Take a look at the trend of vanilla shaming, and why vanilla sex is actually amazing.
Vanilla Shaming is the New Kink Shaming
The kink community is well known for being tolerant, open-minded, ethical, and consent-oriented—an alternative lifestyle with its own rules outside the mainstream. The “old guard” of kink wanted to live and let live, to experience their own sexuality fully and not have dominant socio-sexual narratives imposed on them. They weren’t very concerned with what others did in the bedroom, either, and were not interested in imposing their kinks or philosophies outside of their community.
I would argue that the very spirit of kink is “to each their own.” Tolerance is key, and you don’t kink shame other forms of sexual expression just because they don’t match your own. Nor do you shame people for vanilla sex or expect everyone to get off on BDSM or a million other fetishes.
The past few years, however, with the mainstreaming of kinky sex, we have also seen the rise of vanilla shaming.
We can be thankful that the dominant narrative pathologizing kinky desires has become the fringe rather than the consensus, and kink-shaming in circles from entertainment to medicine are no longer acceptable. However, social media, especially TikTok, has a vanilla-shaming trend that is extremist, calling people out publicly for their private lives.
Normally I would be unconcerned by the trends that rise and fall on TikTok, and might not give a flying flicker if the horny mean girls and rude boys were whining online. But the trends are so extreme and so prevalent that they have been reported on widely, from USA Today to Vice Magazine.
The new Scarlet Letter is not adultery or slut shaming, but reserved for those who supposedly like boring sex. We are not talking about good-natured ribbing, either, but about millions piling on unsuspecting people on social media because they don’t like public sexual violence videos or images like choking or beating women up, with captions like “If you gotta consent, it’s not actual punishment.”
The vanilla-shaming trend has meant a huge escalation in young women reporting being bruised, struck, spit on, or choked against their will during sexual encounters that began consensually. Disturbingly violent home videos are making their rounds, too, and folks who are “just not that into” kinky stuff are mocked and shamed viciously as prudes, boring, or people who haven’t accepted their sexuality.
This is NOT in sync with the core values of the kink community. The written and unwritten guidelines that govern and unify the BDSM, kink, and polyamory communities are ethical and value consent, respect, tolerance, and safety!
This has all led to another backlash, where #kinktok hashtags take on the task of educating and re-educating on the basic values of consent, respect, and tolerance.
Why Vanilla Sex is Good Sex
As a kinky, polyamorous, promiscuous, sex-loving woman, I’d like to add my two cents, in praise of vanilla sex.
1. Vanilla sex is respectable sex.
No one has any right to impose their own sexuality on another, period. We don’t mock or shame people’s sexuality, however it manifests. Whatever floats your boat floats mine! I do not have the right to your private fantasy space or relationships, and what you do in that palace. This is true whether it is religious or political groups aiming to suppress LGBTQ sexuality or kinky sexuality, or vice versa.
2. Vanilla sex IS kinky.
Sex is a spectrum and each person defines for themselves what expressions feel good or not. Pleasure is kinky. Giving and receiving love is radical. If whips and chains excite you, the way they excite me, yay for us. If extreme monogamy is your thing, well, that’s pretty kinky too, as it may include restraint, bondage, and orgasm edging.
3. Vanilla sex is affectionate and loving.
Kinky sex is about pleasure and love. So is “regular” sex. Make love, not war, am I right?
4. Vanilla sex is good for mental and physical health.
Sex is good for the body and soul. She may not always have time to play dress-up for a weekend-long scene in your dungeon. Sometimes sex is quick, or playful, or basic. However it plays out, sex is positive and healthy.
5. Vanilla sex connects us to many other bodies and souls.
Not everyone you date will be into every kink you’re into. I have vanilla sex—otherwise known as “sex”—with vanilla lovers and also with kinky lovers who don’t match my fetishes. Sometimes I have “regular sex” with my kinkiest partners. There are times I simply feel like a straightforward fuck, or giving a blow job, or snuggling with my beautiful girlfriend.
6. Vanilla sex is uncomplicated.
Just as vanilla sex can let me communicate sexually with kinky and vanilla lovers alike, it is also sex that doesn’t require specific equipment or preparation or toys or costumes. If I don’t happen to have my ponyplay tack with me at a hotel, there are simple pleasures to enjoy if I meet someone in the hotel pool or piano lounge.
7. Vanilla sex lets you play you.
Roleplay is fun and festive but not every sex event needs to be a method acting intensive. What if we’re just getting to know each other? We don’t need to be continually immersed in our roles. I have both a dominant and a submissive “true self,” but there’s also the everyday me.
8. Vanilla sex is intimate sex.
There are times when sex is all about you, all about me, or all about you and me—a place where we connect to show love, affection, and intimacy. Great sex can also be about getting off, about a specific act or fantasy, or a focus on objects and equipment. But sometimes it’s all about the bond and intimacy, and at those times we don’t need anything else but each other.
Clearly, there is no point in vanilla shaming. What makes vanilla sex special for you?