everyone, while some of us focus on survivors of trauma and/or marginalized communities. Defining who you want as your audience will be helpful as you define the scope of work that you want to do. Do you only want to teach swingers about etiquette or do you want to teach wannabe kinksters? The possibilities are endless and really honing in on your populations will be beneficial for your branding.

These are just a few of the questions that you need to be concerned about when it comes to getting into this field. In the meantime, I suggest going to conferences, such as Sex Down South, to really help you with the type of educators that are versed in diverse populations.

Remember, there’s no one path to do one thing; there are several different paths to do one or many things. Choose the path that fills you with the most joy.

Good luck on your sexual journey and when you build your brand up, hit me up for a collaboration!

It's time to be sexcessful! xo, marla

Originally published here. Also published here

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