Spend any time reading about sex and the word vanilla will soon emerge as a description for ordinary or routine-type sex – terms that never sound particularly flattering, especially when they hit a little too close to home. After all, who would choose to have routine or ordinary sex when there are so many other, more favorable adjectives to embody?
Still, words are only symbols used to provide understanding, and as we all know, often leave us wanting or confused. This is especially true when it comes to matters that, like sex, are close to our hearts, or where we often feel most vulnerable. But the word ‘vanilla’ does not have to suggest anything derogatory, and like sex, can take on new meaning with a subtle shift or change. Simply add an adjective to the word and suddenly vanilla becomes exotic; something like, “Madagascar vanilla”. Vanilla can also take on new meaning when you have tried other favors and yet choose it over them all.
So what flavor is your sex? Are you in a vanilla world without having any other choices, or have you sampled the full menu and choose vanilla nonetheless? The difference is considerable and worthy of any effort to fully understand. It’s answer also dispels the common misconception that practicing what is commonly called fetish or kinky sex would somehow “ruin” a person’s enjoyment of “regular” sex. Consider this example:
Many of us can remember or imagine the excitement teenagers feel, simply laying fully clothed next to a crush. Even before the first kiss, bodies are alive with exquisite pleasure in anticipation of joy that has only been imagined. As time goes on, however, the thrill of these simple acts is often eclipsed by new, more exciting experiences.
This was certainly the case for me, and yet as I became increasingly interested and experienced in sex, I eventually learned how to enjoy great waves of sexual pleasure without any physical contact from a partner. With conscious effort and practice, anyone can learn to share this experience with any active partner, even when fully clothed, perhaps not even touching.
The same can be said of the most common sexual acts. When people learn through sexual experimentation and play to embrace and embody the full range of what our sexuality has to offer, every sexual act takes on new meaning. Even the good ol’ missionary position can be transformed into Madagascar vanilla.
So if you find yourself in a place where vanilla is anything but exotic, and you have an interest in learning more, then find relief in knowing that the research has already been done and that many models of proven methods for experiencing sexual play that can redefine vanilla exist. To experience them, you may have to overcome some conditioning first, however, since our culture generally considers anything other than vanilla sex to be categorically kinky, fetish or sexual spiritual nonsense. So rather than submit to our culture’s view that anything other than vanilla sex is for the fringes of society, shift your perspective and recognize that what some call freaky or abnormal may, in fact, be a proven method of sexual exploration that has been practiced for hundreds of years by untold numbers of people. Once you are free of the conditioning, a world of possibilities exists.
As with anything in life, the desire to change is what first sets us in motion, and if it’s change we want, then it’s the motion that will get us there. With sex, there is no difference, except that it also has the added feature of being a subject that exposes some of our greatest sensitivities; making change just a bit harder to manage, particularly if there’s a relationship involved. The good news is that moving beyond vanilla does not require fulfilling some elaborate fantasy. It simply requires any small step in the direction of any sexual desire or interest.