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.

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

Have you celebrated love lately?

Maybe the love in your life is a pet, friend, or family member. That’s awesome you feel that connection with someone in your life. If you are blessed to have a romantic partner, millions of people long for what you have, and this blog is especially for you. We all want someone special to talk to, touch, give love, and receive love. When have you taken a moment to pause and acknowledge the preciousness of this gift?

You are blessed to experience this rare and glorious feeling. You hold the most sought after jewel,💎 the holy grail, and the fountain of youth.

People in relationships most often live longer, feel more satisfied, and are happier.

In what ways do you celebrate or take your love for granted?

Do you remember what you felt like before you found your love?

What was it like for you to seek love? Did you enjoy the chase? Was dating titillating? Did you find your time alone as easy, or did you struggle with loneliness? Some people love playing the field, get excited by the new relationship energy, and become quickly bored with routine.

For me, the dating scene was excruciatingly painful, and I felt totally inadequate. I cringe, recalling many desperate moments. What a relief I felt when I found who I thought was my perfect partner. Then, a month before the wedding, our engagement blew up. I found myself single again. Ugh!

After some time of grief and fighting off thoughts of giving up this relationship shit, I remember thinking, I don’t want to start all over dating with social niceties and sorting through people that were not a good fit. Maybe that’s why the universe brought Thomas back into my life, and the friendship that had begun 5 years earlier was quickly reestablished without that awkward dating phase. It took a while to move out of the friend-zone and appreciate how he meets me.

I can’t imagine not having someone to talk to every night or planning my weekends and vacations alone. I hold great respect for singles looking for their love partner and sadness for those in a loveless marriage.

Alone time is sweeter, with the taste of love still on one’s lips.

Disliking being single has been a motivator to work on our long-term commitment. Margot Anand, the Grandmother of Tantra, acknowledged that Thomas and I know a depth in our relationship that she has not experienced. There are many sexual adventures that Margot has indulged in that are foreign to us. And yet, we wouldn’t trade it.

What does deep love feel like?

Love is the womb that nurtures your heart ❤️

Love is the greatest treasure and the greatest mystery. We write the most songs about love, and it’s the primary subject for movies, poetry, and books. Wars are fought for love. Families are established or torn apart for love. About $20 billion is spent each Valentine’s Day in the USA.

Love is the greatest desire and drive. Yet, when you have it, how much time do you spend feeling love. If you felt a hint that the one you loved didn’t return your affections, you’d likely feel devastated and do anything you can to win back their love.

I’ve seen countless times a spouse decides to make heroic changes that were otherwise immovable until the threat of losing their love. How many times they’d say, “I’ll do anything for you,” but they wouldn’t take out the garbage, change their money habits or stop the affair until their relationship is at risk.

There is a rich quality and fullness of love that is readily available by BEING in love. Allow your body to absorb the fullness and sweetness of love. BE with and savor the feeling as you touch, see the twinkle in the eye, smell the pleasantness of love. And remarkably, speak of the deliciousness of your love! We would have fewer unhappy relationships if we spent more time nurturing our loved one.

Even if your love is for a friend, a special place, or something you love to do, cultivate appreciation and gratitude. With Tantra, even a sip can be savored for its preciousness. Or we may choose to drive into love and immerse ourselves completely.

I’ve been trying to acknowledge my beloved more often. And when Thomas is loving me up, I try to respond in kind even when it’s not always the most convenient time or my love language. The more we celebrate love, the more love there is to enjoy.

It’s an ongoing exploration. As our mentor, Steve Carter, would say, “How much more can you love?”