YesNoMaybePeople change. They grow, they contemplate, they fantasize. Sometimes they get bored… and every once in awhile there may be a paradigm shift that spins a person’s perspective, ideals, and desires in unexpected directions.

If you are in a long term relationship and you think you have your finger on the pulse of your partner’s desires you might want to double check your assumptions. Maybe you don’t know the whole story any longer.

Or perhaps it is you who has discovered something new about what turns you on but the right opportunity to broach that topic with your lover never seems to present itself. It can be awkward to bring up, out of the blue, that you now fantasize about walking around with hot pasta stuffed into your underwear. She might think you are sauced.

At least once a year you should sit down together and take inventory of each other’s desires. Not as foreplay, that doesn’t really work in your favor the way you think it might, but as a frank discussion in a comfortable and non-sexual context. Share and listen without judgement or shame and be prepared to learn something new about your partner.

Fortunately, there are tools available to help you do this. Our friend, Dr. Charlie Glickman has written about this very exercise with more articulate insight than we could ever muster. We recommend reading his post on the topic but the gist of it is that you each complete a questionnaire to gauge your interests and then sit down together to review your respective answers. Because the questionnaire is written by a 3rd party there is no second guessing of motives like there might be if one of you came up with the questions yourself.

Jane and I did this recently, we used a Yes/No/Maybe list found here and actually learned some things about each other. Note that we’ve been married nearly 20 years… and are still figuring out what makes our desires tick. People change over time and it’s important to stay up to date with your partner. If you would like to see our completed Yes/No/Maybe questionnaires you can find them (merged into one document) here.

We encourage you to print up a couple blank lists for yourselves and spend an evening exploring territory you think you already know. The fun comes in the form of new discoveries and, of course, depends on openness and non-judgement.

After you do this exercise together, please come back and tell us (in the comments section) something you learned about each other and where that new knowledge might take you.

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