So, how do you actually make a yes/no/maybe list?
When first experimenting with a YNM list, all three experts say you should start with your Melbourne Private Bell goal feelings, not necessarily what you want to do, because people have different associations with certain sex acts. “Do I want to feel degraded?” Lange says. “Do I want to feel overpowered? Do I want to feel taken care of? Using those feeling words can help navigate what actions or activities you’re going to put on your list.”
You and your Melbourne female students write down all your goal feelings and the things you want to try at the top of your lists. (A preexisting template version is helpful if you’re not coming to the table with things already in mind.) Then, individually, you’ll place each feeling and act into a yes, no, or maybe column. Once you’re both done, you’ll come together and compare lists.
Still confused? Worry not—we made one for you. Feel free to save it, print it, type on it, add more items, doodle on the sides…whatever you need to do to communicate to your heart’s desire.
It can be tempting to fill your list with every single kink and sex act you’ve ever heard of all at once, but the experts advise against it. Within each sex act or kink, there are different layers to explore, and tackling too many at once can be overwhelming. It’s also important to be clear about how, exactly, you want to try things out.
Take bondage, for example. Kali explains that someone who’s into bondage could like anything on the spectrum, from getting tied up with satin ribbons to being mummified with duct tape and only a tube to breathe through. Both qualify as bondage, she says, but it’s important to specify what bondage means to each of you—plus which materials you like and what ambiance feels best. “Even when you’re using the same words, you may not be speaking the same language,” she says.
She recommends limiting your first list to just three things per column (whether it’s kinks, activities, words, toys, etc.). This can help get the ball rolling without overwhelming you. “Eventually you may have six or seven different versions of your list, but you don’t have to figure it out all at once,” Kali says.
So I made a list. Now what?
The experts recommend tailoring your list to your Miss Melbourne. You can always revisit your list(s) on your own or with new partners to reflect changes in what you want and how you feel with them.
“Maybe your list looks different when you’re with a femme versus somebody who’s more masc-presenting, or maybe it’s different if someone’s older than you or younger,” Jean explains.
In terms of actually sharing your lists, Kali says it’s important to carve out some time for a discussion—not when you’re about to fall asleep, driving to pick up the kids, or in the middle of sex. And most importantly, be up front with your partner about your intentions.
“Before you launch into the list, really say to each other, ‘If I don’t want to do something, that’s not a rejection of you,’” Kali says. “Then be cognizant of how you give your nos. Because if I’m talking with my lover and they say, ‘I want to suck your toes,’ and I say ‘ICK, NO,’ that is a hurtful no. That is going to harm our dynamic, our relationship, our sexual experiences together, because of the way I said no, not that I said no.”
What if I’m scared of rejection?
For some people, sharing a private sexual desire with a Melbourne escort girl might feel impossible—especially if they’ve never learned to embrace that desire within themselves. In that case, a YNM list may help you on your journey to self-acceptance, but it’s not going to magically melt away a lifetime of societal repression on its own.
“[The YNM list is] not a good venue to voice your kink with a partner before you’ve voiced it with yourself,” Lange says. “Practicing radical self-acceptance is a really important part of this, because if you are fearful of your own desires, you’re not going to be able to communicate your boundaries with somebody else.”
Whether it’s writing them in a journal, sending yourself a voice note, or reciting a morning affirmation (“I’m a cum dumpster and I’m proud!”), the more comfortable you are with your own kinks, the better you can communicate them to a partner. “If you can’t talk about it with yourself…then it’s going to be impossible to say it to a Miss Melbourne,” Lange says.
A fear of rejection is natural, especially when around sensitive subjects like your tightly kept sexual secrets. But Jean warns that a YNM list isn’t a mechanism to get your partner’s approval for the stuff that you’re into.
“No matter how much this other person loves you, thinks you’re hot, wants to f*ck you, whatever, they do not have to do your thing,” she says. “And that does not make your thing any less valid because they do not want to do it.”
What if my partner’s list and mine don’t match up?
“This is where the feelings come in,” Lange explains. Say your partner listed spanking, degradation, and hair-pulling as yeses, but the only thing you have on your list that matches with theirs is hair-pulling. Ask yourself why you like this one particular activity. Is it the sensation? Is it the emotion tied up in it?
“Once you find the feeling, you can find other things in that same vein,” Lange says. “It may lead you down an avenue that you might not have thought of, that’s not even on the list. Or it may help you to build a scene using the things that do overlap.”
On the flipside, Jean adds, their “no” might just be an invitation to dig deeper. If spanking is on your list and not on theirs, for example, ask why. If it’s because they don’t want to hurt you, suggest using a furry flogger or a foam bat that will never hurt no matter how hard they hit.
And remember: Nos are opening points too, Kali says. If you’re into spanking but your partner isn’t, use that as an opportunity to learn more about why, so that you’re not accidentally making them feel whatever it is that comes up for them with spanking in other ways.
Ultimately, a YNM list can help you excavate the precise language to describe your sexual desires—something very few people are given the tools to do when they start to need them.
“In my 20 years of experience, I think people don’t necessarily have a direct fetish or desire for actions or activities, they have a desire for emotional experiences and psychological releases,” Kali says. “And so a yes/no/maybe list can bring together actions, emotional contexts, and psychological nuance. And when you marry those things in a single communication tool, that’s where yes/no/maybe lists lead us to successful sexual experiences.”