In Praise of Vanilla: Sexual Expression and Acceptance

Things on here have been seriously heavy on the kink side lately, so I think it’s time to dial it back a notch, and give some equal share time to the other tasty aspects of sexuality.  When I started this blog I didn’t want to focus on just the kinky aspects alone, because my sexuality has really run the gamut, and all of it has been a delicious and valid.  Actually, I think experiencing various forms of kink has made vanilla even better.  Maybe this is because my vanilla isn’t really vanilla, but who is to say for sure.  Sometimes vanilla gets a bad rap in the kink community, and I think unfairly so.  If we can hold space for everyone to have and enjoy their own personal kink of choice without judgement, then why can we not extend that same acceptance to those for whom vanilla is their lovestyle of choice?

Photo Courtesy of Make Better Food

I’m the kind of gal who likes to sample all the flavors, and my tastes are continually changing.  I find it difficult to pick a “favorite” anything.  I have certain things I enjoy more than others, and just what that “flavor” may be, vacillates depending on any number of variables.  I think it’s fair to say that the majority of us are also not static creatures; our desires and tastes ebb and flow, grow and change as we do as individuals.  I don’t experience and express my sexuality the same way I did as a teenager, or even as I did throughout my 20’s, because I’m just not the same person I was then that I am now.  What I think of as vanilla sex now, is definitely not even close to what I once might have defined it as, but that doesn’t mean that one is any less valid than the other.  My sexuality at each stage was congruent to who I was as a person, and where I was along my own path of growth.

As we move through our lives, we continually meet people who will alter the person we know ourselves to be currently. Through our intimate connections with others, whether emotional or physical, or a combination thereof, we are transformed.  With the addition of each interaction, and the intensity and depth of the connection, we are inextricably changed.  Whether this change is conscious or unconscious, by choice or consequence, it is impossible to remain a constant in the wake of such forces.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical
substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed”  – Carl Jung, psychiatrist (1875-1961)

I think those of us who have been involved with either the kink community, or even just exploring kink privately, feel like we have been so unfairly judged, and wrongfully dismissed, by those who are purely vanilla, that there is some residual anger and resentment there.  We’re a little raw from being called “weird” or “wrong” by those who have a more closed-minded, color inside the lines idea of what sexual expression is, and so we tend to transfer all of those feelings of being rejected and sullied, onto the entire vanilla lovestyle.  Unfortunately, that’s a blanket judgement made about an entire group of people, when perhaps only a percentage of that group feels that way.  In reality, this is just as unfair to those who practice vanilla sex solely, as it is to those of us who are unfairly labeled for exploring and enjoying kink.  Those of us that do so are only perpetuating that same rigidity.  And that means that those of us who think we are somehow more open-minded, more advanced in our being because of this, are in actuality, hypocrites.

While I have been using the terms of “vanilla” vs. “kink” speaking about the expression of sexuality as if it were these two areas were polar opposites, it’s important to remember and acknowledge that there is a lot of gray area here in both.  It brings to mind the Kinsey Scale of Sexual Orientation in which Kinsey proposed that only a small minority of us are actually completely straight or gay, and that most of us are on a varying scale of degrees of bisexuality.

“Males/Females do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.” – Kinsey, (1948)

These kinds of dichotomies can often be witnessed in other areas related to sexuality and relationships, such as in the great debate that exists between those who are monogamous vs. polyamorous.  The Poly community, while professing a more progressive stance on love and relationship, discounts those who would consider themselves monogamous, as people who are somehow emotionally or spiritually stunted in their understanding and expression of love.  The monogamy community, while not wanting to be discounted and belittled for their choice of a single partner relationship, condemns those who choose Polyamory (multiple-partner relationships with full disclosure), as unscrupulous and promiscuous heathens, who only seek pleasure for pleasure’s sake, at the cost of experiencing real emotional depth and connection.  Essentially, both communities want the same thing: to both be seen as valid and acceptable relationship choices, with neither one or the other being the superior choice.  Regardless, the argument between them still remains despite this, with both sides failing to understand that by invalidating the other, they also invalidate their own position as well.  It is imperative that both sides understand this in order to move past this impasse, and grow.

Photo Courtesy of The Cut AboveI do not ascribe my lovemaking to any singular definition. The expression of my sexuality is fluid, and without the confines of a if “this, than “that”” mentality.  I am neither vanilla or kink solely.  It may seem trite to say, but I am much more a connoisseur of “swirl”, when faced with the choice of either vanilla or chocolate.  I want the freedom to choose what I want sexually in the moment, instead of feeling like I have somehow backslid in my personal evolution because I don’t always want sex to include some level of BD/SM or kink play.  Sometimes, just two naked people, physically and emotionally, is pretty damn hot.  And sometimes two people with some wrists restraints, a spreader bar, and a paddle is too.  Both are equally capable of producing mind-blowing, ecstatically juicy results!

It’s important that we all recognize that sexuality and relationship born of consent, is an individual expression, and that no one’s personal expression of it is any more valid than any other.  We all bring to our sexuality a unique bouquet of biology, background, and experience, and that these are often in relation to who we are in that moment; no more or less progressive or evolved than another.  Embrace each others differences, respect each others boundaries, and be open to the possibility that sexuality is more than just how you experience it as an individual.

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9 comments

  1. charmedbylove · September 24, 2012

    this was one hell of a great post. you’ve definitely reminded us all that the human character is fluid to change, but this change has to be mindful of ethical considerations as well.

    • erogenoUSblog · September 25, 2012

      Thank you so much, CBL! Our growth is enhanced by allowing others the same space we wish for ourselves.

  2. Fern DeVilliers · September 24, 2012

    Loved this. And it’s so true. We are all changing, all the time. The time in our lives, with children, without, who we are socializing with, romantically, sexually, whatever, it all comes into play.

    • erogenoUSblog · September 25, 2012

      Thanks so much, Fern! Just read this quote by Anais Nin this morning: “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” Hail to those of us in flux!

  3. Redhead Bedhead · September 25, 2012

    Love this! I think we get caught of in the idea of inclusivity being about making the space for the range of non-traditional or “different” experiences and in that is a danger of forgetting that true inclusivity doesn’t boot out those whose activities were not being called into question – it includes all of us. Does that make any sense?

    • erogenoUSblog · September 25, 2012

      That makes total sense! Well said, RB. You take what you want, and leave the rest. Everything has something to offer, to contribute, and to learn and grow from. In holding space for others, we are essentially giving ourselves more freedom to grow as well.

  4. Pete Peterson · September 26, 2012

    There is a James Blish story where the protagonist, a Jesuit (!) is musing over the fate of a character who has just been killed and says to himself “And Agronski had wanted nothing to change, and was now unchangeably nothing.” I have remembered that line for a very long time, and do not want that said of me.

  5. Pingback: Sex-Positivity, Autonomy and Why I Don't Sleep With Women | Good Vibrations Blog
  6. Pingback: Well, Now What?: The Making of a Sexual Bucket List | erogenoUS

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