Yes/No/Maybe Lists 101 - ONE®

Yes/No/Maybe Lists 101

Have you ever been stumped about how to start a conversation about sex with your partner(s)? Tired of the age-old, but very vague, question: “Are you ready to take this to the next level?” Curious if you’re fulfilling all your partner’s desires and if they might be holding back?

It can be very tricky to start the conversation, and even trickier to make sure it goes smoothly. It can feel a bit like walking on eggshells, hoping not to offend, but also not to close yourself off to new sexual experiences with your partner(s).

And what about all the important sexual health conversations around condoms, testing history, birth control preferences and more? Those are just as important to discuss with a partner ahead of embarking on a sexual adventure, but can also be awkward, uncomfortable and nerve-wracking to successfully have. 

We’ve put some tips together for how best to check both the pleasure and practical boxes when you’re talking to your partner(s) about your sex life, and here are some of the highlights:

  • Create a safe space for you and your partner(s), taking into account the setting, the time and the approach, to make sure everyone feels comfortable, accepted and supported.
  • Do your research to inform yourself and prepare yourself to tackle anything that might be a tough or touchy subject.
  • Have your most recent STI testing results on hand, and come up with some conversation starters that work for you and your partner(s). 

To read more about some other tips and tricks, check out some more ideas in our blog post here. Unfortunately, some of those tips do require a bit of advanced set up and rely on you or your partner(s) to take the lead. Looking for something a little less DIY, where you don’t have to try and gauge the situation?

Well you can finally stop the guessing (and second guessing) game: step forward, the Yes/No/Maybe list. The name says it all, and it is super simple to do. At a high-level, it’s a very straightforward worksheet that allows you and your partner(s) to put sexual activities and practices that are of interest, in the yes column – meaning that you are very much open to giving and/or receiving them.

There is also a no column to add anything that is off the table. Naturally, these should be avoided regardless of whether both partners write the same activities in the no column. And last but not least, there is the maybe column. This column is for activities and practices that are on the table for discussion, but are by no means an every-time thing.

The main goals for this worksheet are to open the lines of communication and to communicate your sexual interests and desires to your partner(s). If something is in the no column, it gives you and your partner(s) a chance to discuss why that may be. Same with the yes and maybe column.

For example, you might say: “nipple play is in my maybe column, because I used to have a nipple ring and sometimes my nipples are so sensitive that it’s unpleasant.” You could also say: “I put this position in the no column because it makes me dizzy, and I don’t like how it feels.”

One important caveat is that the Yes/No/Maybe list is not to be mistaken for a Green/Red/Yellow list. Every sexual experience with your partner should involve an active and evolving discussion around consent – even if something is in the yes column, it does not mean it’s a guarantee every time without first making sure everyone is having fun and comfortable.

The text "yes" "no" and "maybe" each appear on individual sticky notes.

Have we piqued your interest? Looking to try our Yes/No/Maybe list together with your partner(s). Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Download the ONE® Yes/No/Maybe List here. Don’t worry, it’s a fun form we promise!

Step 2: If you need a refresher of how the worksheet works, have a skim of the instructions at the top left and the sample sexual practices and activities at the bottom left. Never hurts to do some brainstorming. *wink*

Step 3: Start to fill out the columns. There’s no particular order they need to be filled out in, but try and be as specific as you can. For example, writing something like “hand stuff” is less helpful in the long run as something like “mutual masturbation.” This helps avoid misunderstandings.

Also important is to include whether you want to: give, receive or both. Not every sexual activity needs to be mutual, especially if it’s not matching across your worksheets.

Step 4: Swap lists and discuss among yourselves. The key is to make sure you understand what your partner is looking for. Better not to assume! There may be conditions for some of the activities on the form as well. For example, “I like this position in the shower, but in other places, it bothers my bad knee.” The more you know! 

Two people engaging in a conversation with a speech bubble that says, "Communication"

Step 5: Enjoy! This one is up to you and your partner(s) based on what you included on your forms. One of the best parts of these forms is that they can be revisited over and over again over time. Maybe you make it something you do on your anniversary, Valentine’s day or on a specific holiday? The choice is yours.

The text, "Enjoy" is shown on a pink background with a silhouette of two people passionately kissing.

If you find that you and your partner(s) need any supplies for what’s on your forms, make sure to check out ONE®’s full collection of premium sexual health products, including condoms and lubricants. You can also check out more of our blog content to arm and inform yourself for your new sexual frontiers with your partner(s). And with that, go forth and spice it up with your new Yes/No/Maybe lists!

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