What is “Vanilla sex”, really?

Vanilla Sex O*Diaries

Most people have probably heard the term ‘vanilla sex’ before. But what does it actually mean? How do you go about vanilla sex and how does it differ from spicier options? We’re here to investigate…

What is Vanilla Sex?

Vanilla sex is a term that is mostly used in the BDSM scene to describe any sex that does not involve BDSM practices. Quite simply, vanilla sex describes sex without any sadomasochism, domination, bondage, fetish and so on. Simple, “normal” sex that you see in a regular Hollywood movie with nice lighting. But how did this simple sex get its nice sounding name?

Vanilla sex as a term comes from the fact that vanilla is the most popular, and therefore most common, type of ice cream. It’s a slightly disdainful term originating from the BDSM community – the idea is that, with all the flavors available, you would have to be a little boring to pick just a plain old vanilla ice cream. However, this is only one way of looking at it. Sex is only boring if you’re not doing things that turn you on. For example, giving and receiving oral sex is, on its own, considered “vanilla” and most people would be hella into that…

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Is vanilla sex boring?

This cliché is buried in the fact that everything that is “normal” is automatically considered bland. But when it comes to sex, sometimes the simple things are particularly intense and beautiful. “Vanilla” is only one metaphor for sex. You could also frame it as standard sexual practices are delightful classics that need to embellishing upon, no dressing up or faffing around.

There are advantages in “vanilla” sex. You can fully concentrate on your partner without the distraction of elaborate preparation or role play. On the contrary, you have the leisure to consciously perceive the other person, to look deeply into each other’s eyes and simply enjoy the closeness.  If you haven’t known each other for long and are just warming up to intimacy, vanilla sex is a good way to get to know each other in bed. Besides, vanilla sex can be easily spiced up with a few simple tricks without going full BDSM!

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Tips to make vanilla sex more exciting

If you want a little more variety between the sheets, you can easily add something extra to vanilla sex. Here are a few inspirations:

  • Change of position: Sure, if you’re only doing good old missionary, then routine can creep in. To prevent this, simply change positions more often – and find out which ones make you hot. But be careful: don’t overdo it in one session. If you’re only tossing and turning, you won’t have time to enjoy yourself…
  • Get out of bed: Even a small change of location can bring new momentum into your sex life. How about the kitchen table, the hallway or the bathtub?
  • Edging: To make sex more intense, it helps to delay the orgasm as long as possible. This technique is called edging or orgasm control. Simply work yourself up to the brink of climax and then… pause! You can repeat this a few times and the orgasm at the end will be especially intense.
  • Sex toys: The one’s a no-brainer! The world of sex toys is big and colorful and there is the right toy for everyone to make your love life hotter. Try out different toys and find your favorite new sexual frontier…

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A few years ago, Julia Heyne moved to Berlin. Not because of love, but to deal with love on a daily basis. She headed the erotic department at BILD.de for seven years and because that wasn't enough love, lust and passion, she wrote a book about online dating in 2016. Today she has renounced online dating, but continues to write for O*Diaries about the most beautiful minor matter in the world. In her spare time, she also enjoys unromantic things like mountaineering, reading and ghostwriting for various book projects.