What Is Vanilla Sex?
Let’s talk about sex, baby!
Sex is kind of a big thing—as in, the definition of sex is hard to pin down. What counts as sex for some, doesn’t count for others. What you mean by sex—and how you prefer to have it—is entirely up to you.
But there are some ways to narrow down what kind of sex we’re talking about. Different people prefer different kinds of sex, and they’re generally labeled in categories. These categories include vanilla, kinky, fetishistic, etc.
While some might pin one category as “good” sex and another as “bad” sex, really these labels are designed to help people figure out what they want from sexual partners. We can all get behind that, right???
Vanilla Sex Defined
These days, the term “vanilla sex” has been getting a bad rap—but a lot of people are into it! There are tons of benefits to vanilla sex. It might just be your favorite kind!
So to clear vanilla sex’s name, today we’ll be talking all things vanilla: what it is, why you might like it, and how to spice it up.
So what is vanilla sex? How is it different from other kinds of sex? Let’s get into it.
What is Vanilla Sex?
Vanilla sex can be generally described as conventional sex. It’s sex without all the bells and whistles, the sex toys and power dynamics, the kinks and the fetishes.
Some people consider vanilla sex to be solely PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex, while others include oral sex and anal sex. See what we mean about definitions being hard to pin down? It’s different for everyone.
The main thing to know about vanilla sex is that it doesn’t involve fetishes or kink—whatever that means to you.
Because of the way it’s described (stereotypical sex, conventional sex, vanilla sex, plain sex), there are a LOT of misconceptions about how good vanilla sex is. Rest assured, vanilla sex can actually be sexy as hell, intimate, and fulfilling.
Vanilla sex is a great way to develop intimacy between people. It leaves lots of room for deep connection through slower movements, deep kissing, and more.
Misconceptions About Vanilla Sex
Misconception #1: It’s boring!
There are a lot of misconceptions about vanilla sex. Namely, that it’s boring.
If vanilla sex feels boring to you, there is a chance it’s not the kind of sex for you, buuuuuut you may also simply need to switch it up. Anything we do repeatedly can become boring, so if you’re having the same vanilla sex every time—yeah, we think that sounds boring, too!
Let’s think about vanilla ice cream for a min (just ice cream, not for food or temperature play). A classic ice cream flavor, vanilla is great on its own. But it’s BEST as a foundation for more yummy things—sundaes, shakes, parfaits, toppings, you name it!
Why wouldn’t vanilla sex be the same? It’s not boring or plain. It’s great on its own, but it’s an even better foundation for intimacy and excitement. You don’t have to switch flavors, just add in some toppings!
For more on the foundation for great sex, check out the Him & Her podcast episode called Ep. #99: Sex With Emily – The Foundation for Great Sex, Self-Love, Masturbation, Foreplay, Porn Vs. Unhealthy Porn, and What Kills Sex Drive.
Misconception #2: It’s innocent/basic.
If vanilla sex is innocent, let Hester Prynne know she can take that damn letter off her chest! Seriously, we don’t know how this misconception came about so closely after women were made pariahs for doing the deed before marriage. pre-marital do.
The idea behind this misconception is that BDSM is kind of like leveled-up sex. You start with the basic sex (vanilla), and once you’re comfy with/good at that, you move on to kinky sex.
That’s a little nuts (as in crazy, not the topping) in our book. First of all, not everyone is going to want to join the kink community, whether they’ve “mastered” vanilla sex or not. Second of all, it implies that vanilla sex has some sort of shelf-life—like it can’t get you all hot and bothered as you get older??? Now, we know THAT’S not true!
Just look at how much everyone has to say about sex—we’ve rounded up some of the best sex podcasts, and those are just the BEST ones. Sex is almost endlessly interesting to people, and it doesn’t have to be kinky to be mind-blowing.
You may want to watch out if you hear this misconception because it could be used to manipulate someone into sex they aren’t interested in having. Feeling pressured into any type of sex that you’re not comfortable with is a huge red flag.
While we’re at it, let’s just keep an eye out for any bedroom red flags. No use wasting our time with someone who’s gonna make us feel like sh*t.
Misconception #3: It doesn’t feel good/as good as other types of sex.
This one’s a double-edged sword. Allegedly, it doesn’t feel as good for women because it’s harder to orgasm from PIV sex, and it doesn’t feel as good for men because it doesn’t live up to porn’s standards.
Those things might be true for some people, but not all. Let’s cover a few things:
Orgasms aren’t the be-all, end-all of sex! Sex should feel goooooooood all the way through, and there are plenty of people out there having good sex without orgasming. Here’s more on orgasms with The Papaya Podcast to learn more about your body and preferences!
If having orgasms is important to you, and it’s not happening with vanilla sex, there may be some things you can try. You can include elements of less vanilla sex to make those orgasms easier to reach, like a blindfold to help your focus. Otherwise, seeing a sex therapist or a physical therapist may help you sort through whatever’s blocking you from your Os. Check out Painful Sex? Postpartum Discomfort? Why Women and Mothers NEED Physical Therapy, with Origin Founder Carine Carmy from Everything is the Best for more info on physical therapy for sex.
Also… Porn often depicts vanilla sex! Proof that vanilla sex can be exciting. Besides, if your man wouldn’t use porn standards in a dick-measuring contest, he shouldn’t be using them to measure the quality of your sex. Just sayin’.
Here are some other resources on having better sex:
- + Sex on Anti-Depressants – Note to Self
- + The One About Having Better Sex – The Papaya Podcast
- + How to Get What You Want From a Man – Ex-Virgin
Misconception #4: It’s not meant for queer people.
This misconception probably comes from the original definition of vanilla sex (PIV, no oral, no anal) as well as old perceptions of LGBTQ+ sexual behavior being deviant. But we know the definition can be much broader than that, and harmful perceptions are only perceptions.
Vanilla sex is just as much for queer people as it is for anyone else. Remember, all vanilla means is that there’s no kink or fetishes—queer people can definitely be into that.
Vanilla Sex Positions
This position involves the person with a penis on top and the person with a vagina on the bottom. There are various moves you can do with this position, such as the person on the bottom putting their legs around the waist of the person on top or over their shoulders.
Why we love it: intimacy, intimacy, intimacy!!! Staring into your partner’s eyes, seeing their every reaction, deep kissing, feeling enveloped by one another… wow, is it getting hot in here??
This position involves the person with a penis on the bottom, while the other person “rides” them.
Why we love it: you’re getting DEEP, and we’re not just talking about deep connection. You might hit spots you and your partner didn’t know existed in this one!
One partner positions themselves on all fours, while the other positions themselves on their knees behind the other.
Why we love it: this is another deep position, and many women find it easier to have a G-spot orgasm from this position. Also, hello, clit access!
This position involves both partners lying on their sides with one’s back to the other’s front. It’s typically slower sex as you don’t have much leverage.
Why we love it: Oh, this one is so cozy. Perfect for when you just want to feel loved, but you want to hit the spots doggy style hits. Uhm, YES PLEASE!
Standing and Half-Standing Positions
This position involves one or both partners’ standing. From there, your partner can pick you up and f*ck you against a wall, over a bed or couch, over a desk, or simply while you’re bending down and touching your toes. Mmm, the options are limitless!
Why we love it: These are great for a quickie, especially in a skirt… 😉
How To Spice Up Vanilla Sex
Tip #1: Switch up your position.
Missionary sex not doing it for you anymore? That’s alright, it can’t be your only go-to in your sex life. Try one of the above positions to mix it up!
Tip #2: Try role-playing.
Not all role-play is kinky! Kinky roleplay typically involves power dynamics, but there are plenty of scenarios you can roleplay of just two regular people who are SOOOOOO into each other. Classic porn openers have plenty of ideas for this one, from pizza delivery to plumbing to sexual encounters with total strangers.
Tip #3: Dress sexy.
This is a tip that depends on preference—what’s sexy to one person might not be to another person. Think about the assets your partner loves, then wear clothes or lingerie to emphasize that ass—oops, we mean those assets!
Tip #4: Watch porn together.
Need some more ideas? Healthy porn that you’re both into may have some more for you! Watch it together, then try what you see.
So is vanilla your all-time fave, or just your flavor of the day?
We hope we convinced you to give respect where respect is due. Vanilla is THE blueprint, and whether it’s for you or not, it’s a damn good time. If this is an area where you’re doing a lot of exploration, we recommend Dear Media’s latest podcast Ex Virgin that explores a LOT of sexy content. Also, for more articles on sex, love, and more, check out our blog!
It’s time to turn the lights low and flip your boundaries blanket to TOUCH ME mode. It’s time to get wild! (But, not too wild. This is vanilla sex, after all.)