Yes/No/Maybe List- Sex Geek Edition

yes-no-maybeNow, this may come as quite a shock to you, but I’m a bit of an organization nerd. I have been known to moan (appreciatively and erotically) over a well organized spreadsheet and it’s not an exaggeration when I say that cleaning my room makes me happier than most other things. Naturally, when I was a wee little sex geek and stumbled across my first Yes, No, Maybe list I was thrilled. An organized and concise way to geek out about sex? What could be better?!?!

Through the years I’ve explored quite a few lists, and found some things I love and some things I hate, and on one bored (and slightly manic) evening, I decided to create my own, very elaborate Yes, No, Maybe list. Is it absurdly organized? Yes. Does it have more detail than the average person would ever need? Maybe. Did I go more than a little overboard? Probably.

nerd-stuffLets face it, all a Yes, No, Maybe list is is a conversation starter, no one list is supposed to (or able to) encompass everything that a successful negotiation should, but, if you’re like me and like to get real nerdy with yourself and your partners about your sexuality- you might have some fun with this.

Download: Yes, No, Maybe Excel Doc

(Select this option to fill it out digitally- Includes sex, kink, and language spreadsheets, plus a list of suggestions for filling it in!)

Download: Yes, No, Maybe PDF

(Select this option for a printable version- Includes, kink, and language spreadsheets, plus a list of suggestions for filling it in!)

Yes, No, Maybe- Sex

The Basics

For those unfamiliar with the idea of a Yes, No, Maybe list, it is designed as a short hand system for negotiating scenes. The idea is that both partners take a list of sexual acts and sort them into three columns- “Yes let’s do that”, “No, I don’t want to do that” and “Maybe, with more negotiation”1 then they come back together, see what fell into everyone’s Yes column, and build a scene from there.

It wasn’t until I was reading Love Hurts: A Consent Based Guide to Kink by Queerachino Cherry2 that it occurred to me how reductive this system could be. She posits a system that has five columns instead of three, Maybe is left as is, but both the Yes and No columns are split into two categories.

We’re given “Yes- Into” and “Yes- Willing” to distinguish the difference between something I want to do because it turns me on and something that I will happily do if it turns my partner on. For example, both blowjobs and feet would be on my Yes list on the old system, however in Queerachino’s I can make it clear that blowjobs, which are often considered an act of service for another person, are something that I am very eager to do for my own pleasure, and although I don’t even have a little bit of a foot fetish myself, I’ll enthusiastically play with that if its my partner’s thing.

“No” then becomes “No- Soft” and “No- Hard” to distinguish the difference between a soft and hard limit. While both are firm No’s and both should be respected as such, having a section for hard limits allows people to note what activities can carry emotional baggage, trauma, triggers, or other heavy shit versus just being something they’re not interested in doing right now.

ynm-kink

Kink

My kink spreadsheet works off of the same framework as the basic model, allowing people to classify activities based on their level of interest. The problem with most Yes, No, Maybe lists, and even a lot of negotiation to be honest, is that is focuses so much on the specific activities and not enough on how the participants want those activities to make them feel.

A punishment scene in which a naughty school girl is asked to stay after class is very different from a spanking that is given as a reward to a bottom who has been very good, which is very different from a spanking done because the top just wants to see their property in pain, and although spanking is on my Yes-Into list, only one of those scenes would actually really do it for me.  It’s the difference between objectification that cherishes or humiliates, between the sadistic taskmaster and the loving daddy.

Yes, No, Maybe- Language

Language

I added this page after attending Tina Horn’s workshop on Sexting (which totally blew my mind by the way), because I had always understood the importance of using language that works for you and your people, but it wasn’t until that night that it occurred to me that those preferences could easily and concisely be organized.

It’s obvious that knowing what words to use for your partner’s body is crucial when you’re with a trans or non-binary person, but I find that people completely overlook how important it is for cis folx as well. For example, one of my all time favorite words for my bits, cunt, can be very divisive, and I know there are people in the world that will cringe at that the same way I do to euphemisms like “downstairs” or “flower”- it’d be helpful to find out who those people are before I get naked with them!

Download: Yes, No, Maybe Excel Doc

(Select this option to fill it out digitally- Includes sex, kink, and language spreadsheets, plus a list of suggestions for filling it in!)

Download: Yes, No, Maybe PDF

(Select this option for a printable version- Includes, kink, and language spreadsheets, plus a list of suggestions for filling it in!)

As you may have noticed by now, I love geeking out about sex (and if you haven’t, why are you here?!?). I love, researching it, experimenting with it, and I especially love talking with my friends and partners about it, but as someone with anxiety, as much as I love it, sometimes negotiation is hard. Maybe it’s too much for me to ask a partner to call me his little slut, or to ask someone to sit on my face, but if I just happen to include those things on my yes list, mixed in with a bunch of other less scary things, it’s a great way to start the conversation!

  1. or “only sometimes” or “once I learn more” etc. []
  2. Which unfortunately, as far as I know, doesn’t exist online anymore. []

About Bex

Bex talks about sex, a lot, and feels this is the only way to reduce the stigma and lack of education surrounding it. When they're not trying to save the world, talking about sex to strangers, typing frantically, or sticking things in various holes they are usually indulging the other facets of their geekery.
  • Bianca Roberts

    This is sooooo cool! I love this!

  • ShriektheMighty

    This is an amazing idea, and I’m definitely going to fill one out for myself. Have you thought about converting it for google docs? It’s really handy to have on the go that way, but I’ve heard a lot of features tend to break if you just upload excel sheets directly (I know nothing about spreadsheet stuff.)

    • Bex

      It actually was a google doc first, and I exported it as an excel sheet because I figured it would be easier for most people that way? So it should upload alright back into google, I think.

  • Layla Studies Sex

    Holy shit this is genius. I didn’t realize how much I needed this in my life until just now. Not just because organization sort of turns me on, but also because I definitely have trouble coming out and discussing all of those things without an opener like this. And the thoroughness of the spreadsheet is phenomenal. Thank you Bex!!!

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  • 🎃⭐aj⭐👻

    i love the way these are organized.

    any chance there’ll someday be a bank of words for all the charts to pull from? my eyes see a blank spreadsheet like this and then my brain kinda mimics it and goes blank too. i guess it’s no big deal if i can only think of very yes and very no things, but just bc i like to be prepared, it would be good to cover the maybes as well, in case a partner is into that.

    and i know, obviously you can’t cover every possibility, but even just a few suggestions to get the ball rolling would probably help someone like me! (maybe someone else has some lists/word banks like that somewhere else online i could be pointed to?)

    • Bex

      There is! If you click the links in the post and download the spreadsheet there’s three pages of words, feelings, and activities to sort into the list!

      • 🎃⭐aj⭐👻

        omg! awesome! thanks! 😀

        (idk why i didn’t check that first? blurgh 😛 )