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What does “vanilla” mean in BDSM terminology?

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I have some friends and acquaintances who are pretty hardcore in the whole BDSM thing. In their community, I often hear them talk about someone being “vanilla” or “too vanilla,” sometimes even with scoffs and eye-rolling, so I gather it is something that’s beneath them, but I’m not sure if it’s even sexual or what.

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    Vanilla or vanilla sex is a term used by the BDSM subculture to describe what is considered to be conventional or “normal” sex. One possible definition of “vanilla” could be a sexual/erotic relationship or activity that falls within what is regarded as a normal range of sexual interests in a community, culture or subculture. In Western cultures, BDSM, fetish, and kink are considered to be outside the normal sexual range, which means that the term “vanilla” can be used to describe everything that does not involve such “unusual” preferences. In the BDSM community, vanilla sex is often looked down on and ridiculed as something dull, boring, and uninspiring. Therefore, it is often used in a derogatory or derisive way. It is also worth noting that people with BDSM preferences and tendencies also sometimes (or often) engage in “vanilla” sex, just like those with “vanilla” preferences sometimes venture into BDSM, usually in a very light and moderate way.

    Anne - Dec 28, 2016 | Reply

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    I generally agree with the previous answer but I’d like to add that even in conventional sexual practices, those that do not involve kink, fetish or BDSM, “vanilla” can mean just dull or uninventive sex, like face-to-face sex with man on top (classic missionary) and oral or anal sex are usually not consireded vanilla. Still, if we’re talking strictly BDSM here, BDSM folks will most likely use “vanilla” to describe those that are not into the lifestyle.

    rajesh - Dec 28, 2016 | Reply

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    Vanilla just means no kinky stuff or fetish, weird dressing, costumes, props, bondage, pain, etc.. In short, no fun stuff!

    manny85 - Dec 28, 2016 | Reply

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    Vanilla is term that BDSM people use to describe those that are not into their lifestyle. Just like vanilla is the most boring flavor, vanilla sex is the most boring kind of sex. It’s straight, conventional, normal sex like you imagine your parents have. For BDSM, anything that does not involve some form of kink is vanilla, even things that other perceive as pervy, such as anal. For us, anal is still vanilla, sorry.

    joseph - Dec 28, 2016 | Reply


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