Whole Lesbian Sex
Yes, No, Maybe

Felice Newman,

Like cunnilingus? Fisting? Stiletto heels caressing your chest? Dildos? Vibrators that multi-task? How about hot wax? Bondage? Would you like to make a dirty video? What about a three-way?

What are your favorite erotic activities? How about your new girlfriend – do you know what she�d put on her list? Conventional wisdom would have you explore your mutual turn-ons this way: Each of you fills out a yes/no/maybe list. On your yes list, you itemize all the erotic activities you enjoy now or would like to try. Your maybe list represents the things you might like to try or might enjoy under particular circumstances. And your no list – well, that's self-explanatory, isn't it? (Not necessarily.) Then you and your partner compare lists, circling the interests you have in common. You make a list of your shared yeses (and maybe your maybes) and voila – there's your sex life.

That's fine for negotiating a scene. But a life? Will the range of sexual activities you share now serve you as a couple for five years? For twenty?

If you limit your shared sex life to the items on that yes list, you narrow your possibilities. Over time, that gets old. Sure, today you cream at the thought of your lover whispering a salacious story about girls in heat as she works a finger into your butt. But five years from now, won't you want, well, more? A butt plug perhaps, or a new fantasy?

If you want that thrill to last, take a look at your no list. What are the items you don't hold in common? I'm not suggesting that you do anything that will traumatize you. (The idea isn't to create new material to bring to therapy.) I am suggesting that you make room in your repertoire for erotic activities that one of you likes and the other doesn't. If you want to have hot sex five years from now, you'll need to create a shared sex life that's expansive, not contracted.

How do you deal with those differences in sexual interests? You create ways to accommodate both of you. Your lover likes sex in public, but you don't feel like exposing yourself to the elements, much less arrest? Take her to a sex party. OK, maybe that's only semi-public. But if her turn-on is exhibitionism, she'll find many willing voyeurs. Or spin a tale. Tell her about snaking your hand into her 501s in some very public and inappropriate place – while you really are snaking your hand into her pants in a safer venue. Maybe read her a story – the Best Lesbian Erotica series abounds with stories of public sex.

Take advantage of all the erotic possibilities your differences may offer. You may find yourself enjoying activities you never considered trying. Working that out can open you to new possibilities that will enrich your erotic life. Your sexual tastes, frequency, and range of interests will broaden as you experiment with those of your partners.

One woman wrote to me that she discovered her love of anal sex by trying it for her girlfriend. She didn�t think she'd like having her partner's fingers probing her butt, but she surprised herself. Now she's a proud back-door Betty. Another said, "I always thought I was a redneck conservative, but it actually turns out, I'm a fairly kinky woman."

Take another look at that list. Would you be willing to let your honey lace you into a Victorian corset? Does the thought of wearing a blindfold while getting utterly fucked make you nervous – yet make your clit throb? What about nipple clamps? Shopping for sex toys?

Don't worry if you feel silly or awkward trying something new. Experiment in the spirit of adventure and curiosity. You don't have to commit to incorporating a new activity into your repertoire – unless you want to.

Differences in sexual interest do not necessarily indicate incompatibility - in fact, your differences are a priceless resource. It may be the frisson that makes those sparks fly.

Felice Newman is a founding publisher of Cleis Press and the author of The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us. She can be reached at Visit her at

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