Thoughts on the use of the adjective “vanilla” (ADULT subject matter)


I apologize for the serious and random nature of this post—no wait, I totally don’t. #RandomGen has fused with #RantyGen today with just a titch of #BitchyGen for extra “sprinkles” on my cupcake as my dear friend Penny always says. Feel free to back out of the post if you don’t want to hear it and/or are easily offended.


The number one definition of Vanilla (adj) in the Urban Dictionary is: Unexciting, normal, conventional, boring.

In Websters: (adj) lacking distinction, plain, ordinary, conventional

And for the Brits in the room, the Oxford definition: (adj) having no special or extra features; ordinary or standard.


I was thinking the other day, and not for the first time, why the use of the word vanilla as an adjective rubs me the wrong way. Think: nails on a chalkboard, Styrofoam squeaking, “Are we there yet?”… sort of irritation. It’s not like I haven’t used the word myself on occasion, or have friends who use the word and I think nothing of it when they do. It’s true. But I came to the conclusion it’s because amongst these few individuals and I, (and you know who you are) we know what we mean by that adjective and it is NONE of those definitions. It simply means “not living a Dominant/submissive relationship or regularly practicing the BDSM lifestyle”. No value-judgment, just a simple manner of categorization so as to know to what particular activities we might be referring in a conversation/book recommendation. So, yeah, “vanilla” is easier to say than all that in a conversation with each other. We understand each other just fine.

But when others use it… man.

I tell you what, nothing irks me more than individuals who want to be understood and accepted for their own choices and yet they, in turn, feel they have a right to judge the value of others’ lifestyles. By its very definition above (and by that I mean Urban Dictionary, Websters, Oxford, common parlance, the manner in which it is used on blog, and in writing) it places  an inherent value, or more correctly, de-value on something.

The very definition is judgmental.

Ordinary… BORING… lacking distinction… unexciting.

My dear blog followers, I count myself blessed and lucky to have friends from all walks of life, cultures, and lifestyles, from the ultra-conservative to the ultra-liberal, from countries near and far. So, I can’t fathom what on EARTH entitles a person in any culture/subculture to make a judgment about the sexual satisfaction a perfect stranger receives no matter HOW they like to get jiggy wid it. What makes certain folk think because some people DON’T engage in a D/s relationship or practice all the elements of BDSM on the regular that their sexual life is “vanilla” ie, as we’ve defined above, BORING, LACKING DISTINCTION, UNEXCITING?

Geeeeeeee, ok. /Sarcasmfont

For YOU, you meant to say, right? RIGHT?

‘Cause I’m down with that. We are beautiful, amazingly diverse creatures, us human beings. We are all different and we all like different things even within a sub-culture. For ME, receiving a spanking would be BORING, UNEXCITING, ORD—well, not ordinary—but HAVING NO SPECIAL FEATURES. Just like for one who craves, with their mind, emotions, physical being, a good ass-paddling NOT getting that would be—I’m extrapolating from the ubiquitous use of the term above—quite mundane in nature and lacking in appropriate stimulation (physically or psychologically). I don’t know for sure though, I’m just guessing. Because you see, otherwise, I don’t understand the use of the word vanilla AT ALL. Surely you don’t mean that because I don’t lead a D/s sexual life that my sexual life is somehow unfulfilling or boring or ordinary or lacking excitement or having no special features. And yet… there. it. is. Inherent in the use of the word itself, which you just used to describe me.

So I say with kindness in my heart (believe it or not) check your prose the next time you speak, just like I make sure and never use value-laden words such a “freaky” “perversion” “abnormal”… Hell, I even stop and cringe before I use the word “alternative” which I know many of my friends engaged in so-called “alternative” lifestyles have no problem with me using. I dithered, I kid you not, for HOURS before I used the word “naughty” on my “Cupcake’s Naughty Corner”, because that word also carries connotations that sex is somehow “not good”. I don’t like using words that place judgment on such a natural human act. After all, I would never want to assume I have the arrogant right to deem another’s sexual life to be “lacking”, “unexciting”, or “boring” because they don’t have heterosexual, monogamous, spank-free sex like I do.


A wise man once said:

Different Strokes for different folks…

And a wise woman once said:

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”



PS–Join me on Monday when I interview Bad Penny on What’s What with the What’s New in her BDSM/Erotica writing universe. YAY! Fun on Cupcake’s Corner of the #NaughtyCouch!