Non-violent communication comes in all shapes and forms. Whether you’ve been married for 50 years or are single, if never hurts to recheck in with what you need and want. The downloadable, Yes, No, Maybe So: A Sexual Inventory Stocklist developed by the folks at Scarleteen is a brilliant way to do that.
Here’s their instructions on how to do the questionnaire:
How can you use this list?
1) Print out the questionnaire using this PDF file, and fill it in by hand. It makes a great bedfellow, and can be done over time.
2) First do it alone. Take your time, especially with areas or questions you haven’t thought about before or haven’t had experience with yet. When you’re answering, figure this is about now: not right this very second, but in your life overall at this time and over the next few months. If you’re answering about things you have no experience with, go with your gut on what you feel like you want. You might only use it for self-evaluation and your own decision-making, to get a better sense of where you stand or what you want to talk about with a partner without sharing it or having them fill it out for themselves.
3) If you want to do it with a partner, remember that this is not first-date stuff. This is a lot of very personal information for anyone to give or ask for. If you’re doing it with someone, you want to have been together for a while to have built some trust, to have some solid sense of your relationship and to have already started to discuss many things on this list already. If you are going to do this with a partner, also be sure you’re both earnestly ready to know and accept all of each other’s truths (and to be truthful). Make some agreements in advance about the way you’ll both address this with each other with maturity and care.
The coding guide for the list is below.
- A yes is an “I want to” or “I think I would”
- A no is “I don’t want to” or “I don’t think I would”
- A maybe is “I might,” depending on people, time, situation
- If you just have no idea, that’s an IDK
- N/A is for the things that just don’t apply to you
None of these answers are a commitment to always say yes or no to anything, or a promise you’ll say either: they’re just assessments of how you generally feel about them.
Your answers to this list may, and probably will, change over time: you may find something that’s a yes now becomes a no after you try it, or that a no now is something you discover you’re interested in down the road. Figure it’s a snapshot of this point in time and an ever-evolving work in progress, just like you and your sexuality.
We included a code for fantasy. People often confuse what someone fantasizes about with what someone wants to actually or potentially do, which is especially a doozy for young people who can tend to feel freaked by the idea that fantasies must be “want-to-do’s” rather than just “really-like-to-think-abouts.” Recognizing the difference is important and can also take a lot of pressure off sharing fantasies.
Lists like this are not finish lines but starting points: for evaluating your own sexuality and/or for deeper conversations with someone else. This is so you can start thinking about things for yourself, or start having conversations with a partner. At the end of each section, we’ve included a few sample jumping-off points for conversations to give you some ideas.