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Better Sex, Deeper Intimacy

I knew she was a kindred spirit.

This past week has been full of excitement as the creator of “Better Sex & Deeper Intimacy” workshop, Naima Singletary, arrived at my house in preparation for this workshop. When I picked her up from the airport, I knew she was a kindred spirit, constantly being guided by the God within her as she’s presenting throughout the States.


Originally from San Francisco (yay!), I knew that our beliefs about sexuality and spirituality were along the same lines. But there’s something about Naima -- her conscious breath-work and her raw attitude forces you to take a look at all of her, fully engulfing your senses and engaging in your own inner dialogue about what she’s bringing to the moment you’re sharing.

How's Your Sex Life These Days?

The day before the workshop, we set up a table at Sevananda and engaged with customers as they came by. Naima captured people’s attention by asking them about their sex lives and questioning them about their intimacy levels. Some people walked right by without batting an eye, but most people were thrilled that someone was asking them about their sex life and a lot of people reported that it could always be better. When questioned about their sex life, some interesting responses were:

“Ha! It doesn’t exist.”

“Well, I’m married, so you know…”

“It’s great! But it could always be better!”

Embracing Our Sex Lives

It was a beautiful thing to see all these people engaging about their sex life. It was clear that some of them needed to talk more about sex lives, so as you can guess, I was grateful when I saw some folks come back the following day for the workshop!

Many had found the workshop via Creative Loafing, via Meetup (yay Sex Scholars!) or by the flyers that were put up in the shop. The social buzz was out and I was contacted by Atlanta’s Rock Station 100.5 to come in and check out the workshop to scope out what we’re all about. We ended up getting a radio spot and Naima quickly conducted a shorter version of her ‘medicinal hug’ with the radio hosts of The Regular Guy Show.

Medicinal Hugs for All

At the workshop, I lovingly introduced Naima and she started by asking everyone their name and why they were there. Most people were curious (as well they should be). After the introductions, she facilitated an exercise around ‘medicinal hugs’ where people were asked to hug a stranger and try to connect to that stranger while getting to know that stranger intuitively through the hug.

After an in-depth discussion about the hugs and those feelings about the hugs, she facilitated an exercise where people got in front of the room and sat in the hot seat. Anyone from the crowd was able to ask anything they wanted to the person in the hot seat and when the asker was satisfied with the person in the hot seat’s answer, they had to respond with “thank you.” Often times, many folks had multiple questions ranging from same-sex interactions to relationship strategies to just being uncomfortable about answering honestly with their sexuality.

Finding Comfort in Discomfort

There’s no question, Naima made people feel uncomfortable. She questioned people’s intention. She raised awareness around race, age and sexuality. She pushed people and if it’s something that you’re not used to, there was a button that was bound to be pushed. She’s brutally honest and completely embodied. When she had reactions to people’s answers or to reactions to what people said, she unapologetically communicated all of her feelings, which were based in her own reality.

Overall, it was an eye-opening experience about the rawness of vulnerability, the need that we have to be intimate, the learning that comes from being uncomfortable and thinking critically about how we navigate life.

Marla Stewart

Marla Renee Stewart, MA is a professional sex, intimacy and relationship coach and sex educator. Not only is she a lecturer at Clayton State University, she is also the co-founder of the Sex Down South Conference and the Sexual Liberation Collective. Gaining her reputation for being "The Sex Architect", she created Velvet Lips to empower people of all ages to embrace, educate and enjoy their sexuality and their sexual lives. She has studied human sexuality for more than 16 years at San Francisco State University and Georgia State University, respectively, and has expert knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. She has published academic articles and continues to do sexuality research. She has conducted workshops at conferences, not-for-profit and private organizations, as well as universities in the Atlanta area. She has been featured on many radio shows, documentaries, books, magazines and has been invited to speak at Universities around the country. She also sits on the board for the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!
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