semantics and language

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semantics and language

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Nov 9, 2007, 11:40 am

what is a "vanilla relationship?"
what is polysexuality? (I may have the word's poly something)
teach me tonight.

Nov 9, 2007, 12:05 pm

A "vanilla" relationship is one that involves no master/slave dynamic. It might be used to describe a relationship in which all the sex is "vanilla," as in it involves no BDSM or kink, but that isn't necessarily the case.

"Polysexuality" refers to the sexual orientation of those who are attracted to people of all genders. People use that term instead of "bisexual" because the "bi" in "bisexual" implies a gender dynamic that only includes male and female, and some people reject that gender binary.

Another "poly" word that might confuse you is "polyamory." It refers to the practice of being in relationships with multiple people. It could be three or more people in a marriage of sorts together, or two people who are primary partners who have secondary partners. The main idea behind polyamory is honesty and commitment --- everything is out in the open, unlike what happens with "monogamous" people who cheat on one another.

By the way, any of these terms is well-defined on Wikipedia. Wikipedia's Sexuality Portal contains many good definitions of terms related to alternative sexuality.

Hope this helps.

Nov 18, 2007, 2:04 pm

I had come across Vanilla and Polysexuality before but not polyamory. Thank you

Dez 5, 2007, 7:11 am

thank you, heina. Well, I guess at 64 one is not too old to learn new tricks (said the aging hooker).

Mar 13, 2008, 12:52 am

Defining "vanilla" as "no D/s" does a great disservice to the non-powerplaying, but S/M playing people out there who have great kinky, but non-D/s sex. I would certainly say that my old friend, the nipple pain slut, does not have "vanilla" tastes, and certainly all the kinky sex I've had where we don't do M/s (as even when I play with power, I never do master/slave) was not vanilla.

Abr 27, 2008, 8:50 am

I suspect vanilla is a matter of perspective. Vanilla is not being adventuresome, just doing the tried and true, like only eating vanilla ice cream because you find pebbles in Rocky Road. It depends on where you're standing what that is.

Abr 28, 2008, 3:42 am

Bear in mind that it might be a good idea to preface any "vanilla is", "kinky isn't", or other qualitative statement with, "in my opinion" or "in my experience" when you read it (this one included!). While it may seem silly for statements of some kinds, there are as many definitions for vanilla, polysexuality, and nearly every other term that is used in alt sex circles as there are people who speak them.

That being said, in my experience, the term "vanilla relationship" is often used to describe a "normal" relationship between two people where power dynamics, gender roles, and "kinky play" (anything from spanking to full-on bondage) are not part of the equation. It doesn't have to be a man and a woman - two people of any genders can still be "vanilla", since it seems to mostly refer to kink as opposed to gender/biological preference.

A lot of "vanilla" couples might incorporate a little spanking or some dirty dominant talk in their sex, but does that stop them being vanilla? I say, let that be theirs to decide. *shrug*

As far as "polysexuality" goes, I've not heard that specific term, though I wonder if it might be the same as what my friends call "poly-playful" - they are in emotionally monogamous relationships but they have mutually agreed-upon and negotiated sexual encounters with outside parties (may include BDSM or not). Polyamory, in my experience, refers more to a situation where a person has more than one partner in whom they are emotionally invested.

Whew, that was fun... will check back tomorrow sometime and see if it makes sense, or if I even agree with myself... :-P

Editado: Maio 1, 2008, 12:12 pm

I recommend visiting and for more info on polyamory. I also recommend for more info on kink relationships.

Maio 1, 2008, 12:10 pm

Polysexuality was developed to differentiate between those who have multiple sex partners and those who have multiple romantic partners (polyamory), where the focus is on the sex vs. the love. It's not used very often.

Maio 1, 2008, 12:11 pm

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Jun 27, 2009, 11:27 pm

"vanilla" way I can discribe it to anyone..."man on top, screw the forplay, get it over with quick, we're makin babies"

Jul 4, 2009, 7:44 am

I think it should be mentioned here that many 'vanilla' relationships are only really such in terms of 'observable' participation. Who knows how many 'missionary' relationships involve not thinking of England, but are achieving arousal by imagining abduction by swashbuckling pirates, or remembering some ages-past toothsome teacher, rendered powerless and being threatened with bondage, or perhaps the cane, strap or paddle?

Jul 5, 2009, 2:18 am

12...I would agree, and I likethe way you think. To me, "vanilla" relationships are ones that just lack the spark of expermintation, be it mental or physical. Hey, if someone WANTS to lead a life like that and it's satisfying to them, more power to them...and vanilla to some folks may be off the charts for others. How kinky is it to just procreate?

Jul 30, 2018, 7:01 am

This is part of our definition of vanilla in the Black & Poly Facebook group's terminology file: A vanilla relationship is one that most closely mirrors the perceived relationship style of the dominant culture or community. In BDSM, for example, a vanilla relationship might be one that lacks a master/slave dynamic ( ); in kink, it might be one that is essentially missionary. In polyamory, vanilla could mean monoamorous, for example. Whether a thing is vanilla is a matter of perspective; it is where you sit within concentric circles. The circles with greater radii are seen as dominant over those with smaller radii.