The Frisky Feminist

Vanilla, Rocky Road, and All the Flavors In Between

Q: What do you do when you find yourself dependent on a particular kink to get turned on or get off? I’m into kink-light (hair pulling, some domination and restraint, but nothing too major) and I am totally ok with all this. But, it’s not what I want all of our sex to be, and I find myself getting so much more turned on when that’s a part of our activities, and it’s gotten to the point where I’m not particularly into it until my boyfriend starts pulling my hair or getting a little rough. Basically: how do you balance kinks and fetishes with a desire to continue getting turned on by and getting off on “vanilla” sex?

Vanilla (whose name comes from the same Latin root as “vagina,” incidentally) was long considered a rare and exotic spice, unknown to Europe until the 1520’s, when Cortés brought it, along with chocolate, to the Old World. Due to the sensitivity of the plant and its symbiotic relationship with bees native to Central America, it was too expensive to produce in large quantities, and even today, it is the second most expensive spice after saffron. It possesses a strong, unique flavor that is highly prized for exquisite desserts, perfumes, and liqueurs. So we have no idea why vanilla has become a synonym for uninteresting or mild.

But on to your question. How long have you and your boyfriend been exploring lightly kinky sex? If it’s a relatively new addition to your sex life, the answer may be as simple as giving it some time for the novelty to ebb a bit – like when you get a new blender, you excitedly make smoothies at least once a day for a week or so, then your enthusiasm tapers a bit and you only make them maybe once a month. That’s not to say that kink must or should become less of a part of your sex life over time, but after a while you may begin to see it as just one of many components of your sexuality and your sex life together.

If this doesn’t or hasn’t happened, what then? A couple can have all sorts of different sex for all kinds of reasons, and maybe trying to foster an atmosphere that will put you in the mood for a less kinky variety might help you enjoy vanilla sex more. Really lazy morning sex or an end-of-the-workday erotic massage may not lend themselves to handcuffs and hair-pulling as much as a spur-of-the-moment kitchen fuck or you’re-back-from-a-long-trip-and-I’ve-been-so-horny sex probably would. If there are any times that you’ve noticed you crave vanilla sex more or enjoy it more, think about what the context is and what you might be able to do to foster similar sexytime circumstances.

We also think it’s good to remember that there’s no solid line dividing kinky and vanilla sex – you can always introduce elements of one into the other. Punctuate a slow, sensual massage with the occasional slap; look deep into your partner’s eyes and tell him you love him as he holds you down and pulls your hair. Many couples probably do something like this without really thinking about it, so it may be worth remembering that just because you like some kinky elements thrown into your sex, that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of enjoying vanilla sex. Expanding what you think of as vanilla and as kinky may be helpful – if otherwise “ordinary” sex ends with your boyfriend giving your hair a pull, was that vanilla or kinky? It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing, and it probably often isn’t solidly one or the other.


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By paperispatient

I recently earned my MA in women’s studies. I enjoy reading, working out, playing Scrabble, watching cheesy movies, and cooking yummy vegetarian meals with my partner and Frisky Feminist co-author, Future Mr. paperispatient.

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