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Gay Vanilla Sex: Exploring What Vanilla in Bed Means

What is vanilla sex? Does it have to be boring, or is this classic flavor just chronically misunderstood? Let’s dive into what vanilla really means.
Editorial team
July 22, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Second to saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice in the world. It’s the most popular and versatile ice cream flavor out there. (And we all love a little vers, don’t we?) Maybe vanilla doesn’t light you up, but it’ll never let you down.

So, if vanilla is beloved in the kitchen, why is it looked down on in the bedroom? Probably for the same reason so many people are willing to settle for artificial vanilla extract rather than shelling out the big bucks for the real thing: They just don’t know what they’re missing out on. 

Somewhere along the line, we started conflating “universally enjoyed” with “massively basic,” and honey, that’s just not the case. People associate vanilla with “boring.” In reality, vanilla is complex, warm, deep, sexy, and, yeah, a little bit fruity — just like vanilla sex. 

Get ready to expand your palate because we’re about to show you just how tasty vanilla sex can be.

What is vanilla sex?

Vanilla sex essentially means conventional sex without any kinks, fetishes, or challenging feats of acrobatics. It’s classic and uncomplicated. There’s minimal prep and no time spent getting into character.

Maybe vanilla sex doesn’t involve spanking or role-playing, but that doesn’t make it bad, and it certainly doesn’t lessen the potential pleasure. Even without whips and chains, there are plenty of ways it can excite you.

The kink and fetish community started using vanilla sex as a term to differentiate mainstream sexual activities from, well, everything else. But what qualifies as “mainstream” in this context? There’s quite a bit left up to personal sexual preference.

What feels vanilla to the Christian Grey-type Dom top on your grid might seem pretty kinky to that soft Dom down the hall. And vice versa. Just like sexuality, vanilla exists on a spectrum.

For some people, it means lots of kissing and intimate, sensual, missionary-position sex. For others, it might just mean you call him “Sir” instead of “Daddy” and leave out the XL toys from Bad Dragon. Maybe you practice French vanilla (that’s vanilla, but you sprinkle in a little “oui oui”). Vanilla sex is a lot of things, but the idea that it’s inherently boring is, well, boring. 

Does vanilla sex have to be boring?

No. The end!

(Just kidding. Wouldn’t it be nice if things were that easy, though?)

Of course, vanilla sex doesn’t have to be boring. It’s only boring if you aren’t putting in the effort (we’re looking at you, pillow princes), but that’s true of any sexual encounter. You can get bored in an Eiffel Tower. You can get bored in a steamy shower. You can get bored in a box or with a fox.

You get the point. Boring sex can happen to the best of us. When people conflate vanilla sex with boring sex, it probably means they’re looking at it all wrong


Benefits of having vanilla sex

Still not convinced having a little vanilla in bed is a good thing? Here are a few of the best parts of this oh-so-sweet and sexy style of sex: 

  1. It’s easy: All parts included. No assembly required. No accessories sold separately (except maybe a little lube). Vanilla sex is just two people having fun between the sheets. Maybe there’s mutual masturbation and lots of kissing. There’s probably plenty of sexual touch. The soft serve machine might always be broken, but your vanilla fantasy is never too far out of reach.
  2. It fosters emotional connection: Sometimes, the best way to get closer to someone is to slow the fuck down, look each other in the eyes, and take things nice and easy. Whether you have one partner or practice non-monogamy, vanilla sex is a great way to have intimate, regenerative, deeply sensual sex that brings you closer to your partner(s). Sometimes, the best way to turn things up is to turn them down for just a little bit.
  3. It’s less pressure: Getting tied up can be amazing. Hair pulling, role-playing, spanking — we love all consensual sexual contact. But sometimes, really kinky, intricate, fetish-forward sex can feel precarious — that’s part of what makes it so fun. When you’re ready for something laid back, vanilla sex is right there waiting for you. 
  4. You can make it your own: You can learn a lot about yourself by figuring out what vanilla sex means for you, your sexual appetite, and the people you’re sleeping with. Sure, vanilla sex might mean missionary to most people, but in your bedroom, it could encompass hitting it from the back and holding each other close. You’ve just got to figure out what your flavor of vanilla is.

Communication is key

Listen, there’s a reason “Chat Only” is an option on Grindr. (OK, there are several reasons.) Talking, whether as foreplay or the main event, can be a sexual thrill unto itself. And going deep before you go deep is a great way to set the stage and ensure you and your partner(s) are on the same page about sexual activities.

Talking before vanilla sex

Maybe you’re used to really adventurous, kink-forward, aggressive sex. First of all, congrats! We love that for you. But we also know that asking to switch things up, especially with a longer-term partner, might feel awkward.

Sometimes, people interpret asking for something new as a signal that what’s already on the menu isn’t working anymore. Take some time to talk about trying a slower, more gentle approach to sex. Let your partner know you love what’s been going on, and you’re excited to see what else works for both of you.

Talking during vanilla sex

If you’ve got something (or someone) in your mouth, there isn’t really a chance to talk during sex. That’s fine — they say a sphincter’s worth a thousand words, after all. But vanilla sex is great because it leaves plenty of room for talking about what’s working, which can be really, really hot.

“I like it when you…” “A little more of…” “That feels so…” Try finishing all those sentences while you’re inside someone, and you might find yourself finishing quicker than usual.

Talking after vanilla sex

We’re not recommending a post-sex pop quiz (although that does sound kind of fun). Talking about sex after sex is as lovely as it is constructive. What worked? What didn’t work? What really fucking worked? You don’t need a full play-by-play, but talking after vanilla sex can be just as intimate as the sex itself. 

Embrace your vanilla side

We love and support vanilla, kink, and everything in between. The only thing we don’t condone is yucking someone else’s yum. So, whether you’re a vanilla vixen or a kink connoisseur, try to keep your bedroom a judgment-free zone. 

Ready to savor that classic flavor? Or maybe you want something with a bit more bite. Either way, you’ll find it on Grindr. Get the Grindr app, and you’ll be coming back for seconds.

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