Home > rayne > You say “vanilla” like it’s a bad thing.

You say “vanilla” like it’s a bad thing.

July 14th, 2010

I’ve been meaning to weigh in on this since Mollena posted about Vanilla Bigotry.  But it sort of slipped my mind until I saw today’s Word of the Week over at Eden Cafe.  The word is “vanilla” and the article’s written by SarahBear.

I realize that there are kinksters who are all “Dude, y’all suck cause you’re not kinky!” And I agree with Mo and Sarah.  Those kinksters suck.  And a lot of them are full of it.  Cause I know very few people who are all kink, all the time.  A lot of them, present company included, spend most of their time doing more mundane, “vanilla” things, like cooking, cleaning, working, taking care of children, spending time with the family dog… 

I, too, have been in relationships with men and women who didn’t consider themselves kinky.  Oh, they liked kinky sex, and admitted to liking kinky sex.  Most of them, though, were more into light spankings, and maybe a silk scarf over the eyes.  Usually receiving.  One was rougher, and more controlling, but didn’t consider himself dominant.

I consider them vanilla.  If I were to have a conversation with them about it, they’d probably agree with me that they are vanilla.  Not knowing the first thing about the kink community (Though, you know, the only involvement we have with the kink community is online.  And I’m starting to think it may always be that way.  So maybe we’re not kinky, either.), they wouldn’t think being labeled vanilla was a bad thing.  They’d assume, and rightly so, that it’s just a way to determine where your kink streak stops.

And that’s how I feel about it.  I don’t see being vanilla as a bad thing.

I wrote an article for Eden a while back about how Stress Makes Me Feel Vanilla.  Maybe it came across as “Being vanilla sucks.”  And I’m not going to apologize for that because for me, and my relationship, being vanilla does suck.  I like being controlled, and spending a lot of my day being groped or beaten, and having raunchy, deviant sex.  I enjoy the hierarchy in our relationship.  I’m happy within the confines that I have asked for.

But that doesn’t mean that being vanilla sucks for you.  Or Johnny at the bank.  Or Martha at the bowling alley.  And I wasn’t saying it did.

I’m sure I’ve probably made statements a time or two about how vanilla folk will never understand the bond I have with M, or the reasons behind my submission, or how it all makes me feel.  I’ve probably joked about how they’re missing out.  Usually in response to questions like, “How can you stand it?” and statements like, “I’d kick my man’s ass if he tried to control me.”

I firmly believe you cannot fully understand the hows and whys of something without experiencing it.  And with attitudes like those, it’s impossible to experience anything with an open mind.  I also feel that if you refuse to at least try something, have an open mind about it, you’re missing out on the possibility of enjoying it.  And that goes for anything from Brussels sprouts to bedroom shenanigans.  From roller coasters to bedtime stories.

Left overs from how I was raised, I suppose.  And that’s your choice to make.  If you don’t want to try it, don’t!

It’s got nothing to do with me thinking my relationship with M is better than a less-than-kinky couple’s relationship.  I don’t think my bond with M is deeper or more meaningful.  I seriously doubt I love Him more fiercely than most women in happy marriages love their men.  I don’t believe everyone will enjoy kink if they just try it.  I don’t consider vanilla sex prudish.  I know vanilla people do kinky things from time to time.

I guess my philosophy sort of falls along the same line as my philosophy on race.  Your skin is a color, your culture is a lifestyle choice, and your personality is who you are.  There are a million and one variables within those parameters, and they all have influence on each other, but none of the variables can ever be better or worse than the others.  They’re just different, is all.

I know a lot of kinksters think a dominant/submissive type relationship is better than one that has no hierarchy (I always spell that word wrong.  I before E, Rayne, damn!).  And I know they can be dicks with their I’mbetterthanyouitis.

But saying it’s “typical” of kinksters to be vanilla bigots, is just like saying most humans are racist.  Most men are misogynists.  Most women are feminazis.  Most pit bulls are violent.  It’s simply not true.

In a nation where only 56.8% of the population voted in the (so far) most famous election in our history, you simply cannot base fact on the vocal majority.  Because you’d be surprised how much of the silent minority disagrees.

Besides…

There ain’t nothin’ boring about vanilla.  Just sayin’.

<3
~rayne

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  1. July 15th, 2010 at 02:14 | #1

    Rayne,

    Unfortunately, there’s a very human tendancy to think of one’s own way of doing things as superior. It takes something special to be able to see how someone else may well be doing things in a way that is best for them; things like imagination and empathy.

    One thing, though. While it may be true for many, I don’t think your statement, I firmly believe you cannot fully understand the hows and whys of something without experiencing it, is true for everyone. Some of us (such as myself) are quite capable of putting ourselves in another’s shoes.

    Dave

  2. July 15th, 2010 at 07:22 | #2

    @dweaver999 While it’s true that many are very capable of empathizing or imagining what something may be like, the fact of the matter is there are emotions and sensations involved with just about everything that you (general, not specific) really can’t understand without having experienced them. You (again, general, not specific) may think you know, but more likely than not, if/when you do experience it, chances are you’ll be caught completely off guard.

    Or maybe that’s just my experience. ~shrug~ Who knows?

  3. July 15th, 2010 at 08:11 | #3

    I think it varies by person. Some people are capable of empathizing without having actually experienced the thing. Others have no empathy at all.

    And still others think they understand something while, sometimes willingly, not caring about truly understanding.

    So I think both is true, but it depends on the person involved.

  4. July 16th, 2010 at 06:12 | #4

    Rayne,

    You might be right about the being caught off guard thing; something that I talk about, in a round about way, in my newly submitted guest post. For myself, however, I’ve been told several times that I’ve managed to capture the emotions of submission so well by my readers; that I;ve expressed what they actually feel.

    I do, though, see how I might be over generalising from those comments. Since my writing, being primarily fiction, doesn’t attempt to empathize with any particular person, when people identify with what I write, there might be a bit of wish fulfillment involved on their part (and let’s not even get into how scary it is to have someone use your fiction as a basis for their own reality).

    What I do know is that it certainly <feels like I undertsand where slaves and submissives are coming from in general (i.e. I can easily understand what they’re talking about when they try to explain their feelings). Oddly enough, I have a much harder time getting a dominant’s view point; even though I self identified as a dominant initially.

    I do think that the truly empathetic person is quite rare and that most people have no idea what others really feel like. In some ways, a high level of empathic ability is a curse.

    Dave

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