My First Yes/No/Maybe List: And Why You Should Have One

my first yes no maybe list

I got my introduction to Yes/No/Maybe lists from the inimitable Bex of Bex Talks Sex. They, like me, use spreadsheets to a fault, and posted about Yes/No/Maybe lists on their own blog.

I thought it was a fabulous idea, and immediately downloaded the template and started filling in the gaps. I thought it was great! I loved being able to articulate what I wanted and what I didn’t, and I adored that Bex thought to add in additional columns for soft no’s and hard no’s, willing yes’s and enthusiastic yes’s. It brought a level of nuance to the list that I couldn’t believe hadn’t been there before.

Then I met my current partner.

It’s supposed to be a conversation starter, and we talked about our lists, mostly just the fact that we had them. But I wasn’t prepared for someone else to see my list. He had sprung up from nowhere, I wasn’t expecting to meet someone and become as serious as we did. I had written my list for my own reference, for my own thought and kink processing. It wasn’t ready!  

I have a chronically difficult time being honest with my partners. I’ve had boyfriends for almost two years who didn’t know my taste in music because I always refused to play mine for fear of judgment. (I listen to weird stuff, okay? Don’t judge me.) The idea of sharing what I wanted, what I was into, and what I vehemently was not into was mildly terrifying. It gave me heartburn to just think about it. But, I had committed myself to this relationship, and wanted to be honest and upfront about everything. So we pulled up our corresponding Google docs, and read through the other’s simultaneously.

You know that feeling where you think that you’re going to tip backwards in your chair, just before you actually do? That’s how it felt the whole time. I felt like I needed to justify anything that I had strong feelings about. Whether it was DD/lg, rope play, or anal sex, I felt like I needed  to have Good Reasons for saying yes or no to anything.

But the reality is, I don’t. And neither do you. I don’t need to have a good reason for anything. I can just be into what I’m into, and that’s the biggest thing I took away from sharing my Y/N/M list. My partner doesn’t need to have deep, insightful reasons as to why he’s into something, just like I don’t need deep insightful reasons either. We can just be into stuff. We can just want to try stuff without it being a big deal.

Sometimes I wish I could go through the experience again for the first time, to recreate what it felt like to tell someone a bunch of really personal things and have them be totally accepting. Even if they don’t get it, they get me, and that’s what’s important. I think it’s pretty rare to find someone who accepts you that way, so I’m considering myself lucky on this one.

Talking about our lists let us flesh out what we were REALLY into, and some things we wanted to try as well. It helped to set our hard limits. Bex’s template comes with a whole tab on idea starters, the most useful of which (for me) was on language. Being able to put specific words to the way I want to feel during or after a scene, and having words for the way I want my partner to feel for that matter, was really reassuring and made me feel like I had a much clearer picture of what I wanted our sex to look like. For someone who lives with a ball of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, that was a blessing. If you’re still figuring out what you’re into, if you struggle with putting your feelings into words, or even if you’ve just been away from a list like this for a while, it’s a great exercise to undertake. 

Check out Bex’s Yes/No/Maybe template, and read some things while you’re there. They write good things. Then come back and tell me how your list-making went.

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