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Vanilla sex is a term describing any sort or sexual intercourse classed as plain or conventional by social standards. The term was coined by the kink community to describe sex occurring outside their community.
It suggests an old favorite, such as vanilla ice-cream. However, it has come to imply sex that's dull or unadventurous.
Intercourse in plenty of different sex positions commonly falls under the vanilla sex category. However, this is such a subjective term that no one can really dictate which positions are included. Definitions of what is vanilla and what isn’t can also vary.
Each culture has its own idea of what conventional sex is supposed to be like. Cultural subgroups, such as the BDSM community, may also have different ideas about what constitutes vanilla sex than mainstream society.
While there is some dissension, many people would agree that the most popular vanilla sex position is missionary. Most people would also agree that vanilla sex takes place between two naked people in a bed. These probably have real feelings for one another, usually love or at least like.
The sex feels straightforward, without advanced positions or a number of different positions. In most people’s eyes, vanilla sex does not involve sex toys, props, costumes, or additional people.
Despite the term’s negative connotation, vanilla sex can be sensual, romantic and emotional (much like many other flavors!). It is also very popular. According to Adam & Eve's 2012 "Great American Sex Survey," of the 1,000 American adults asked to choose their favorite sex positions, 36 percent chose "female on top" and 33 percent chose "missionary.” Sex enjoyed by such large percentages of the population can probably be classed as vanilla sex.
People who freely admit they enjoy vanilla sex insist this kind of sex has many perks. They say it is very intimate and romantic. Some people insist they’ll only have missionary sex when they really care for someone.
While some people feel more vulnerable emotionally during vanilla sex, others say it feels safe and comfortable. Trying new things can be very confronting, while vanilla sex lets people stay in their comfort zone.
While some sexual experiments are great, trying new things doesn’t always pay off. Vanilla sex is usually reliable and satisfying though. There’s a reason the positions and habits of vanilla sex are so popular.
While it is popular, the social stigma attached to vanilla sex persists. Some people do not want to admit they enjoy vanilla sex because they think they will seem prudish or unadventurous.
The mainstream acceptance of kink through the 50 Shades series and proliferation of online porn has made people even more anxious and uncomfortable about admitting they appreciate vanilla sex. Many people compare their own sex lives to the ones they see in pop culture and porn and worry that they don’t measure up.
In truth though, there is no right or wrong way to have sex. It can be vanilla or kinky; what matters more than then kind of sex you’re having is whether you and your partner, or partners, enjoy it.
If you're just tipping your toe into the world of BDSM, you may be unsure where to even start when it comes to planning out a scene.
We made this quiz to provide you with your next, or first, BDSM scene based on your own tastes and desires!