I’m going to be honest, until the birth of everything 50 Shades, I had never heard the term vanilla before. I could see it turning into a terribly awkward conversation since I probably would have assumed they were referring to my skin tone and not my sex life. Fortunately, it was never mentioned to me and such embarrassment was avoided, however, the word itself sparked some questions within myself about my sex life and my preferences. Am I vanilla?
I’m not at all a stranger to sexual activities and after eight years passing since I lost my virginity it’s pretty easy to assume I’ve had my fair share of experiences both between the sheets and not, and that would be accurate. I’ve always had an adventurous side to me, wanting to get frisky in less than private places, trying out new positions, and have an extensive list of fantasies that I’m working toward acting on. My sex life is far from boring and unsatisfying, but some might consider it to be vanilla.
What’s so wrong with being vanilla? Yes, being adventurous is fun and exciting, but does everyone really need to be into bondage and fetish in order to be considered anything other than boring in bed? I love some chocolate ice cream with peanut butter and chocolate swirl with chunks of every kind of chocolaty goodness in it, but nothing goes better with warm apple pie than some good vanilla ice cream. Having a more vanilla lifestyle certainly isn’t right for everyone, but it’s sad there’s such a negative light on something that is satisfying to many.
Not everyone has kinky fetishes, I happen to be married to one of those people. Our sex life isn’t any less satisfying because we often use basic positions, almost always have sex in our bed, and don’t engage in any heavy BDSM type of play. I’m not even very educated on that lifestyle. My point is, our sex is extremely satisfying to both of us. We’re still trying new things and always have an open mind when it comes to our pleasure, but we’re far from being a kinky couple, and that’s okay.
Being vanilla doesn’t mean someone’s inexperienced, doesn’t mean they don’t know what real pleasure is like, doesn’t mean they’re not willing to try new things, and certainly doesn’t mean their sex life is boring. Vanilla doesn’t equal bad in the same way kinky doesn’t equal bad. It’s a preference, a lifestyle choice, and shouldn’t be looked down upon just because it isn’t what you choose for your sex life.
The Urban Dictionary says that Vanilla Sex is:
There are other examples as well, but none of them sound positive. Here’s a snippet of what Wikipedia had to say:
The term vanilla derives from the use of vanilla extract as the basic flavoring for ice cream, and by extension, meaning plain or conventional.
Well, that certainly sounds a little bit better, but doesn’t exactly have a positive feel to it. Basically it makes it sound like anything that seems common sexually is vanilla; plain, regular, boring, conventional….is this really me? Is this really the relationship I have with my husband?
Now, I can certainly say there are many times my husband and I stay in one basic position from start to finish. There are times where it’s all lovey-dovey and sweet and happy. There are times where it’s wham bam and we’re done. But, what about the other times? What about the activities we engage in that others wouldn’t consider common?
I don’t think there are any solid lines when it comes to your sex life. I don’t think it’s as simple as being one or the other; vanilla or kinky. I think my husband and I kind of line up in the middle. Someone who’s quite kinky would look at us like we’re vanilla, but someone who’s more vanilla would think we’re kinky. We all define things in different ways, none of them are wrong as long as it’s what we want for ourselves.
Just try to keep in mind, even though you might enjoy the super chocolaty, nut filled, peanut butter swirled, whip cream covered, and cherry topped kind of sex life, doesn’t mean a little vanilla can’t be satisfying too.
I think you are right, but then again for the most part I think you fart rainbows and piss excellence because you are getting more unabashed in your acceptance of you. I think your points about there being nothing wrong with being vanilla are VERY valid, and kinkier fare isn’t interesting to some people.
You know my opinion: If it feels good and it isn’t hurting anyone (at least not more than they want to be hurt) then go for it!
Keep writing from the heart Popsie! It’s awesome to know that in the realm we deal in (We talk to some kinky fucks **I love you guys!** all day long) that you are happy with your sex life the way it is, instead of comparing to others.
Totally agree. While I do have a BDSM/kinky element to my sex life, I have always avoiding using the term “vanilla” to describe someone who is not into kinkiness as I almost felt it was like I was calling them ‘plain’ or ‘boring’ I tend to think of it more along the lines of ‘satisfied or unsatisfied.’ I mean, if whatever you do in the bedroom blows your mind, then how can that ever be plain? YKINMK.
I completely hear you. A vanilla lifestyle shouldn’t be frowned upon any more than a BDSM lifestyle. The point is what you, personally find sexually fulfilling. And what classifies as vanilla is in the eye of the beholder, anyway, isn’t it?
I’m glad you discussed this openly – it is pretty annoying in the BDSM community when people say ‘nillas and so on. I’ve never used ‘vanilla’ as an insult because I don’t think it is one. It’s actually the type of ice cream I prefer and when people imply kinky sex is like chocolate ice cream it just seems weird. (Also I hate chocolate ice cream…)
Thank you all for your genuine comments! This is a subject that’s been on my mind a good deal lately as I’ve been sort of sitting back and watching other bloggers and friends of mine. I feel like I don’t fit in because my lifestyle isn’t even close to how many of you live. And while I’m totally fine with that, it sometimes feels like I’m looked down upon for it.
Your words have all been wonderful and I appreciate every one of them!
If there wasn’t variety in the community, and all of us were in to the same things, can you imagine it? All our blogs would read the same, all our reviews would match each others, and so on. With variety comes different opinions and you can bet your ass there are just as many people interested in the same things you are, and read your blog for that exact reason, because they can associate with your views better than they can my views, or another persons views. I am sorry you were made to feel like you don’t fit in, but as far as I am concerned I love your blog and would be sad if you were not around. Don’t even try to fit in. Be your own person, because that’s where your honest opinions come from and it is just as valid as anyone elses. You are perfect as you are.
So much this! If it’s consentual and only involves adult humans I applaud you.
Turning sex into a competition doesn’t help anyone and kink vs non kink just garuntees that people continue to misunderstand and avoid each other. (Which sucks for curious folks like me!)
I personally don’t associate the word “vanilla’ with anything bad. Sure, some people say it as an insult, but any label can be said in a derogatory tone or context to become a slur. I figure in order to competently discuss kink and sexuality, we need to have a label for non-kinky versions of sex and it’s the best I know of. Even though I find it’s very much a spectrum.
I grew up thinking that everyone was kinky. As far as I knew, vanilla — which to me was MORE desirable on the rare times it actually struck a chord with me — only actually happened in movies. Seriously. Discovering sensuality and learning to tune into the amazing depth of “vanilla” intimacy has been truly an experience beyond my dreams, but it took/is taking BDSM to get to that point.
Who knows where I’ll end up, but to me it’s not about whether I’m kinky or vanilla or how much of either I do, it’s about discovering my sexuality and just letting it flow to whatever the moment brings. If someone is being competitive or derogatory about labels then I guess I just don’t really notice these days.