Skip to main content

Calling all new lovers, newlyweds, and couples looking to explore or couples who are struggling with sexual boundaries! It’s time to take a Sexual Values Inventory with your partner.

Exploring one another’s sexual values can create a strong sexual foundation. It helps you better understand the similarities and differences you, and your partner have when it comes to sexual value. Taking a Sexual Values Inventory can also inspire long-term relationships to find new ways to explore and open lines of communication around sex.

Research shows that couples who talk about sex, have better sex. So let’s take a look at how you can do this with your partner to improve your sex life!

What are sexual values?

First things first, what exactly are sexual values? A sexual value is any sexual act, theme, concept, or choice that is most important to your sexual template. 

Sexual values include:

  • intercourse
  • exploration
  • oral sex
  • role play
  • monogamy
  • ethical nonmonogamy
  • safety
  • adventure
  • communication
  • passion
  • connection
  • a certain position
  • play
  • a kink
  • scenario
  • special occasion

These values create our core sexual identity. They also combine with other aspects like gender identity and sexual preferences.

Understanding you and your partner’s sexual values can help to define sexual compatibility and create a foundation to build a sexual life. Because we all know, sex you value is sex worth having.

How to determine sexual value?

Let’s play! Create a game with your partner. [ This could even be your Sexual Ritual for the week! ]

Step One: Individually answer the following question by brainstorming any answer no matter how “crazy” or “taboo” it might be. 

  1. What do you find excites, arouses, and turns you on in bed? 
  2. Have there been things in the past you enjoyed and would like to do again? 
  3. What do you need from your partner? 
  4. What don’t you like in bed? 
  5. What are your boundaries in sexuality? 

Step Two: Discuss your responses with your partner. After each question identify:

  1. What were the most important aspects of each answer?
  2. What do you both have in common?
  3. Where do you differ?

Step Three: List your top 10 most important sexual values.

  1. Are any of your top 10 absolute deal breakers?
  2. If so, what would you need if your partner couldn’t accommodate this? 
  3. What makes these values so vitally important to you?

Step Four: Share your top 10 list with your partner. Then work together to come up with a combined top 10 list. Use this exercise to discuss how you can create a sex life around these values.

Follow The Rules

It’s important to create a safe space to talk about sex in your relationship. To do so, be sure to follow the guidelines below so it’s easier to open up about the scariest parts of our sexuality.

  • Never yuck someone’s yum. Keep an open mind. No one is saying “let’s do this right now.” It’s counterproductive and will prevent you from finding a real understanding of your partner. Being sex-positive means accepting and understanding, not necessarily committing. 
  • This is not about who is right or wrong. 
  • Ask follow-up questions.
  • Take turns giving items off your list.
  • Use mirroring, empathy, and validation to respond even if what they say makes you feel uncomfortable in any way. Remember, this is only a conversation.

Have fun with it! The goal is to find shared sexual values and better understand your partner. However, if this exercise has brought up deep conflicts around sexual values, please find help from a trained couple’s counselor. We recommend an AASECT Certified sex therapist.

Couples Sex Therapy - Center for Holistic Mental Health and Sexual Therapy

Need a Cheat Sheet?

Download our Sexual Values questionnaire for you and your partners to compare notes with.

David Fishman