Figuring out your sexual compatibility with a potential partner/s can be a clumsy experience. Especially in the early days, getting your communication down and learning one another’s desires can take a little time. But there is a tool you can use that’ll help move this along pretty effectively: a yes/no/maybe list.
I was first introduced to the yes/no/maybe list during a sexual education workshop at Babeland New York.
The sex educators explained that this tool is a pretty excellent way to get conversations about consent and desire off to a positive start and, being a written task, it also means you can avoid talking about anything you’re not comfortable with just yet.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
What’s a Yes/No/Maybe sex list?
As you’re probably assuming, it’s a yes/no/maybe sex list is a list where you can write out what you’re happy to get down with sexually (yes), what you’re willing to consider (maybe) and what you’re not cool with (no).
The Babeland team writes on their example that “this list can be a titillating way of discovering desires and fantasies, revealing avenues of exploration and building intimacy”.
They’ve given some example list items like blindfolds, hot wax, mutual masturbation, anal, role-playing, dirty talk and porn, but you can work with whatever you like. This bucket list of sex acts may be a good starting point.
The goal is that you and the person you’re sexually intimate with will each work through the list and write down yes, no or maybe next to every item. Once you’re done, swap lists and see where your compatibility lies.
Then you can chat through the parts you’re interested in, making sure to keep it a safe space for everyone involved, yeah?
Consent is naturally at the heart of this exercise, and anyone taking part in this should feel comfortable sharing their honest views of the sexual acts listed. That way, partners can work from a base where they have a clear understanding of one another’s sexual boundaries.
It is worth pointing out, however, that just because someone writes yes (or maybe) next to an item one time does not mean that answer stands permanently. You need to check in on each other regularly here, people.
After all, good sex is impossible without solid communication and mutual respect.
Sex educator and brand manager of Babeland, Lisa Finn, spoke with HelloGiggles about this, sharing that:
“Having sex without talking—about what works, what can change, what you’d like to try, boundaries, and needs—can leave you and your partner falling into a routine that may not work as well as you want it to, ultimately, leading to sex becoming more expected and less exciting.”
Using a yes/no/maybe list is a fun little practice that may feel strange at first, but you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find. And it also offers a fun chance for you to reflect on what you’re into as well, so why not make it a regular practice?