“Normaling” – Kinky Folks and Vanilla Sex

I need to clear something up. Kinky folks do not use the term “vanilla” as a derogatory term. For us, it is simply a way to distinguishing those who are open to practicing kink and those who do not. Vanilla people overwhelmingly think the term is insulting. They believe it means boring, basic, unimaginative sex.

Since I released Love Letters, I have had dozens of conversations with people who identify as vanilla but HATE the term. They think it is being leveled as an insult. I had a conversation today where a person said, “If you are not using it as an insult, why do you refuse to have vanilla sex?!?” LMAO

First, I don’t refuse to have vanilla sex. In fact, sometimes, with the right person, I can enjoy it. Second, I do not think less of someone because they are not into the same things I am sexually. There is a ton of crap (including actual crap) that I am not into. I do not find puppy play, pony play, electric, scat, encapsulation or cream pies enticing at all. Plenty of people like this stuff and it works for them. I am glad they have people they can do that with and I am glad it is not me.

Vanilla is Boring Sex: False

One of my favorite episodes of 30 Rock is where Jenna and Paul develop “normaling.” On the show, these characters are deep into kink. One night, Paul comes home from an overseas trip. He tells Jenna that he is going to take a short nap then bring out the sex monkey he brought back from Asia. They end up spooning and sleeping through the night. The next day they are horrified. They then discover they like things like going to Costco and Ikea together to shop for the house. They only way they can make this behavior acceptable is to make it a fetish and call it “normaling.”

Like so many kinky folks, I really enjoy stuff that is not on the standard menu of sexual activities. My sexual response is largely tied to certain things like control and submission. However, I also really like some basic vanilla-ish sex with my primary. If I am totally honest, my version of vanilla is still probably more kinky than the “regular” sex represented in sex ed and most movies. There is often a power dynamic between me and my primary. This can be as simply as my requesting permission to cum and not cumming until he approves it. But, if you look at the specific acts of a given encounter, some are closer to “regular” vanilla sex than hard core kink.

Sometimes a vanilla-ish scene is simply more convenient. If I have fifteen minutes before I need to get ready for work, I am not going to take the time to get tied up, I am not going to have enough time to do a heavy impact scene, I am not going to do fire. I may just want to suck a dick, have a quick fuck, then start my day. Most of the time some level of kink is incorporated. This can be a heavy face fucking, maybe a little ass slapping, maybe some name calling, but it is limited and pretty light in terms of kink play.

Kinkerster Hate Vanilla Sex: False

Kinksters can’t make a heavy diet out of vanilla sex, and if vanilla is our only option we may have needs that go unmet, but we do not hate vanilla sex. The reaction many kinky folks have to vanilla sex that may appear to be negative on the surface comes from our experiences being trapped with only vanilla options. I don’t know a single kinky person who has not been in a relationship where their partner was not open to kink. Because they wanted to make something work with said person they tried to suppress their needs and stick to an all-vanilla regimen of sex. For most people in the kink community, this only sustains them for so long and then only having vanilla sex becomes an issue.

Alternatively, you have people like me who need some kink component to reach orgasm. I can enjoy vanilla sex (a lot) but I will not cum from it. If all I could do is vanilla sex, my masterbation time would get really involved so that I could get off. I am not opposed to vanilla sex, I just need more than that in a relationship.

Kinky People Think Less of Non-Kinky Folks: False

Most kinky people have friends that are vanilla. Like being part of any stigmatized community, most kinky folks feel a need to hide their kink from their vanilla friends. A lot of us have had the experience of telling someone about our kinky side then that person becomes uncomfortable and breaks off the friendship. If you have more than one or two of those experiences, it can be hard to believe that vanilla folks are not hyper-judgemental and mean.

We generally do not think less of you because of your sex life. Kinky folks are like gay folks in this regard. Heterosexuals spend a lot more time thinking about what gay folks do in bed than we spend thinking about hetero sex. Vanilla people are much more concerned with that kinky folks do than we are concerned with what you do. Just because we don’t think about your sex life does not mean we think less of you for your sex life.

Kinky folks tend to be thoughtful about sex and talk about it openly. We do, on occasion, judge non-kinky folks who are not open to talking about sexuality. Sex is an inherent part of the human experience. We live in a nation that is weird about its genitals. We like to exploit them, market them, and use them to titillate people, but we don’t want to have a rational or coherent conversation about healthy sex. That is not only unfortunate, but downright harmful. People who run from rational and non-pornographic discussions about sex are judged as limited and scared.

So that’s it. I am glad you are happy with your sex life. I don’t need you to try and get into whips and chains and the whole thing to think you are an exciting person. I just don’t want you to judge me as dirty and disgusting because I like things that are different than what you like. Enjoy your vanilla (maybe with a few jimmies and a cherry) and I am going to go dive in to my New York Super Fudge Crunch.

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