The term ‘vanilla sex’ is so predictably boring, isn’t it? Vanilla is seen as being as plain as you can get – the default option for those who can’t cope with any excitement in their life and the flavour you go for if you’re scared of your own shadow.
So it follows that it’s actually faintly insulting to describe someone’s personal bedroom preferences as vanilla – the implication usually being that they’re prudish and narrow-minded, all but wearing a button up winceyette nightgown to bed (probably with long bloomers underneath).
Vanilla can be delicious if it’s done well. One of my favourite desserts ever is panna cotta. There’s few things tastier than a really good vanilla panna cotta, to my mind – creamy and mild and mouth-watering, the one thing it definitely isn’t is boring.
There is nothing wrong with liking simplicity. Having a wide range of sexual preferences doesn’t make you a better person, or even a more interesting one – it just makes you someone with different preferences. And doing the same thing all the time isn’t boring either, so long as you’re thoroughly enjoying yourself whilst you’re at it.
And that’s the thing – liking your sex on the vanilla side of the pudding menu doesn’t give you a free pass to be lazy. You owe it to both yourself and any partner(s) you might have to make the most of what you have and what you do. However plain you like your panna cotta, you’ll appreciate it more if it’s served on a nice plate and you’re eating with good cutlery rather than your grubby fingers.
If your idea of excitement is leaving the light on during sex, that’s absolutely fine – but maybe try to leave the light on more often, so you can see what you’re doing and appreciate it more. And there are plenty of intimate activities that can be indulged in without having actual penetrative sex at all. You might be avoiding it because you have physical issues that make it difficult, or maybe you just don’t like it - but that doesn’t stop you indulging yourselves.
“Vanilla is an old faithful that's always good when other flavours get too heady” Zoe
Suggesting massage might seem cheesy – it’s the first responder of the endless ‘spice up your sex life’ articles, let’s be honest – but who doesn’t like a back rub? Touch is an incredibly important sense – it literally connects us to others and makes us feel secure and settled within ourselves. And it can be the main event itself, rather than just the introduction. Lying with your partner in a cosy warm environment whilst they stroke your skin is soothing and comforting, so who cares if you end up falling asleep?
Organise a time when you know you won’t be disturbed and lock yourselves in the bedroom. Music and scent make all the difference – try scented reed diffusers from Dona by Jo, which contain pheromones and aphrodisiacs in order to heighten the senses. The aim is to become more aware of touch and intimacy, rather than wanting to swing from the light fittings.
“I just adore intimacy - skin on skin contact and being cosy in bed in a comfortable position.” Tina
Take it in turns to indulge each other; stroking limbs with a good massage oil and reminding yourselves what your bodies look and feel like. There are some great massage candles these days, which burn at a lower temperature and can be dripped onto the body as massage oil. A massage stone can be the perfect solution for those who like deeper tissue massage than their partner’s hand muscles can manage.
Don’t be put off buying sexy toys and accessories just because you think they’re not for you. Blindfolds and ticklers are brilliant for honing the senses – they might be simple, but they’re great at forcing you to concentrate on what’s going on in your head and body, rather than being distracted by the outside world. Try a simple mask and maybe a tickler that looks like a feather duster, so you can leave it out without worrying about anyone seeing it. Think about what you’re feeling and feed back to your partner so that they can do more of it!
Massage wands are a brilliant addition to the bedroom, because not only do they do everything they promise - and more - for your erogenous zones, they really do also work brilliantly on tired muscles. And they make giving massages so much less labour intensive! There are some gorgeously luxurious wands available, such as the Lelo Smart Wand or the Doxy Die Cast.
But more budget-friendly ones such as Simply Pleasure’s own Mini Wand will still do the job and won’t break the bank.
Never feel ashamed for having simple tastes when it comes to sex. It’s not boring, it’s what you like – and that is the most important thing. As long as both you and any partner(s) you might have are happy with things then there is no problem. It’s too easy to see sex being talked about regularly and openly in the media (which is obviously a good thing) and feel as though you’re missing out. But you’re not missing out if it’s not something you actually want!
“We are very ‘vanilla’ and it's absolutely epic - the best sex I've ever had. Focussing on the connection with him - his eyes, his face, his breathing. Just the colour in his eye or the shape of his mouth will send me over the edge now.” Sadie
It doesn’t matter how much or how little variety you like in your sex life, as long as you make the most of it. Spend your valuable sexy time on things that bring you satisfaction rather than worrying about whether you’re doing ‘enough’. If it works for you then it’s always enough.
Our fantastic guest blogger Violet Fenn is also a UK-based lifestyle and sexual happiness blogger and founder of the blog Sex, Death, Rock 'n' Roll. Some of our favourite articles include 'NO YOU SHOULDN’T PUT GLITTER IN YOUR FANNY WHY DO YOU EVEN NEED TO ASK THIS??' and "ON HAVING NO SHAME." Find out more about Violet on her Simply Pleasure intro page.