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Yes, No, Maybe

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Yes, No, Maybe

There are plenty of questions you can ask yourself or others that can simply be answered with a “yes”, “no”, or “maybe”. This could cover questions regarding whether or not you want to go for a run, eat a certain meal, or if you want to stay up late to watch a scary movie. These three answers can also be useful for your sexual play.

As we know, no one is a mind reader and although there are plenty who think they or others are- it just isn’t possible. We must always remind ourselves of this which requires us to be constantly communicating with our sexual partners. Yes, sex can be intimidating, scary, and extremely vulnerable to discuss yet it is vital in ensuring everyone is happy and consenting to it.

Most are in agreement in the whole open communication concept for a great sex life, but most are unsure how to go about it. There is a brilliantly simple template to use that I find very helpful to get the conversation started. It allows you to get clear with what you are willing to do, unwilling to do, and what you are willing to consider under the right circumstances. This is straightforwardly called the “Yes, No, Maybe” exercise.

Here’s how to complete the exercise:

Grab a piece of paper, divide it into three columns, and label each column.  Begin to ask yourself what you would do and put them under “yes”; what you would not do and put under “no”; and write down what you are willing to discuss and consider under “maybe”. You can get as detailed as you want and I highly encourage you to do so.


1). First do it by yourself. Allow yourself an adequate amount of time to think through what you want to include under each column. The more clear you get with yourself, the better so you aren’t having to make a quick decision in the middle of play that you may regret later.

2). Share the idea with your sexual partners and invite them to do it as well in their own time and space.

3). When you have your list, share your lists with one another. Be sure to do this while in a comfortable space and when you are both in a good, open mood. For example, my husband and I have shared our lists on a dinner date which actually helped build anticipation for our next escapade!

4). Continue to update your lists. If you once were open to something and you’ve since changed your mind, be sure to change it on your list. If something has become more of an option you would consider, switch it on over to “maybe”. Remember, our sexuality is always evolving.

5). Use this as an opportunity to communicate your needs and wants, expressing your boundaries while allowing the other to do the same. You never know, you may both find something on your lists you both are open to exploring that you may have been too nervous to ask about directly.

6). Keep talking. Always. Know that the best way to get the best sex of your life is to talk about it often with those who you are sharing yourself with.


I hope this is helpful! Good luck and let the sex discussions begin!

PS: this works for all sexual relationships, regardless of length. This can be helpful in a sexual relationship you have just begun, or have been in for twenty years!


Until next time,



headshotAbout the Author:

Dr. Lily A. Zehner, MFT-C is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Denver where she helps others reach their fullest relational and sexual potential. To learn more about her and her services, please feel free to take a look around her website.


About the Author