I'm Into Vanilla Sex — Why Does That Make Me Weird?

Being someone who talks openly about sex, feminism, sex positivity, and all the latest innovation on the pleasure market, I tend to wind up in an assumed bracket about my own sexuality.

People, particularly white, heterosexual cis-men (but definitely not limited to this group by any means), think that because I am a sex educator, writer, and feminist — I must have a wild sex life.

It’s assumed that I must have a sex swing hanging from my ceiling (a photographer shooting me for a feature actually asked me this once), that I must be in an open relationship and regularly engaging in group sex and threesomes, and that I must be fully ingrained in the BDSM community.

These stipulations seem to be a right of passage to attain street cred amongst people I interact with outside of the sex positive community.

Now, I do have a ton of sex toys and fetish gear. People send me sex toys to consider for articles all the time. My apartment is, no joke, filled with sex toys. I have boxes and boxes of them under my bed, in my closet, and in my bathroom cabinets. I give many away to friends who need them more than me. I bet I wouldn’t have as many friends if I weren’t known for being the vibrator fairy.

My partner and I use sex toys during sex, but we mostly stick to our established favorites.


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As for BDSM, I do consider myself kinky, but I’m not off in dungeons on weekends dominating men with a whip and a golden shower. I have a ton of friends who do engage in these practices and I applaud them. That just isn’t my experience (though I would like to try more, if I’m being honest). I would say I’m on the fringe of the community rather than an active member.

My BDSM practice mostly consists of handcuffs, spanking, and under-the-bed restraints in the comfort of my own home on my mattress. In a word, it is quite tame. That doesn’t make it better or worse than anything else.

Honestly, I’d say about 90% of the sex I have in my long-term monogamous relationship is “vanilla.”

My partner and I stick to our favorite positions (mostly missionary, the most underrated of sex positions), we often have lazy sex in the spoon position, and we sometimes skip foreplay because we’re tired. When I dress up in sexy lingerie and put on mood music, we don’t always stick with the role play and wind up just jumping in and doing it.

We are, believe it or not, a normal couple who does normal sex things just like anyone else. We are two people who know what the other likes and we do those things.

Not to say that kink isn’t “normal” per say — but rather that the kind of sex I have is average for the most part. Why is that weird?

I find the word vanilla reductive, but it serves its purpose. I’d call my classically vanilla sex much more mint n' chip.

I don’t want to feel weird or boring for having sex that I find wonderful and satisfactory.

Here is the thing, though: Being a member of this community and not having these wild exploits on the daily/weekly makes me a bit self-conscious. I feel like I’m not living up to some standard of “cool” that I should be employing; as if I were fraudulently presenting myself as a crazed sex-vixen when I am, in fact, a normal person.

This is, of course, a vastly paradoxical experience that most female-bodied people don’t have. Many women who are not actively involved in this kink and sex positive community wouldn’t want people to think they are into BDSM or other alternative sex practices because of the stigma such an idea carries with it.

What I’m dancing around here is how society views female sexuality and promiscuity. If you’re not a chaste woman or making men (or women) wait to have sex, you must be a slut. You lose value. Whereas, being a woman who openly talks about sex, my value seems to decrease if I’m not subscribing to all of the sex I write about.

I don’t want to feel weird or boring for having sex that I find wonderful and satisfactory. That feels enormously unfair. This should be true of every person who engages in whatever kind of sex they want. Whether your sex is “normal” or not, that should be on you to decide.

When did we start putting shame not only on having sex that is too wild and “out there,” but also sex that is too “boring”? How can anyone possibly exist and fuck comfortably under those conditions?

I enjoy the sex I have. I love it. Do I enjoy trying some weird shit here and there? Yes. Do I want to do interesting or elaborate sex games every time I have sex? No.

I don’t have to fit into some box that aligns with the vision of what other people expect of me. Neither do you. Neither do any of us. Maybe if we skipped all of the bullshit presumptions and stopped obsessing about the sex other people were having, we’d all be having more and better sex.

Enough with the shame already.


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