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Have you heard of a Yes/No/Maybe Checklist?
While this may seem like a pretty self-explanatory checklist, it is used to help communicate effectively around sex, physical intimacy, consent, and fun between sexual partners. There are many different Yes/No/Maybe lists you can use to help you explore different sexual activities and physical boundaries.
There are typically two types of Yes/No/Maybe Checklist - they can come in checkbox format and fill-in format. For the checkbox ones, if you feel comfortable doing any intimate actions, you mark “yes.” Not into it at all? Please tick "no." When you're not sure how you feel or are still considering the act, you put “maybe.” As for the fill-in ones, please write “Y” next to the action you feel comfortable doing, enter “N” when you aren’t interested in the activity and “M'' if you are unsure.
- If both you and your partner, hookup or date say “Yes'' to the same thing, that gives you some common ground to talk more about what that/those activities can look like.
- If one of you says “No”, you can let that go or you can start a conversation to understand more about the person’s feelings and desires.
- If there is a “Maybe”, there could be an opportunity to talk it through further to understand more, if you are each willing to share more.
Respect, consent and ongoing communication with each other are key points here.
Here are some Yes/No/Maybe checklists you can take a look at. They are great places to start conversations and, when you get more experience with them, you can create your own!
Scarleteen’s sexual inventory checklist is very thorough and covers a lot of ground as it discusses body boundaries such as boundaries about direct eye contact. Often, these little details are overlooked when people engage in intimacy, so it’s great that Scarleteen’s checklist dives into some of these finer details.
Sexuality educator and pleasure advocate Sunny Megatron shares two Y/N/M lists in the link above. There is one for those who are “vanilla” and want to explore their sexuality.
Bex Caputo’s Y/N/M list is a bit different from the other ones on this list. It’s quite exhaustive because it covers sex, kink, language, and feelings. It asks what kind of activities one wants to explore; what one want to be called in bed; what kind of emotions one want to feel while engaging in sex and kink. Caputo explores a few options: Yes – Into, Yes – Willing, Maybe, No. The lists consider positions in giving and receiving and ask how frequently one wants to feel a particular emotion: often, sometimes, or never.
The cool feature of Autostraddle’s Y/N/M list is that it is actually a set of worksheets that are quite visually appealing. I found this list to be very engaging because of its design. It is not as extensive as Bex Caputo’s or Scarleteen’s list, but it does offer a look at what a colourful and engaging Y/N/M list could look like.