A “sex menu” can help you reclaim your sexual pleasure — here’s how to make one

It’s 2018 and women are still having fewer orgasms than men. Our sex lives deserve better.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd, author of the book The Case of the Female Orgasm, looked into the number of women who are unable to reach orgasm and estimates that it hovers somewhere around the 11 percent mark. The number is higher for women who aren’t orgasming as much as they could be (about 70 percent). The data that currently exists on the female orgasm and climax paints an inconclusive picture because so little scientific research about female orgasms exists — although, of course, tons of research exists on the male climax and male sexual dysfunction. Meanwhile, the word “vagina” still solicits side-eyes in polite conversation.

As a result, far too many women — myself included — have faked a well-timed moan, stroked the ego of a clueless sex partner, and wondered whether our partners were doing something wrong or if our vaginas were faulty.

We deserve sexual pleasure, and the solution might just lie in creating a sex menu.

A sex menu is a list of one’s sexual must-haves, sexual must-nots, and things to explore — ALL of which are important to be aware of when trying to end the cycle of trash sexual encounters.

It is my hope that we all reclaim our sexual pleasure in 2018. Sure, it’d be great to simply fall into fulfilling sex with a new partner through trial and error, but if you could eliminate preliminary awkwardness, avoid partners with incompatible interests, or achieve enjoyable sex more quickly, why wouldn’t you? The good news is that, a lot of the time, we can manage to reach mutual horizontal heaven by asking each other a quick, “What do you like?” And a sex menu really helps you answer that question.

Here’s where to start: Steady any judgement of your own sexual interests or anyone else’s sexual interests. Don’t yuck anybody’s yum, meaning that if someone wants to try kink and your strictly missionary, try to understand that both are acceptable and leave room for negotiation.

A sex menu should serve as a flexible guideline to make sex an explorative experience, not a race to orgasm.

How your sex menu looks is completely subjective and up to you. You can create it in a Google doc, with pen and paper, or turn it into a Venn Diagram. The most important part of the process is taking time to be honest with yourself about what absolutely turns you on (positions, sensations, scents) and what definitely turns you off. You also need to respect and state your definite boundaries. Then consider the things that you’ve wanted to try but haven’t, and reflect on why. Creating your sex menu may be as simple as making note of which sex acts make you say “Oh” and which make you say “Hell no.”

Your sex menu might look something like this sample menu here:

Things That Make Me Go Yasss: Sensual massages, foot rubs, light choking, BDSM, spanking, a partner who has just showered, sensation play (hot and cold), giving and receiving oral sex

Things That Make Me Go Home: A partner who never asks what I like, overzealous fingering, too much talking, not enough talking

Things I Might Try: Role playing, rope play, anal sex


Once you’ve created your menu, share it with your potential or current partner and have a conversation. Getting naked is supposed to be fun, so the conversation doesn’t need to feel like a drag. But remember, all parties involved should be taking mutual pleasure seriously. Too many of us have to unlearn the shame and misinformation around sex that we were taught growing up. Being honest with yourself and others about your needs might be the most crucial step.

So why not start by figuring out what’s on the menu?

Filed Under