Maintaining a long-term, loving, and satisfying sexual relationship is no easy feat. It requires attention and care. This newsletter delves into common pitfalls that disrupt loving connections.

Have you ever hesitated to try again because you felt like you couldn’t get it right? Or refrained from opening up to your partner because you felt unmet, unseen, or unheard?

These feelings often underlie a lack of desire or fulfillment in the bedroom, manifesting as contraction, fear, disempowerment, or defensiveness.

One approach Thomas and I have found helpful in navigating sexual difficulties is committing to no criticism in the bedroom. We prioritize building each other up and honoring the vulnerability required to express our seductive, playful, passionate selves in an intimate space.

Of course, this doesn’t mean ignoring discomfort or dislikes. It’s crucial to communicate desires and boundaries.

But how can we communicate in a way that doesn’t hinder our partner’s pleasure?

Many couples fear spoiling the mood by offering suggestions during sex. Our culture often perpetuates the belief that we should instinctively know what our partner wants. However, lovemaking is a collaborative act of co-creation, requiring open communication and flexibility to adapt to each moment’s nuances.

If you’ve never talked about your sex life, one way to begin is by discussing the experience afterward, sharing three things you enjoyed and asking your partner the same.

Approach feedback positively, focusing on what’s going well before suggesting adjustments. Instead of saying “I don’t like that,” offer guidance like, “I love that soft touch; now would you try stroking in a circular motion?”

Consider a case we’re currently working on: a man yearning to reconnect with his wife intimately after seven years of no more than hugs and kisses. Despite once having a satisfactory sex life, they drifted apart after having children. Now, he feels immense pressure, as any attempt at intimacy is met with criticism. How do you think this affects his desire for intimacy?

Similarly, another woman shared her experience of being pushed away and labeled “over-sexual” when initiating sex. Criticizing our partner’s desire can stifle passion and freedom, inhibiting pleasure.

Instead, let’s find something to affirm: “I love your desire; you look incredibly sexy right now. Unfortunately, I have a work meeting, so let’s plan for tomorrow.” Rather than making our partners wrong for their desires, celebrate them and suggest a better time.

Keep the flame alive with texts, notes, and flirting until you can be together.

You might believe that people should be able to handle criticism, but research by relationship expert John Gottman suggests otherwise. His findings indicate that the ratio of one negative remark to five positive comments and interactions predicts relationship happiness.

Have you ever noticed how, even in the absence of explicit criticism, we might perceive it in a pause, tone, or “that look?” We sometimes laugh at the absurdities of what we make up from our partner’s unsaid expressions. Ya gotta laugh.

Shame and self-judgment are often our worst enemies.

If we’re primed to expect criticism, we’ll find it, even in silence.

When we lead with love and acceptance, criticism has less bite for ourselves and for life.

As we navigate the complexities of intimacy, let’s remember the transformative power of love and understanding. By prioritizing open communication, celebrating desire, and fostering a supportive environment, we can cultivate deeper connections and enriching sexual experiences with our partners. Let’s embrace each moment with openness and compassion, knowing that in love, there is endless potential for growth and fulfillment.

Sending love,

Sara & Thomas (SatchiJo) Stout

We had the pleasure of being guests on the Super States: Practices of TRANCE-formation Podcast hosted by Joshua Peters.

In this episode, titled “Exploring Tantra for Personal Growth with Sara and Thomas Stout,” we delved into the transformative practices of Tantra and its profound potential for personal growth.

You can listen to the podcast episode here:

 

During our conversation with Joshua, we covered a range of topics that can offer valuable insights into Tantra and its benefits:

  • Understanding the essence of Tantra and its principles
  • Exploring SkyDancing Tantra and its unique approach
  • Discovering the three keys to ecstasy within Tantra
  • Unveiling the two fundamental tools of Tantra practice
  • Exploring how Tantra strengthens trust on multiple levels
  • Learning ways to initiate body-based practices for personal growth
  • Simple practices that invite more aliveness into your life
  • Exploring Tantra both individually and within the context of partnership
  • Guidance on determining if Tantra aligns with your personal journey

We believe this podcast episode serves as a valuable overview of Tantra for those curious about its potential.

Want to know a Super Hot Turn-On?
One of the hottest and most long-standing turn-ons – is being met.

The first time Thomas and I met each other, I felt that he was too intense. I lacked confidence and thought I would not stand up for what was important to me. Our balance was off.

The opposite, having a partner who was a pushover, was not satisfying either. Being with someone who was grounded in their truth and had enough backbone to stand up to me was a turn-on. 

With my growing confidence and force as a woman, I didn’t want to worry about overshadowing my partner or in any way, needing to stay small.

I wanted someone who could handle all of me, my crazy ideas, my full expression and passion, and expand and grow with me.

It wasn’t until five years after our original meeting, when our paths crossed again that I loved how Thomas “met me.” I could be big, strong, passionate, expressive, and he didn’t get small and crumble.

And, it’s hard to admit, but I appreciated that he didn’t put up with my shit, like when I was over-controlling (don’t tell him). Or when I undermined my potential.

He met me:
Emotionally:
• Lovingly supported me to express myself honestly, vulnerably, and accountably.
• When we began to sweat the small stuff, he’d lighten the mood. Or if I’d try to minimize something important, Thomas would kindly listen for the deeper truth.

Intellectually:
• Inspired new thoughts and continued personal growth.

Spirituality:
• Respectfully challenged me to believe in myself.
• Considered higher consciousness and the greater good.

Physically and sexually:
• Playfully wrestled with me, often ending in a passionate love fest.
• Sensitively moved us beyond mediocrity and kept us out of ruts.
• Reliably held me in his masculine power, allowing me to surrender into receptivity.

Being met balances power and surrender, yang and yin.

How do you like to be met?
Do you like slow, gentle caresses?
Or do you like to be ravished intensely and feel the strength of your lover?
And possibly a combination of softness and firmness turns you on.

Most of us need to feel met to feel passion. We want to feel our partner responds to our level of intensity and challenges us.

After 35 years together, I still love feeling the strength of Thomas’ body against me, his grip that matches my heat.

From Thomas’ side, he says,
“When I start to go down a rabbit hole, Sara listens to my struggle but doesn’t go down with me.

When we feel secure in our relationship, we have more intense play. She may not go skydiving with me, but she’s there as a support, watching and cheering me on.”

How are you meeting yourself?

Are you communicating your range of needs in your life?

As we reflect upon our recent weekend retreat, The Art of Loving: An Introduction to SkyDancing Tantra, we are deeply moved by the authenticity that permeated our time together. It warms our hearts to know that our students appreciated our commitment to authenticity. We didn’t expect that acknowledgment since it’s just who we are – a value that lies at the core of our shared journey.

Authenticity is the art of living without masks or pretenses, allowing our true selves to shine forth in all our rawness and vulnerability. It’s about embracing our humanness—the messy, imperfect, and beautifully flawed aspects of who we are—and finding beauty and strength in our authenticity.

Throughout our retreat and beyond, we’ve witnessed the transformative power of authenticity.

It’s in the moments of shared laughter and tears, the honest conversations that flow from the depths of our souls, and the genuine connections that form when we show up as our true selves.

In a world that often prizes perfection and conformity, authenticity is a radical act of self-love and self-acceptance. It’s about owning our stories, embracing our uniqueness, and finding liberation in our truth.

Authenticity is not about being unfiltered and rude.

Self-expression without sensitivity of impact is reactive and unaligned with your soul’s truth.

Authenticity isn’t always easy. It requires courage to show up as we are, even when it feels uncomfortable or vulnerable. But in embracing our authenticity, we create space for deeper connections, meaningful experiences, and profound growth.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found so much freedom, space, expansion, love, and acceptance, which allowed me to expand my love with myself and my partner. Thank you.“   Marc

Let’s welcome authenticity as the norm, inviting voices and expressions of our uniqueness.

It begins with each of us welcoming our contrary and unexpressed selves to be present. In this moment, the question that we inquire – What is my authentic self now?

What are you waiting for?

The right moment, a sign, a companion, enough money, free time, or to not feel nervous?

Waiting is one of the quickest paths to regret. 

During our recent conversation on our tandem bike (where we often appreciate our life and each other the most), I told Thomas that I feel no regrets with him. That is not an easy state to achieve together. It takes a lot of intention and coordination of multiple desires.

Of course, like any long-term relationship, there are still harsh tones and words I wish I hadn’t said or affections I wish I had expressed, but primarily, my hopes and dreams feel fulfilled. There are no looming unmet needs.

Living fully in the moment is an essential tool for a happy life. 

For many years, we could not have said we were living without regrets.

It was easier to focus on why I couldn’t do or have something rather than be living as much as possible. When I thought I was waiting for more money and more free time, what I was waiting for – was to trust life. I didn’t believe in abundance or that I deserved to receive what I wanted.

Tantra helped me listen to my desires and dreams and live in a state of trust and abundance. I could also access the feeling of joy and pleasure around me and within me throughout my day.

I wasn’t waiting for something outside myself to make me happy.

This week, as I recoat our wooden kitchen counter, I am struck by how much I enjoy the golden color and glistening grain. My fingers in the soil weeding the flower bed feels so nourishing. I pause and appreciate all the greens, yellows, and colorful leaves just budding.

We know it can feel like we’re waiting for our time to travel or do what we want when our children or work can be consuming. But even with a busy schedule, there are choices for fulfillment.

Thomas has been my best teacher for making time for pleasure. When we had little babies, I was up to my elbows in diapers and didn’t think I had time for myself, he persuaded me to take a night off each week to take an art class. Coming home happy and excited gave me energy for the rest of the week. And for him.

Having future dreams and intentions doesn’t mean you are waiting. It means focusing on what you have and trusting that joy will happen or can happen as it becomes more important than our current choices. Thomas wants to work less so he can bike and relax more. I’d love to have more time for writing and art.

Is it time to no longer wait?

Can the answer be Now?

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and not have lived. 

“The one that can not do something is not the real you.”

~ Margot Anand

 

Carpe diem ~ Seize the moment.

By Sara Stout

In most Tantra programs, there are opportunities for pleasure, fun, community, and personal growth.

What makes SkyDancing® Tantra stand out?

SkyDancing Tantra supports higher, conscious living from which a sense of freedom and full self-expression flourishes. Some Tantra schools have a reputation for wildness and hedonistic activities. Others are meditative and dismiss the body. SkyDancing supports the body and consciousness. Freedom without consciousness can lead to harmful choices. When one develops tools of awareness beyond the mind, they are less likely to compromise their boundaries but instead, stay on their truly aligned path and find their grounded freedom and ecstasy.

People love Margot Anand and her books. Margot is world-renowned author and teacher who brought Tantra to the west and has made it accessible to everyone through her step-by-step methods. It’s a gift to receive Margot’s transmissions through SkyDancing teachers.

SkyDancing Tantra is a well-established Institute, supporting students for over 32 years. It teaches ancient Tantric practices and incorporates modern-day cultural and psychological considerations.

People trust SkyDancing Tantra for its high ethical integrity. 
In the world of programs on sexuality and spirituality, it is tragic how many other institutes have received reports of abuse of power and sexual violations, SkyDancing Tantra Institutes are highly respected and trusted around the world. And the institute continues learning the most current trauma-informed practices and refines its policies as needed.

When people want maturity, they appreciate the depth of teaching and accessibility for all ages and diversity.

Spirituality is supported on this path of awakening.
SkyDancing Tantra invites individual expression of spirituality and holds reverence for all of life and human existence. Oneness is the basic principle and through awareness and vitality one awakens to wholeness and a non-separate sense of self.

All relationship configurations are supported. 
Whether wanting to dive deep into profound intimacy as a couple or explore the expansion of self, alone or with others, all are welcome.

Feel the quality of heart-centered presence with SkyDancing Tantra. It is possible to experience profound acceptance and love more than you imagine.

Teachers receive extensive training for over three years and maintain their ongoing personal practice.

There are many reasons why SkyDancing Tantra is recognized at one of the premier Tantra Institutes. If you have any questions about the Institute the program, we welcome curiosity.

I have a very competitive spirit, coming from an athletic family, and especially trying to keep up with my three brothers. But this weekend, when my dad said I was “the best,” I had mixed feelings. First, I felt a gentle acknowledgment, followed by a wish that we were all better.

How have you told your loved ones that you love them?

My dad, Geno, has been going to a lot of funerals, and to his surprise, he often hears the positive impact he has had on the family’s lives as their neighbor, teacher, coach, or community activist.

Funerals are often the time when we acknowledge those that have passed. Why do we wait until they are gone to tell them what they mean to us?

Last week during one of my restless nights, I started thinking about what I love about my dad.

He has been a leader in his community, not a follower. Especially in the last ten years, he’s boldly taken a stand, been regularly published writing to the editor, and marched for months protesting for “Black Lives Matter.” He demonstrates that any discomfort he feels is worth getting his message out for the greater good.

His tall, thin stature, deep voice, and flair for fashion commands notice and respect. With the help of his daily exercises and stretches, you’d never guess he’s 88.

My dad’s desire to be attractive and manage his image was difficult for me when he wasn’t always kind about my weight or scraggly hair.

A redeeming factor is that I can tell him what upsets me. I appreciate that he is open to hearing from me. He listens, asks questions, apologizes (if appropriate), and is accountable. As a couples therapist, I know we all make mistakes and do things that hurt our loved ones. It’s how they make corrections and respond to confrontations that speaks to their character.

If actions speak louder than words, my dad has supported the underprivileged, racial diversity, fought for equality and humanitarianism.

My dad also tried to provide athletic opportunities for me and the girls in my school when they were limited. During my woodworking shop class, I made a laminated cutting board. It was his dad, my Grandpa, who said, “I didn’t know girls could do that.”

It’s one thing to say girls should have equal rights. It’s another thing to participate in historically traditional “women’s chores,” cooking, cleaning the house, laundry, and parenting. In so many ways, I can see that my dad has been such a support and inspiration.

Thomas woke up hearing my sniffles. “Are you okay?” he asked. “I love my dad so much,” I softly said.

I was excited to tell my dad and was glad we were together over the weekend. When I told him, he was touched. Exclaiming it was almost too much to take in.

When we reflected that we’re not that good at telling each other what we love, he said, “you’re the best.”

I wish we were all better. With Tantra, I have felt more connected to love and more comfortable speaking my feelings.

And lastly, another thing I love about my dad is his humor, but don’t tell him. He is a very punny guy.

 

By Sara Biewen Stout

Thomas and I were a bit giddy with anticipation for what we were calling our 10th Honeymoon, a getaway in the Czech Republic and the beautiful city of Prague.

Our tantalizing excitement died quickly when on the first day, Thomas got food poisoning and became more intimate with the porcelain bowl than with me. I ventured to art museums and toured the historical sites on my own. That is when I was awake and upright instead of horizontal and goofy-headed from jet lag.

After the food poisoning and sleepiness subsided, we individually began wrestling with old personal demons. We felt more like we were in service as emotional support animals than intimates. There is an art to standing beside our loved one when they are in pain and trying not to fix it. “I love you, and can you get over this so we can get on with getting it on?

Just as our desire for each other began to sync, our health sunk. Lots of aches, fatigue, congestion, coughing, and sweats. The diagnosis came as “Covid.” We had no interest in touch even though we were close together 24/7.

We isolated ourselves in a farmhouse outside of Prague. The symptoms were similar to mild flu, so we tried to get outside for fresh air when we had the energy. The colorful spring blossoms brightened our day.

We laughed about trying to maintain some minimal level of attraction and not get tired of too much of each other. It’s funny that when we’re camping, grisly facial hair growth and manly smells from an active day can be a turn-on for me. Reduced hygiene during sickness, not so much. I’m sure I was no Goddess of Delight.

My business coach told me this week that the time that you need positive thinking the most is running a business. I would argue that it is a long-term relationship. Focusing on the positive, what you love about your partner, is tested over and over.

Even if we were hot for each other, what is it about European beds that even when you’re given a luxurious king-sized bed, they give you two single duvet/comforters? Are they trying to maintain some degree of separation?

We can’t dive underneath the sheets together. First of all, there is no top sheet. And second, we have to manage our movements to not create a gap and have our knee, ass, or some other body part poke out and get cold.


At least we aren’t accusing each other of hogging all the covers. It becomes a game of cooperation with both of us trying to maintain enough overlap to stay warm and not too much to have two thick layers on us and overheat.

The silver lining that shone through during this non-erotic getaway was moments of emotional vulnerability. We so appreciated how each of us listened when the other was hurting. We paused to excavate our conversations during points of tension. I’m not sure that we cleared any deep abscess, but the attention we shared during the exploration was healing.

Ironically, even though we didn’t have our typical romantic time away, something was attractive and bonding about getting through this together.

Thank you beloved, for a not-so-sexy, loving time together!

From Sara

When I was 12 years old, I was innocently hanging out with my friends at school when I was told my Grandpa had suddenly died. I was devastated.

His was the first death I remember experiencing. Since I am the same age as he was when he died, I can’t help but consider how we are similar and yet different.

This wasn’t his first heart attack; he struggled with his weight had high blood pressure, and I remember my Grandmother getting mad with him for cheating on his low-sodium diet. Her frequent meals of fried chicken, potatoes and gravy, and her famous and mysteriously emptying cookie jar probably didn’t help.

I spent at least a week with Grandma and Grandpa every summer. It was a highlight to have time alone with them.

During the day when Grandpa was at work, I would help Grandma garden, pulling weeds, shucking peas, picking raspberries, and spitting watermelon seeds.

Every evening, I’d kiss my grandpa g-night, and grandma tucked me into bed in the extra room above the living room. I could hear the TV below play Lawrence Welk, and I’d receive my nightly torture from the smell of fresh popcorn wafting up through the vent.

The differences between Grandpa and me likely began very early in life. Grandpa was four when his father died. As the only male in the house, he started providing for his household early with his mom and grandma. He didn’t earn a high school education and never settled into a career, contributing to lifelong financial instability.

I was blessed to have both of my parents, who continue to be a big part of my life. They achieved Master’s degrees that pulled them out of family poverty over time.

My Grandpa’s greatest dream was to own a home, but he never did. Thomas and I happily paid off our mortgage last spring.

I didn’t understand why Grandpa would get so upset with me when I didn’t care for my shoes. He always wanted me to use a shoehorn for my nice Sunday shoes. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that even buying shoes for him was extravagant. He wore size 13, and I’m sure the few pairs of brown shoes he owned were costly.

If you knew my Grandpa, you’d know he loved to fish. Not once-in-a-while kinda fish but every vacation and spare moment kinda fish.

Many hours we’d sit in the boat, on the dock, or by the dam, and I was convinced his fishing magic would rub off on me. More often, it resulted in me just drowning worms. 🎣 I don’t know if he was a good fisherman, a lucky fisherman, or it was only in my eyes that I imagined him that way.

Maybe we were alike by the quietness of our day together.

There were more ways we were different.

My Grandpa didn’t go to yoga class, meditate, or do a loving Tantra practice with Grandma. “Exercise” was a word that didn’t cross his lips. And I never saw him join Grandma as she tried to keep up with Jack LaLanne.

He’d sit drinking his morning coffee, smoking his cigarettes, reading the newspaper, and complain about the news.

My mom and her sisters would say complaining was one of his pastimes. Maybe, that’s where my mom got her mantra, “Life is hard.” I still struggle with falling into that oppressive mindset instead of seeing the amazing life I’ve been given. More than ever, I can now see the magnificence of this world. I wonder if he ever noticed?

On March 10th, 1972, he joined his buddies on a Minnesota lake ice fishing, and he was happy. With the cold fresh air and the anticipation of what he could catch, he fell to the ice with his last words, “heart attack.” Grandpa died doing what he loved. I hope I am like him in that way.

For both of us, family is important. We love to laugh, be outdoors, and have big feet.

Grandpa brought me a lot of joy. I can still see his big smile, feel his comforting embrace, and I eat popcorn 🍿 most nights.

By Sara B

My life, as I have known it, is unravelling, is shifting and transforming at lightning speed. This past month a confluence of circumstances has collided and had me spinning in a new direction. To where?

For 21 years, I felt stuck in a job that, while it fulfilled my obsessive need for security, it stifled my full expression and passion. For years I couldn’t figure out how to let go of the corporate trap of income and medical insurance.

This job has also limited my travel and Tantra studies. Even though I was a magician, arranging chunks of time away, it became increasingly harder to meet the ridiculous productivity and performance standards, and I cared too much. It sucked the creativity and ability to thrive from my bones.

September was a whirlwind. First, an expansive trip studying and teaching SkyDancing Tantra in France and Belgium. It was such an honor to teach alongside Margot Anand, the founder of SkyDancing Tantra.

Thomas and I celebrated our 30th anniversary and 10 years since we started studying Tantra.

We were home for four days before we jumped back on the plane to achieve my dream of teaching, what I consider, one of the most life-changing experiences available. Cycle 1 of the Love and Ecstasy Training cracked me open ten years ago. And since then, an excitement awoke within me that is hard to contain.

Teaching this course was delayed 1 1/2 years due to Covid, so we were more than ready to gather in this magnificent energy and community of people who wished to evolve through this healing journey.

At the end of the week, during the final sharing circle, Thomas was in tears listening to all the beautiful stories of openings people experienced. Mika, my co-leader, and I were thrilled teaching in a forum that nurtured face-to-face, heart-to-heart, loving connection.

I knew my life was about to shift again.

After great consternation about how to put the time, money, and energy into promoting our Love Passionately online Coaching business three days before the LET course started, I made a brave choice to invest significantly in this dream. I wasn’t sure how it would fit together, but I knew I was more worried it would not ever happen.

The next day, I unexpectedly received notice that because of Covid, I would no longer be working for that organization that had provided comfort with security and had also held me back. My security was unravelling.

I felt both relieved and in shock. I had been asking for the Universe to help me decide about this job and manifest my dreams, so here it was, I received a kick in the ass and an open door simultaneously.

My friend, Vicki, said, “Sara, You’re letting go of the side of the pool, aren’t you?” Yes, I am! Although it feels more like I let go of a pier as I set sail, freely out to sea.

I still have my private practice and had to decide not to load up that schedule. It would be too easy to continue the same pattern by leaving one job and exchanging for a similar over-commitment, holding on to security in exchange for fulfillment.

My life has revolved around this intense schedule for so many years; what will it be like to no longer have to say, I can’t because I have to go to work? My schedule is unravelling.

I had dreamed of this freedom for years, and it’s truly hard to believe it’s here. I feel excited and nervous, wondering how it will play out?

Can I trust the universe and all the signs that this is my true path?

During my manifestation meditation practice this week, instead of guiding the process with my scripted steps, I let my chakras and body lead. It was astonishing to witness my body unravelling and unwinding as it twisted and contorted, stretching and releasing years of tension. I was in awe, watching how my body knows how to heal itself when I give it space. 

My life is unravelling from the ties that bind it. As I handed my boss my computer and badge, I was surprised that the anxiety that I had imagined would be there all these years was completely absent. I feel so high with the excitement of what is possible; I am buzzing!

Unravelling must occur before we can shape the bow we desire.

Thomas and I launched our first couples coaching program and love seeing the smiles and yumminess as these couples discover new ways of being together.

What will come from this long-overdue freedom?

~ By Sara