Note: this post originally appeared on In Our Words.
For the past two years or so, I’ve been officially identifying as vanilla. Before that, I guess I was “experimenting,” or “curious.” When I did that thing that everyone does for six months or so where you just hook up indiscriminately to get your numbers up to whatever you think is acceptable, there were some kinky folks in there. As good, consent-wanting kinksters, they went “this is what I like, what about you?” and I went “that could be fun, I don’t really know, let’s try it!”
Well, maybe that’s not where this starts. Maybe this starts with when I was 6 or 7 and my best friend and I would play this secret game. One of us would lie on the floor (usually her) and the other one would sit on her back and make up rules (which she may or may not have disclosed) and spank the girl who broke the rules. I thought this game was awesome, and was amazed that my friend would play it with me.
Or the way all my childhood masturbatory fantasies involved pretty girls finding themselves in degrading, dangerous situations, controlled by some mysterious and often mechanical force. Even now, porn where someone’s being forced to follow very specific rules, or subject to really unjust corporal punishment, gets me all kinds of aroused. So of course when I found myself in a stranger’s bedroom surrounded by floggers and rope and candles and things I couldn’t even identify, I went “Yes! I think I would like these things! Let’s try stuff!”
So I had no explanation for how I had some pretty great sex with some very nice people who were super-good at helping me find my boundaries and listening not only to my verbal cues but paying attention to my body, and still woke up the next morning feeling kind of uncomfortable. There was definitely the problem where I didn’t like-like these people and yet stayed in contact with them after the first hookup, but something else was amiss, too.
I extracted myself from the kinky community almost as quickly as I dove in. I was falling in love with Thing One anyway, and didn’t want anything to distract me from those hormones. Thing One’s got vanilla interests that line up almost perfectly with mine, and our sex is sweet and familiar and explosive and centering and has never left me feeling a little off the next day. I dated and hooked up with a string of other vanilla guys for a while, and by the time (super-kinky) Thing Two wandered into my life and went “so kink?” during the first-date checklist, I (more or less confidently) answered “vanilla!”
It turns out vanilla is as bizarre an identity to hold in the queer slutty world as Christian. I’m pretty much guaranteed to weird people out at parties by dropping one or the other of those bombs. Being an iconoclast and/or hipster, this makes me want to be vanilla even more. It makes me mysterious and interesting, see?
Of course, then there are the kinky people I actually want to hook up with. Since deciding that vanilla is a thing I am, people are a lot more afraid to suggest kinky stuff during sex, as if I haven’t been reading Dan Savage since I was 15. GGG, people! Vanilla folks can like getting you off and decide to be accommodating!
Of course, I get that it’s hard to lay out all the weird shit you’re into when I keep insisting that all I like is kissing and bit-rubbing. I’m serious, though; my ideal sexual encounter is basically “we make out, we take each other’s clothes off, we touch each other’s bits with our bits until we are both satisfied.” Crotch-bits, mouth-bits, butt-bits, it’s all fun, but if I’m orchestrating all the things I like best, no one’s getting hurt or embarrassed or pushing boundaries or wearing costumes or whatever. Kinky folks are always amazed I can just get off and feel awesome, but that’s how vanilla works, friends. I’m not bored, not even a little.
I wanna be a better person, though, and own that there is some totally weird shit I’m into. I’m not gonna stop claiming to be vanilla, ’cause I sure as hell don’t want to start getting invitations to “play parties” and “munches” and other things whose names sound like we’re all trying to be Alice in Wonderland. Besides, I haven’t heard any evidence that anyone’s doing the stuff I think is great at any of those things, so forget y’all boring people.
Kink One: Math.
Oh my God, math, guys. It must have been like 2005 when I discovered math porn, and at first it was just like all of Joey Comeau’s other porn, real and raw and fantastic but not anything that really blew my mind. But this stuff has stuck with me, so much more than anything else. That story where a girl has this accountant over and she wants him to solve equations that are written all over her body? One of the hottest things I can imagine. I want someone to do math on my body, like, all the time. I get kind of excited when people are even doing math near me. And my favorite kinky porn? The kind where people are counting their spankings or something. It’s the math, guys. Numbers are insanely sexy and I don’t know why we all aren’t fucking with numbers all the damn time.
Kink Two: Normaling
So I was watching 30 Rock the other day (it’s the final season, after all), and Jenna and Paul discovered this new dirty sex thing: normaling. It’s where you do normal-ass couple stuff, like shopping for placemats and falling asleep while watching a movie and playing board games with another couple at their apartment. And the next day I was standing outside a dressing room waiting for Thing Three, and I realized that three-quarters of our “dates” have been running errands, and then I realized that I secretly love that. Because I’m a huge normo. On my second-ever date with Thing One, we went out to pick up milk and didn’t even make out in the car. We hardly ever miss a milk run, still. Hell, Thing Two and I are throwing a fake wedding next weekend, and intend to keep throwing them every few months until all our friends stop hanging out with us. Normaling is great because you can be an exhibitionist and entirely under the radar all at the same time, and also because you actually get some important things done in the process. Multitasking!
Kink Three: Sadness
My favorite love story ever goes “two people meet and fall in amazing love and are so happy and then terrible tragedy strikes and kills one of them far too young and the other one has to just keep living.” I’m making Thing Two watch through the gay Israeli canon with me. Thing One and I have been doing Breaking Bad. You know that thing where people use horror movies to force their date to cuddle with them because of terror? Sad movies are so much better, guys. What makes you appreciate your shmoopy more than watching young love get snuffed out by violent and unexpected death? Note: just like people with rape fetishes don’t actually wanna get raped, I don’t actually want any of my partners to die early and violent. Kink is all about make-believe!
I feel better now that I’ve lain my kink cards on the table. I hope this inspires you all to dig deep and find your own weird shit, too. And to write more math porn: there is a severe shortage.