In my line of work, I talk to a lot of partnered people who
- are new to sex
- have a limited range of sexual experiences, or
- are no longer as excited by sex as they once were.
These people often want to know how they can make sure they satisfy their partners sexually. Typically, my first recommendation is a Yes, No, Maybe list.
In this post, I’ll tell you a little more about this list, how to use it, and give you five free Yes, No, Maybe lists to try for yourself.
What is a Yes, No, Maybe List?
A Yes, No, Maybe list is a great way for partners to get to know one another’s sexual interests and boundaries. It lists a number of sexual activities, and each partner marks whether they are interested in each activity (yes), not interested in it (no), or might be interested (maybe).
This allows each person to get an idea of what types of sex acts excite themselves and their partner. The list gives people in relationships a jumping-off point for conversations about sex.
Everyone is unique and has unique needs. To satisfy your partner, you need to be able to talk about sex with them. A Yes, No, Maybe list opens that door.
How do I use a Yes, No, Maybe List?
To make the most of a Yes, No, Maybe list, you’ll want each partner to have their own copy of the list. This way, partners can each go through the list on their own and decide for themselves which acts they are and are not interested in.
You can either print separate copies, or you can have each partner open the list on separate devices.
It’s very important to give each partner their own time and space to complete the list. If one partner is looking over another’s shoulder, it might affect that partner’s ability to be honest about their own sexual wants and needs.
As we all know, consent is important when it comes to sex. Let all partners sit and think on their own about what they are interested in and where their boundaries are.
Once everyone has completed their lists, it’s time to compare them. Be sure to respect any hard “no” answers that partners have checked off. Spend more time focusing on the “yes” answers that work for everyone, and get clarity on the “maybe’s”.
Don’t want a partner to see your “no” answers? Book a session with me. You can send me your completed lists separately, and I’ll tell you only what you both marked “yes” or “maybe” to, then give you some advice on how to proceed.
What happens after we compare lists?
After you’ve discovered shared sexual interests, the real fun begins. Now that you have an idea of one another’s desires and boundaries, you can safely step into hands-on sexual exploration.
Here are some important things to keep in mind as you do this:
- Discuss details . The acts on a Yes, No, Maybe list can all be completed in countless different ways. Someone may indicate that they want to give oral sex, for example, but not feel comfortable if their partner puts their hands on their head while they do so. Talk about anything you’d each be uncomfortable with.
- Consent is ongoing. If you said “yes” to something on the list then change your mind, that’s okay. Let your partner know your feelings have changed. If your partner lets you know they’ve changed their mind, be respectful of that and try doing something different.
- Be curious. Interested in an item on a Yes, No, Maybe list, but not sure where to start? Look up information or classes for the act online, or book a session with a sex coach for more personalized advice.
- You can add to the list. A Yes, No, Maybe list is never a complete list of all possible sexual acts. That list is constantly growing! If there are things you want to do that aren’t on the list, talk to your partner/s about them.
Free Yes, No, Maybe List Example
Ready to get started? Great! Here is a free example Yes, No, Maybe list for you and any partners to fill out. You can either copy and paste this table into a document, or click here to download the pdf version.
|Give an Erotic Massage|
Sensually touch every desired inch of a partner’s body.
|Receive an Erotic Massage|
Relax and enjoy a partner’s hands exploring your body.
|Give Oral Sex|
Use your mouth to sexually stimulate a partner.
|Receive Oral Sex|
A partner uses their mouth to sexually stimulate you.
Partners give and receive oral sex simultaneously.
Partners watch each other sexually stimulate themselves.
|Give Sex Toy Stimulation|
You use a sex toy, such as a vibrator or stroker, on a partner.
|Receive Sex Toy Stimulation|
A partner uses a sex toy, such as a vibrator or stroker, on you.
|Give Temperature Play|
Use ice and/or warm water to touch or orally stimulate a partner.
|Receive Temperature Play|
A partner uses ice and/or warm water to touch or orally stimulate you.
|Send Sexts or Dirty Emails|
Send sexual texts, images, or emails throughout the day.
|Receive Sexts or Dirty Emails|
Receive sexual texts, images, or emails throughout the day.
|Watch Porn Together|
Watch porn as part of foreplay or sex, perhaps using it as inspiration.
|Give Public Displays of Affection|
Touch, hold, kiss, or otherwise express attraction to a partner in public.
|Receive Public Displays of Affection|
A partner touches, holds, kisses, or otherwise shows attraction to you in public.
|Wake a Partner Up with Sex|
Use your hands or mouth to wake a partner up with sexual stimulation.
|Be Awoken with Sex|
A partner uses their hands or mouth to wake you up with sexual stimulation.
Enhance Sexual Exploration with More Free Yes, No, Maybe Lists
The above Yes, No, Maybe list is just the beginning of building strong communication skills with partners. For four more (and longer!) lists, grab your free copy of Talking About Sex: A Sex-Positive Communication Workbook for Relationships and Life:
Talking About Sex includes 30 pages of information and activities to help you become better at sexual communication. It also includes four more Yes, No, Maybe lists on topics like kink, anal, ethical nonmonogamy, and more.