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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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Sparked by the either/or choice of "vanilla or kinky" in a recent LJ "meme", some questions for the kinky:

What are your thoughts on the use of the word "vanilla" for non-kinky sexual practices and the people whose preferences are predominantly in that area? Is that the definition you use?

"Vanilla" in colloquial usage often implies "bland", "boring", "no-frills", "unimaginative", etc. Is the intent to imply that such practices/people have those characteristics? If so, why?

Did you know that the word "vanilla" means "little vagina" in Spanish?

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well vanilla makes me think of vanilla beans so that's prolly not the right imagery for non-kinky because i don't think of non-kinky people as beans. But vanilla beans, in and of themselves, are very cool things and quite expensive I might add. So if one was non-kinky and being called vanilla, it would not, IMNSHO, be a bad thing.

Well in my world, the only meaning a word has is one I ascribe to it. Fortunately for communication's sake, the meanings I ascribe to words and those that are colloquial are one and the same. However, with respect to vanilla, I have great respect for vanilla. It is truly one of the wonders of the world. Without vanilla we would not have chocolate. There are whole websites devoted to the pleasures of vanilla. One vanilla bean costs 3 whole dollars. More sometimes. And there's not much vanilla in a bean. So were I to use vanilla to describe these people, I would be implying that they are expensive and tasty. If I wanted to call non-kinky people bland boring nofrills or unimaginative, I would just call them that. I wouldn't need to use a colloquialism to do that. But, again IMNSHO, boring, bland and unimaginative are not the specific realms of kinky or non-kinky but of people that happen to be that way and it doesn't matter what flavor of nookie they get.

No I didn't. What does big vagina translate to?

Well in my world, the only meaning a word has is one I ascribe to it.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

No I didn't. What does big vagina translate to?

Paris Hilton?


"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

That was the image that automatically sprang to my mind! BTW, I am smiling...

I would also like to state, for the record, that while I do not consider non-kinky people as beans, kinky people are another story entirely and are definitely beans. But not vanilla ones. They are like... jack in the beanstalk beans.

::biting tongue and shaking head:: I just can't go there. It's too easy (I don't think I've ever said that before). But thank you for the smile...

"Vanilla" to me, is less about bland, or boring, and more about "basic". Vanilla icecream is the basic flavor, and quite delicious... and you can add things to it, which are truly limited by your own imagination...

My favorite icecream, hands-down, is Breyer's vanilla. It costs a bit more, but the flavour is good, the consistancy is perfect, the texture is sublime. Cheap vanilla icecream tends to be gummy, tasteless, and gritty.

And sex, if done well, is never boring... but there are some who do not bother to do it well, and much like cheap vanilla icecream, they are, in my opnion, not worth the effort. I guess sex *is* like icecream, after all...

Sex is like pizza. It's always good, but some kinds are better than others. And, the really raunchy stuff is best of all!

Actually, as a kinky person who prefers things that are flavored vanilla, I think you're reading too much into the connotation here. I use the word 'vanilla' mostly because that's the word everyone else uses, and is therefore the lingua de franco (Frank's Tongue?).

I agree with Raven, too - vanilla implies that there is a lot to be added to it to make it different, whereas if you think about it - chocolate is pretty good just as it is.

lingua de franco (Frank's Tongue?).

I've always found it ironic that today's lingua franca is English, not French...

"Your love is better than ice cream
Better than anything else that I've tried"
- Sarah Mclachlan

I'm with Deb and Raven; good vanilla is breathtaking, and mediocre ice cream or intimacy is mediocre. Still, whenever you have an identifiable group there is a marked human tendency for whatever term that means "not-us" to carry rivalry or contempt. Sure it's immature, insular, and lame; but any kind of human grouping can get judgmental about the difference between Us and Them. Any perception of being a misunderstood subculture only adds to this.

So despite many of the young people exploring alternative cultures being shining paragons of tact and diplomacy, poor impressions can occasionally happen... (cough, cough)

Anyway, I pity anyone whose palate has become too jaded to enjoy simple things -in food or otherwise.

The rare bean as a little cootchie- that's poetically appropriate.

For what it's worth I self-identify as vanilla and don't mind using the word. But then again vanilla is probably my favorite flavoring as well, so there you go.

but do you self identify as bland unimaginative and boring?

(for whatever its worth *I* don't think you are boring -- but we are talking about you here)

No I don't see myself as bland or boring. I don't think of vanilla that way either. I think I could be a vanilla connoisseur.

and on the naughty side...

Of course, I would hope that the idea of vanilla icecream m-e-l-t-i-n-g on my warm, golden skin is FAR from "bland", "boring", "no-frills", "unimaginative"....


Re: and on the naughty side...

the word is yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Vanilla is one of my favorite flavors; however, I do not limit myself to that flavor alone. I believe that's what the term implies when referring to sexual practices -- that one limits oneself, that one doesn't sample the fabulous cornucopia of deviances out there. A person who is 100% "vanilla" would be, well, disturbing to me (yes, I have met a man who doesn't enjoy a good blow job... 'Nuff said).

Arguably, "kinky" and "vanilla" are far ends of the spectrum (though I figure "deviant" is even farther than "kinky"). There are lots of shades in between.

FWIW, I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that vanilla is one of the more aphrodisiac of scents, attractive to men and women across the board.

I'm not really going to get into whether or not I personally like vanilla stuff because I think that's beside the point here. For my personal use, I'm with Del on the Franco-speak-- if I say "vanilla" to describe sex it's because people will know I'm referring to non-kinky sex, and that's all.

In general I think it's either used casually like I just described, or perhaps a little defiantly. It's not the most mature thing in the world, but anyone who's part of a subculture that is generally misunderstood, mocked, or reviled tends to "hit back" with their own derogatory slang for those who pick on them. I've seen pagans who refer to all Christians as "fundies". Gamers get called geeks and losers; we hit back with "mundanes". Homosexuals of various stripes who are "faggots" or "dykes" use "breeders". And kinky folks who hear how mentally ill, depraved, and disgusting they are say "vanilla".

So yeah, I think there's a tendency to use the word "vanilla" with a sneer, to indicate that someone probably only does it once a month with the lights off and in the missionary position. Mature? No. Productive? Not really. Justified? Not in the "two wrongs" way. Understandable? Yeah, kinda. Personally I think "vanilla" is one of the less offensive derogatory terms ever invented. Most people who use it as an insult would most certainly-- however irritatingly-- be quick to say to open-minded non-kinky friends, "Oh, I don't mean YOU".

I'm not saying it's right. But I am saying that people who feel dumped on for being weird or fringe-y sometimes don't feel like being the bigger person all the time, and I think if the worst they're saying is "vanilla", well, I'm inclined not to make any bigger a deal of it than when some dude says to me, "jeez, women are NUTS". We all have impolitic terms for people we look down on-- you say "newage" rhyming with "sewage" to refer to people whose spiritual lives are purchased from the Pyramid Collection, and me...well, I just have a potty mouth and I hate everyone anyway. ;-)

Yes it is! Divalion for teh win!

Vanilla was once considered to be right up there with chocolate for being an aphrodisiac. And if you've ever had really really good vanilla... well it kind of is.

You mean I wasn't supposed to purchase all that stuff from the Pyramid Collection? Dammit and I thought that would make me a pagan!

You mean I wasn't supposed to purchase all that stuff from the Pyramid Collection? Dammit and I thought that would make me a pagan!

It does, in the same way that having a black robe and a three-ring binder with Baphomet on the cover makes you a Satanist. ;-)

Cool! I'm a satanist! evcelt said SO! WHEEEEEEEEEE

I always thought vanilla was a cute term. What could be derogatory about a type of ice cream? I can see though, like divalion points out, how it might be construed the same as "mundane" that we wierdoes of various sorts often use to describe non-wierdos.

Personally though, all me, I think it's a cute term and would not be offended if it were ever applied to me.

Hell, right now I can't even claim to be vanilla. I'm like. . .unflavored ice chips.

Vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream in this country, hands down (yes, I have in fact studied market reports). I don't see it as no frills or "boring" but simply mainstream, or the "norm". I'd certainly describe myself as pretty damn vanilla in this respect. Kinky to me is that scary lady that came to sjo's chick weekend to sell lingerie (ask her). YMMV.

And no, nor did I really want to know that. Not that it will stop my Breyer's habit. :o)

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