Sex Menu: A Beginner’s Guide for Doms and Subs

A beginners guide to sex menus in BDSM relationships

A sex menu is something people haven’t heard of, and if they have, haven’t got around to completing one.

After reading this guide, I hope you’ll consider filling one in. I promise it’ll help you have even hotter, more intense sex, and spice up your dom/sub relationship.

What is a sex menu?

A sex menu is a list of sexual and BDSM activities against which you place a score indicating how much you’d like to try that thing.

Sex menus are typically written out in spreadsheets (I prefer Google Sheets so the results can be shared between partners) for easy filtering and discussion of results.

You may also hear a sex menu as being referred to as a ‘desires list’ or ‘sex act menu’.

Why create a sex menu?

There are four main reasons why you should consider creating a sex menu:

1. Foster good communication

Good communication is the pillar of a Dom sub relationship.

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But talking about sex is difficult for people, especially if you’ve just started dating someone.

I remember being in relationships where I was anxious to bring up some of the more taboo and dominant sex acts, such as anal, facials, sex without condoms, choking, and spanking.

What would my partner think of me for even contemplating this type of stuff? She’d probably assume I was the most disgusting sexual deviant the world had ever seen, pack her things, storm from the house, then tell all her friends on social media what a pervert I was.

Of course, this never happened. But the anxiety in all of use tends to rear up when we have to ask our partners to try something new sexually.

All of my partners have been very supporting, open-minded, and often very up for all of the above. And we muddled through approaching these taboo subjects with traditional British humour and sarcasm, joking about being “done up the bum” until one of us eventually said “let’s do it for real”.

But you’ll never know how your partner is going to react until you do finally confess to all your kinks.

There’s something about a sex menu which makes the whole process easier.

There’s a sense of permission to speak about sex granted by the unknown person who wrote all the acts down, reducing them to letters on a page, destigmatising them and reducing the associated shame.

Much like the famous Milgram experiment where volunteers proceeded to deliver increasingly severe electric shocks to an unknown person in a separate room all because someone in a position of power was telling them it was okay, despite the screams of the victim being audible.

No need to speak the words out loud, but instead a single tap of your finger on the keyboard marks your interest level.

And after that, the discussion with your partner becomes a little easier.

2. Discover new things

A sex menu lists out a whole load of sexual activities, ones you may not have even heard of before (sounding and sploosh, anyone?).

With the list in front of you, you’ll be able to further your knowledge of BDSM, looking up anything you’ve not come across (no pun intended), and thinking whether it’s something you’d like to try.

Even if you aren’t into BDSM, I’d highly recommend incorporating a sex menu into your sex life.

3. Give and get consent

A guiding philosophy of BDSM is SSC – Safe, Sane and Consensual. Because sexual activities between a dom and a sub are typically more extreme than those of traditional relationships, it becomes even more important to ensure consent has been given by both parties.

Discussing and completing a sex menu is a form of consent.

If someone marks a sexual activity as something there ‘really want to do’, then that is partial consent. And if you discuss their score and decide to try it when next visit the bedroom, that’s further consent.

(You still need to triple check with them when you do eventually do get round to it though, as they may have changed their mind.)

A sex menu makes it far easier to ensure you are engaging in BDSM activities in a safe, sane and consensual manner.

4. Minimise risk

Some sex menus have space to alert your partner to any medical conditions or allergies you may have. This includes sexually transmitted infections.

No-one wants to witness an allergic reaction when you whip out the peanut butter and spread it over her body.

Write down anything your partner needs to know to ensure your play remains safe at all times.

How do you create a sex menu?

I don’t recommend creating one from scratch. Instead have a google and find a template someone has already created.

As mentioned, I highly recommend finding one in an easy to share format such as Google Sheets.

Essentially the first column contains all the sex acts, grouped by category. The second column contains a score, indicating how much you want to try the activity. And a third column is for you to add notes to explain the reason behind your score.

The bottom of the sex menu leaves space to list out medical conditions, hard limits, and things not on the menu you’d be interested in trying, and any other comments.

Scoring systems

I’ve seen a number of different scoring systems you can use, depending upon your preference:

  • Green, Amber, Red. Mark anything you love as Green, anything you want to try but haven’t as Amber, and anything you definitely don’t want to try as Red. For me this scale is a bit limiting.
  • Scale from 0 to 6: 0 = hard limit, 1 = soft limit, 2= if I must, 3 = let’s try it, 4 = yes please, 5 = I want this, 6 = Fetish need. It’s a good scale, but there is some overlap. For example, what’s the difference between ‘I want this’ and ‘let’s try it’.
  • Scale from 1 to 5: 1. Absolutely Not, 2. Not right now, 3. Meh, 4.Interested…, 5. Yes, please! I really like this scale. It’s simple, clear, and broad enough to spark discussion.

Feel free to make your own scale up too, if these don’t suit you. A sex menu is meant to be a framework for discussion. As long as your scoring system promotes that, you’re golden.

Filling out your sex menu

I recommend completing your menu in private, without your partner present. Without the pressure of them looking over your shoulder you are going to be more honest.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you go:

  • Be honest. There’s no point in filling in your sex menu if you aren’t going to be truthful. Trust your partner will not judge you. And if they do, maybe it’s worth considering if their values match yours.
  • Don’t put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Normally I am all for empathy and thinking about other people. But this is YOUR sex menu. You may be tempted to score a sex act highly because you know he loves them even if you don’t. Score it fairly, according to your preferences. Don’t be a people pleaser on this.
  • Have fun. This isn’t a school exam. Complete it seriously but not solemnly. After all, we are talking sex here which should be one of the most fun things you can do!

Have the discussion

Once you’ve filled in your menu, schedule a time when both of you can sit together to discuss. Make sure you are free from distractions (kids, phones, TV in the background), and in a neutral setting (i.e. not in bed).

Foster a sense of openness by agreeing to answer honestly, and not to judge each other’s scores. Approach the discussion with a sense of curiosity.

You may like very different things – that’s okay.

Be curious as to what it is about that act which she enjoys. If you are not open to trying it, you may find an alternative way to elicit the same feelings for her using another method.

As you go, make a list of 5 things which you both want to try in the next 30 days. This is your sex action plan!

Incorporate some of these activities when you next play.

Revisit your menu

Over time your tastes will change. I’ve been with partners who had a low score for butt plugs, but six months later absolutely loved them.

Review your sex menu a couple of times a year to track how your preferences change, and also to find more things you might like to try with a partner.

Example sex menu

Below is a screenshot of a sex menu I completed in March 2020 in Google Sheets. This one uses the 0 to 6 scale and has space to add comments (I really need to go back through and add more comments!)

example sex menu
Part of a completed sex menu

You can download the template below.

Conclusion

A sex menu is a useful tool to have in your dom sub relationship arsenal. Even if you are only dating, a sex menu makes it more likely you will get what you want in the bedroom (and out of it) in a safe and consensual manner.

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