Word of the Week: Vanilla

by Violet

on 2 Sep 2022

Get your tongue around some new sexual terminology with this week's Word of the Week...

vanilla sex
Word of the Week


A term used in the BDSM community to describe sex that is seen as conventional with no kinkiness

Not necessarily a bad thing, vanilla sex simply doesn't involve any BDSM elements

In this week's Word of the Week we take a look at the term vanilla sex.

As with many of our sexual terms, vanilla was coined by the BDSM community and is used to describe sexual play which is considered 'traditional' or 'conventional' by the kinkier perspective of those who participate in BDSM sex.

While it may sound like an insult, having vanilla sex is by no means a bad thing. In fact, vanilla sex is what most people would just consider sex, as those who enjoy kinkier sex (such as bondage and fetish play) are still very much in the minority.

Furthermore, vanilla sex needn't be considered boring, it is often considered to be more romantic, sensual and intimiate. While we're not suggesting that BDSM doesn't have it's softer, more romantic side, vanilla sex is often considered the more loving of the two.

Vanilla sex is a broad term and can mean a whole host of things. For some it entails plenty of kissing, massages and sensual eye contact, for others it means missionary with the light off. If it doesn't involve any impact play, bondage, dominance or submission, by BDSM standards its vanilla.

Best toys for romantic sex

Tips for better romantic sex

If you're not into kink, no biggie, lots of people aren't. However, just because you don't fancy a spank-a-thon this Friday night doesn't mean you can't spice it up a bit.

There are so many ways to mix up your everyday play, deepen your connection with your partner and spark a little romance, but here are a few of our favourites:

  1. Improve your massage skills. A sensual massage is the perfect way to spread some romance. Not only does it make your lover feel relaxed, but it's a great way to loosen tension, explore each other's bodies and a perfect time to initiate sex.

  2. Invest in a toy. Sex toys are your friends, they needn't be scary. While we don't recommend starting off with a dildo as long as your arm, a cute bullet vibrator does wonders for amplifying sensations and enhancing penetrative sex.

  3. Lube. Lube. Lube. No matter if you're having a little hand play, going down town or enjoying a spot of reverse cowgirl, lubricant (in all its wonderful forms) always enhances your play. Don't be shy, splash it on and enjoy easy insertion, intense sensations and glorious glide.

  4. Take your time. As much as we love a quickie, romantic sex is a marathon not a sprint. Your lover deserves plenty of your time, so slow it down, make it last and be sure everyone gets to reach that awesome O. Having trouble maintaining an erection? A stretchy cock ring could help to improve your sexual stamina, while a cute clitoral vibrator is a great little helper if your hands or tongue get tired.

Want to learn more sex terminology? Check out our Ultimate Sex Dictionary.


Written by Violet. Lovehoney Editorial Team
Violet joined Lovehoney's writing team in 2019 as our lingerie aficionado.
Violet is also an avid sex toy collector and co-host of The Sexual Happiness Podcast

Originally published on 2 Sep 2022. Updated on 1 Apr 2022