The “Yes, No, Maybe” Chart – A Tool For Talking About Consent

Jamie Utt offers his version of the “Yes, No, Maybe” Chart to help couples talk about their limits—and their fantasies.

Clear, Honest, and Open communication should be a part of any sexual relationship, but let’s face it: starting those conversations can be tough!  Yes, No, Maybe charts are a great way to begin a deep, accountable conversation with a partner about your wants, needs, desires, and comfort levels in and outside of sex.

To learn more about sexy consent, read my article Want the Best Sex of Your Life? Just Ask!

Directions: Read through each numbered item (preferably alone first, before doing it with a partner).  In the blank, put a Y for Yes, an N for No, or an M for Maybe to indicate your level of interest in each situation. If you need to provide further clarification, write notes in the margins.

If particular questions don’t apply to you, feel free to skip them (for instance, if they describe a body part that you do not have). After the Yes No Maybe Chart is completed, sit down with your partner and go through each other’s answers, particularly discussing the Maybes.

 

  1. ___ Sharing my sexual history with a partner
  2. ___ A partner sharing their sexual history with me
  3. ___ Doing anything sexual which does or might pose high risks of certain or all sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  4. ___ Doing anything sexual which does or might pose moderate risks of certain or all sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  5. ___ Doing anything sexual which does or might pose low risks of certain or all sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  6. ___ Using a condom with a partner, always
  7. ___ Using a condom with a partner, not always
  8. ___ Using a dental dam, with a partner, always
  9. ___ Using a dental dam, with a partner, not always
  10. ___ Using a latex glove with a partner, always
  11. ___ Using a latex glove with a partner, not always
  12. ___ Using lubricant with a partner
  13. ___ Getting tested for STIs before sex with a partner
  14. ___ Getting regularly tested for STIs by myself
  15. ___ Getting tested for STIs with a partner
  16. ___ A partner getting regularly tested for STIs
  17. ___ Sharing STI test results with a partner
  18. ___ Having a partner talk to close friends about our sex life
  19. ___ Talking to close friends about my sex life
  20. ___ Having a partner talk to acquaintances, family, or co-workers about our sex life
  21. ___ Talking to acquaintances, family, or co-workers about my sex life
  22. ___ An exclusive romantic relationship
  23. ___ An exclusive sexual relationship
  24. ___ Having a partner kiss another person
  25. ___ Kissing a person other than my partner
  26. ___ Some kind of casual or occasional open/non-exclusive romantic relationship
  27. ___ Some kind of casual or occasional open/non-exclusive sexual relationship
  28. ___ Some kind of serious or ongoing open/non-exclusive romantic relationship
  29. ___ Some kind of serious or ongoing open/non-exclusive sexual relationship
  30. ___ Sex of some kind(s) with one partner at a time, only
  31. ___ Sex of some kind(s) with two partners at a time
  32. ___ Sex of some kind(s) with three partners at a time
  33. ___ Sex of some kind(s) with more than three partners at a time
  34. ___ Having a partner direct/decide for me in some way with sex
  35. ___ Directing or deciding for a partner in some way with sex
  36. ___ Doing things which might cause me momentary or minor discomfort or pain
  37. ___ Doing things which might cause a partner momentary or minor discomfort or pain
  38. ___ Initiating or having sex while or after I have been using alcohol or other recreational drugs
  39. ___ A partner initiating or having sex while or after using alcohol or other recreational drugs
  40. ___ Having a partner touch me affectionately without asking first
  41. ___ Touching a partner affectionately without asking first
  42. ___ Having a partner touch me sexually without asking first
  43. ___ Touching a partner sexually without asking first
  44. ___ Having a partner touch me affectionately in public
  45. ___ Touching a partner affectionately in public
  46. ___ Having a partner touch me sexually in public
  47. ___ Touching a partner sexually in public
  48. ___ Having my shirt/top off with a partner
  49. ___ Having a partner’s shirt/top off
  50. ___ Having my pants/bottoms off with a partner
  51. ___ Having a partner’s pants/bottoms off
  52. ___ Being completely naked with a partner with the lights off or low
  53. ___ Having a partner be completely naked with the lights off or low
  54. ___ Being completely naked with a partner with the lights on
  55. ___ Having a partner be completely naked with the lights on
  56. ___ Direct eye contact
  57. ___ Being looked at directly, overall, when I am naked
  58. ___ Grooming or toileting in front of a partner
  59. ___ Having a partner groom/use the toilet in front of me
  60. ___ Having my genitals looked at directly
  61. ___ Having a partner talk about my body with me
  62. ___ Talking about a partner’s body with my partner
  63. ___ Having a partner talk about my body with friends or family
  64. ___ Talking about a partner’s body with friends or family
  65. ___ Having some or all kinds of sex during a menstrual period
  66. ___ Seeing or being exposed to other kinds of body fluids (like semen, sweat, or urine)
  67. ___ Shaving/trimming/removing my own pubic hair
  68. ___ Shaving/trimming/removing a partner’s pubic hair
  69. ___ Expressing unexpected or challenging emotions before, during, or after sex
  70. ___ A partner expressing unexpected or challenging emotions before, during, or after sex
  71. ___ Not experiencing or expressing expected emotions before, during or after sex
  72. ___ A partner not experiencing or expressing expected emotions before, during or after sex
  73. ___ Feeling and being aroused (sexually excited) alone
  74. ___ Feeling and being aroused with or in front of a partner
  75. ___ Having genital sexual response, like erection or lubrication, alone
  76. ___ Having genital sexual response, like erection or lubrication, seen or felt by a partner
  77. ___ Are you comfortable not having or “losing” erection or lubrication alone?
  78. ___ Are you comfortable not having or “losing” erection or lubrication, with or in front of a partner?
  79. ___ Being unable to reach orgasm alone
  80. ___ Being unable to reach orgasm, with a partner
  81. ___ Having one orgasm, alone
  82. ___ Having one orgasm, with or in front of a partner
  83. ___ Having more than one orgasm, alone
  84. ___ Having more than one orgasm, with or in front of a partner
  85. ___ Ejaculating, alone
  86. ___ Ejaculating, with or in front of a partner
  87. ___ Having a partner ejaculate with me/while I’m present
  88. ___ Having an orgasm before or after you feel like you “should” with a partner
  89. ___ Having a partner have an orgasm before or after you feel like they “should”
  90. ___ Making noise during sex or orgasm, alone
  91. ___ Making noise during sex or orgasm, with a partner
  92. ___ Having sex interrupted by something or someone external or your own body or feelings
  93. ___ Masturbation alone
  94. ___ Your partner masturbating alone
  95. ___ Masturbation alone while thinking about someone other than your partner
  96. ___ Masturbation alone while thinking about someone other than your partner
  97. ___ Masturbation with your partner present or while your partner watches
  98. ___ Your partner masturbating while you’re present or while you watch
  99. ___ Holding hands
  100. ___ Hugging
  101. ___ Kissing, cheek or face
  102. ___ Kissing, closed-mouth
  103. ___ Kissing, open-mouth
  104. ___ Being kissed or touched on the neck
  105. ___ Kissing or touching a partner’s neck
  106. ___ Giving hickeys
  107. ___ Getting hickeys
  108. ___ Tickling, doing the tickling
  109. ___ Tickling, being tickled
  110. ___ Wrestling or “play-fighting”
  111. ___ General massage, giving
  112. ___ General massage, receiving
  113. ___ Having my chest, breasts and/or nipples touched or rubbed
  114. ___ Touching or rubbing a partner’s the breasts, chest and/or nipples
  115. ___ Frottage (dry humping/clothed body-to-body rubbing)
  116. ___ Tribadism (scissoring, rubbing naked genitals together with a partner)
  117. ___ Having a partner’s mouth or tongue on my breasts or chest
  118. ___ Putting my mouth or tongue on a partner’s breasts or chest
  119. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers on penis or strap-on), receiving
  120. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers to penis or strap-on), giving
  121. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers on testes), receiving
  122. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers on testes), giving
  123. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers on vulva), receiving
  124. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers on vulva), giving
  125. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers inside vagina), receiving
  126. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers inside vagina), giving
  127. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers on or around anus), receiving
  128. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers on or around anus), giving
  129. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers inside rectum), receiving
  130. ___ Manual sex (hands or fingers inside rectum), giving
  131. ___ Ejaculating (coming) on a partner’s body
  132. ___ Ejaculating (coming) in a partner’s body
  133. ___ Having a partner ejaculate (come) on or in my body
  134. ___ Using sex toys (like vibrators, dildos or masturbation sleeves), alone
  135. ___ Using sex toys (like vibrators, dildos or masturbation sleeves), with a partner
  136. ___ Oral sex (to vulva), receptive partner
  137. ___ Oral sex (to vulva), doing to someone else
  138. ___ Oral sex (to penis or strap-on), receptive partner
  139. ___ Oral sex (to penis or strap-on), doing to someone else
  140. ___ Oral sex (to testes), receptive partner
  141. ___ Oral sex (to testes), doing to someone else
  142. ___ Oral sex (to anus), receptive partner
  143. ___ Oral sex (to anus), doing to someone else
  144. ___ Vaginal intercourse, receptive partner
  145. ___ Vaginal intercourse, insertive partner
  146. ___ Anal intercourse, receptive partner
  147. ___ Anal intercourse, insertive partner
  148. ___ Having food items be part of sex
  149. ___ Cross-dressing during sex
  150. ___ Having a partner cross-dress during sex
  151. ___ Biting a partner
  152. ___ Being bitten by a partner
  153. ___ Scratching a partner
  154. ___ Being scratched by a partner
  155. ___ Wearing something that covers my eyes
  156. ___ Having a partner wear something that covers their eyes
  157. ___ Having my movement restricted
  158. ___ Restricting the movement of a partner
  159. ___ Being slapped or spanked by a partner in the context of sexual pleasure
  160. ___ Slapping or spanking a partner in the context of sexual pleasure
  161. ___ Pinching or having any kind of clamp used on my body during sex
  162. ___ Pinching a partner or using any kind of clamp on them during sex
  163. ___ Communicating my sexual fantasies to/with a partner
  164. ___ Receiving information about a partner’s sexual fantasies
  165. ___ Role-play
  166. ___ Phone sex
  167. ___ Cybersex, in IM
  168. ___ Cybersex, on cell phone
  169. ___ Getting sexual images of a partner in my email or on my phone
  170. ___ Giving sexual images to a partner in their email or on their phone
  171. ___ Reading pornography or erotica, alone
  172. ___ Reading pornography or erotica, with a partner
  173. ___ Viewing pornography, alone
  174. ___ Viewing pornography, with a partner
  175. ___ A partner reading or viewing pornography
  176. ___ Giving pornography/erotica to a partner
  177. ___ Getting pornography/erotica from a partner
  178. ___ Using emergency contraception
  179. ___ Having a partner use emergency contraception
  180. ___ Becoming pregnant
  181. ___ Creating a pregnancy with a partner
  182. ___ Helping a partner throughout a pregnancy and delivery
  183. ___ Experiencing a loss with a pregnancy, like miscarriage or abortion
  184. ___ Supporting a partner through a loss with a pregnancy, like miscarriage or abortion
  185. ___ Parenting with a partner
  186. ___ Parenting by myself
  187. ___ Paying child support for a pregnancy I co-created
  188. ___ Terminating a pregnancy (abortion)
  189. ___ Having a partner terminate a pregnancy (abortion)
  190. ___ Choosing adoption if there was a pregnancy

 

This list is also available in .doc format on ChangeFromWithin.org so you can edit it to suit your needs.

Also read Jamie Utt’s Want the Best Sex of Your Life? Just Ask!

Found at http://www.changefromwithin.org/

Adapted from Scarleteen

 

Photo courtesy of Flickr/I Can Teach You How to Do It

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About Jamie Utt

Jamie Utt is a diversity and inclusion consultant and sexual violence prevention educator based in Minneapolis, MN. He lives with his loving partner and his funtastic dog, Chloe. He blogs weekly at Change From Within. Learn more about his work at JamieUtt.com.

Comments

  1. wellokaythen says:

    For the men out there on the singles scene, when do you recommend exchanging this information? Third date? I’m thinking the 3 minutes of the speed-date is not enough time to cover all the necessary material…. : – )

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I’m not a man, but as a lady, I’d say that it’s good to have an honest conversation about boundaries before first having sex with someone. To me, although Jamie may disagree, this chart is more for self-reflection at first, to facilitate a conversation. Once intimacy is established, then actually looking at the checklist together is probably a good idea.

      But I may be old fashioned!

  2. The problem with a chart like this is that the counter-argument is that it is too organized and not organic enough for most people. I agree with Joanna that it’s probably a good thing to look at this more for self-reflection. I also think it’s a good idea to sort of keep a checklist like this in the back of your mind whenever engaging in a sexual relationship with someone. I don’t think it’s necessary to sit down with whoever and go over it bit by bit, though.

    I think people make consent a lot more difficult than it needs to be. People become all worried that if the other person says no to doing something (having sex in general or a specific sexual act) it is akin to a total rejection of your self, and therefore avoiding it at any cost is a priority. Also, I think part of the problem with the way we approach consent is that we tend to come at it with the goal of getting the most out of it as is possible. So like…oh I don’t want to come out and say “can I have sex with you,” because what if that turns him/her off and then we don’t have sex and AHHHHH BAD!!! And though a checklist might help you establish boundaries, it doesn’t really address the problems with the way our culture conceptualizes consent as something you HAVE to do but you probably don’t WANT to do.

  3. If you want to check out a cool online YesNoMaybe list tool that allows you and your lover to fill out your own surveys and have them automatically cross referenced, check out YesNoMaybe @ http://www.YNMList.com

  4. Check out YesNoMaybe @ http://www.YNMList.com — this is an site that allows you to fill out a Yes, No, Maybe list and invite another to share it. When they fill out their list – both lists get automatically compared and you both see what kinks you have in common. Really neat — and FREE!

Trackbacks

  1. […] If you want to download a chart, print it out, and get started, I’ve compiled a great Yes, No, Maybe chart, available here. […]

  2. […] Utt’s Yes, No, Maybe Chart, an excellent tool for talking about consent. Complete it on your own and then compare it to your […]

  3. […] The “Yes, No, Maybe” Chart – A Tool for Talking About Consent by Jamie Utt […]

  4. […] If you want to download a chart, print it out, and get started, I’ve compiled a great Yes, No, Maybe chart, available here. […]

  5. […] The “Yes, No, Maybe” Chart – A Tool For Talking About Consent […]

  6. […] a look at Jamie Utt’s Yes, No, Maybe Worksheet. It’s a great tool for discussing with your partner (and the other guy) exactly what you’re all […]

  7. […] pieces for a self help guru* (do these people pay the GMP for their self promotion?) I encountered a list of things you can consent to – a Yes/No/Maybe list.  Now, we’re kind of predisposed to be sceptical about any list which has Maybe as an option, […]

  8. […] Need some ideas on making consent fun and sexy?  Check out this article or fill out a Yes, No Maybe Chart. […]

  9. […] you should both fill out a “Yes, No, Maybe Chart” and discuss your responses with each […]

  10. […] and dive right into it. Order a pizza, sit on your bedroom floor, pull up something like the “Yes, No, Maybe Chart,” and go to […]

  11. […] with this Yes/No/Maybe list or this one over here, you can sit down by yourself or with your boyfriend and go through the entire thing. While this is […]

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