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Sex According to the Basic Emotions

What if we started to process our sex lives based on our core emotions?

I don’t know if you’re a fan of the Black Mirror series (on Netflix), but if you aren’t, you should be! The series is absolutely fantastic and deals with a lot of social commentary about what the future might hold for us as human beings. Most of the episodes hit home, but the “Black Museum” episode really got to me.

One of the stories has to do with a mom living in the subconscious of, first, her husband, and then in a stuffed toy monkey. She could only convey two emotions, which basically equated to “happy” = “yes” and “not happy” = “no” where the monkey would say, “monkey loves you” for yes/happy and “monkey needs a hug” for no/not happy. It turns out that the experiment they were doing turned out to be unethical because people need to express more than just two emotions.

Which got me to thinking…

How do we look at sex when it comes to our different emotions?

Of course there are different theorists that believe in a variety of how many basic emotions we have, but for the most part, most people agree that we have eight basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation.

A lot of us don’t really think in-depth about our sexuality and our sexual relationships based on these emotions, so I challenge you to answer these questions, expand on your answers (think about why you think the way you do and how you would change it, if necessary) and see if you learn something new about yourself in the process!


What makes you happy when it comes to sex? What do you imagine sexual ecstasy to feel like? How do you achieve serenity in your sex life and/or in your relationships? What do you love about your sexuality and your sex life?


How do you get to trust someone sexually? What do you admire about your sex life? How does consent and acceptance of consent play a role in your life? What are the things that you are willing to submit to when it comes to sex life?


What scares you about your sex life? What are you most afraid of in your sex life? What worries you when it comes to your sex life? What do you wonder about when it comes to your sex life?


What shocks you about your sex life? What amazes you about your sex life? What distracts you when it comes to your sex life? What do you disapprove of when it comes to your sex life?


Is there something that depresses you in your sex life? What troubles you about your sex life? What kinds of things do you reflect on in your sex life? What do you feel guilty about when it comes to your sex life?


What repulses you when it comes to sex? What or whom do you despise when it comes to your sexuality? What bores you in your sex life? What is disgraceful about your sex life?


What makes you mad when it comes to your sex life? What makes you flip into a rage when it comes to your sex life? What are you annoyed by when it comes to your sex life? What makes you aggressive when it comes to sex?


What makes you look forward to having sex? What captures your attention when it comes to sex? What are you interested in when it comes to your sex life? What brings you hope when it comes to your sex life?

Some of these, you might find hard to process. Some of these may come really easy to you. The best thing about these questions is that it helps you to get to know yourself and know your feelings about different emotions when it comes to your sex life. It will help you reflect back on some memories where you might have felt these emotions and learned that you have liked them or not. For the most part, it will help you define your desires, which is so necessary when we’re thinking about having a healthy and happy sex and love lives. Cheers to your sexual success!

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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