Why Everyone Should Have a "Yes, No, Maybe" List
No matter your relationship status, one thing still holds true; you have a right to pleasure. Scream it from the rooftops because it’s true. You have a right to know what feels good for you, you have a right to know what sets your soul aflame, you have a right to know what you’re into, and you have the right to claim it. But the reverse is also true; you have a right to know what you don’t like, you have a right to have boundaries, and you have the right to say no, always.
If you’ve stepped foot into a BDSM 101 class or are familiar with kink, then you’ve probably heard of a “yes, no, maybe” list. Even if you’re not familiar with what this is, you can probably guess. A “yes, no, maybe” list is a list of things you’re into, some things you’re willing to try and things you’re absolutely not willing to try. The cool thing about this? You absolutely have the right to change your mind. This isn’t a document set in stone, instead it’s something that can help you discover what turns you on, while also helping inspire your love and sex life.
If you’ve never made a Y/N/M list, then try it! Set aside some time when you’re relaxed to really get in the zone and think of the things that get you turned up. Do you love a good a spanking? Maybe add “impact play” to your “yes” list so you know to explore flogging, caning and other forms of impact play. Unsure if you’re into sensory deprivation, like ear plugs or blindfolds? Add it to the maybe list! The goal of this exercise isn’t to create hard boundaries but to get you thinking about what you want and what you’re willing to explore. If you’re wanting to further explore kink and BDSM, this is a really good way to get your head clear about all the different things you can incorporate into scenes (aka sessions where you have a set parameter of things you are and aren’t willing to try with a partner.) Even if you have no interest in kink or BDSM, there’s no negative side to getting clear with what you want sexually!
If you want to do this exercise with a partner, you can either write a list together or each write your own and then compare the overlaps. Even if you’re writing this list solo, remember that BDSM and Kink place a huge emphasis on being safe, sane and consensual. Negotiating what you are and are not comfortable with before playing with anyone, even a long term partner, is important. Having this list can help you feel confident in the boundaries you’re creating for yourself in the process of planning a scene.
What have you always wanted to try? A threesome? Having your partner watch you masturbate? Whatever it is, claim it! Take time to write down your fantasies. You can even consider this a sex bucket list! Some things to consider adding to your list; fingering, fisting, oral sex, penetrative sex, mutual masturbation, double penetration, group sex, cuckolding, butt plugs- the list goes on and on. If there are any feelings of shame or embarrassment over the things you like or want to try, take a moment to sit with it and breathe into it. When you’re ready, try to release it. You have a right to explore what feels good without shame. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, try finding a therapist or someone to talk to. There is no shame in creating the sex life you want- you have the right to claim it.
Impact play is anything that hits or impacts your body. Think; spanking, flogging, caning and whipping. There are two main categories of pain when it comes to impact play; thuddy and stingy. A thuddy sensation is usually created by more surface area on the toy, or by many strands. It’s deeper and less painful at the surface, while a stinging sensation is sharper and can be more intense. You can play with impact by using your hands and varying the shape of the way you slap, spank or hit (think open hand versus fingers together, cupped palm versus flat palm.) You can also use things you have around your house to play with impact; sandals, wooden spoons, wet towels...etc.) Keep in mind that you don’t want to hit anywhere where there are organs. Sticking to the butt, inner and outer thighs and chest is a good idea.
Another way to add some vibrancy to your sex life? Sensation play! Do you love the feeling of a feather running over your naked skin? Maybe you love ice cubes along your inner thighs or the feeling of nipple clamps. Sensation play is anything that heightens your body's feelings and awareness in a specific way. Wax play (dripping body safe candle wax on skin) is another form of sensation play. Sensory deprivation is also part of sensation play. Gags (like ball gags and spider gags) blindfolds, Wartnenberg Pinwheels, ear plugs and vacuum beds all fall under this domain too.
Probably one of the more popular fantasies, bondage is an umbrella term for anything that restrains or ties us up. Think; shibari or rope bondage, using handcuffs or ties, furniture bondage, using belts or scarves to tie up limbs, or being suspended from rope bondage. For example, you may be into handcuffs but aren’t sure if you want to be hogtied with rope. Baby steps- allowing yourself space to think about what it is you may like is more important than having a 1000% HARD YES or a HARD NO.
After you’re finished with a scene, you’ll start aftercare. This is a chance for both partners to come down from the excitement or intensity of the scene so they can start to reintegrate into real life. Aftercare is different for everyone and can include drinking water, snuggling with your play partner, eating ice cream, taking a bath, or doing whatever else makes you feel good and helps you get back into your body. You’ll figure out what you need the more you play. Even if you’ve just had a really heated sex session with a partner that included more spanking and impact than normal, leave some time for aftercare. Allowing yourself to get back into the flow of things is important. Also- don’t forget to drink water!
Once you have your “yes, no, maybe” list, keep adding to it! Start thinking about the ways you can combine your “yes’s” and try your “maybe’s.” Incorporate some of the things you want to try into your sex life with your partner or your solo-masturbation sessions. Exploration is part of the fun of this life and that’s especially true with sex. So have fun and enjoy!