What Men y Think About Vanilla Sex

They’ve been raised on porn and have a rep­u­ta­tion for want­ing sex around the clock. Fac­tor in kink’s new cool­ness and it’s pretty ob­vi­ous what men are crav­ing in bed, right? Wrong. Don’t grab those hand­cuffs just yet!

CLEO (Malaysia) - - LOVE & SEX SPECIAL -

If sex moved in fash­ion sea­sons, ad­ven­tur­ous sex is def­i­nitely in. Fetlife. com, a so­cial net­work made for the BDSM com­mu­nity, has 3.7 mil­lion mem­bers and count­ing. Fifty Shades Of Grey raked in al­most US$700 mil­lion (ap­prox. RM3.1 bil­lion) world­wide. Al­though, while the world and its mother is think­ing kink, the male pop­u­la­tion is caught up think­ing, “So much pres­sure”. “I don’t think a sin­gle stereo­type has had such a neg­a­tive im­pact on the psy­che of guys,” ad­mits Char­lie, 27. “There’s anx­i­ety, even with one-night stands. What if she sees me naked and ends up chang­ing her mind? What if I can’t get it up?”

Then just fac­tor in two im­por­tant de­vel­op­ments: A (largely fe­male-fo­cused) sex-toy in­dus­try and Chris­tian Grey – a mil­lion­aire in the book, a model in the flesh, who talks about a mys­tery ‘red room’ that has noth­ing to do with paint charts. And that’s with­out even touch­ing on the horse-hung males made [in]fa­mous by porn. “Men now be­lieve that they should be sex­ual Swiss Army Knives: Ver­sa­tile, com­pli­cated, multi-tal­ented, tak­ing the lead and ex­pe­ri­enced,” ex­plains sex­u­al­ity coun­sel­lor Ian Kerner ( good­inbed.com). Mind. Blown. GREAT sex­pec­ta­tion Newflash, peo­ple: The pres­sure to rock the up­per end of the whole ex­per­i­men­tal sex scale is of­ten felt by both sexes. “The ul­ti­mate in­sult is this per­cep­tion that you’re bor­ing in bed or not sex­ual enough. Be­ing vanilla is the new frigid,” ex­plains sex ther­a­pist Lynda Car­lyle ( lyn­dacar­lyle.com). “There’s al­most a sense of re­spon­si­b­lity for a young per­son to hang from the chan­de­liers when they’re in the bed­room,” Plain-sham­ing, is no less judgey than it’s pre­de­ces­sor, slut-sham­ing. “Im­ply­ing that want­ing vanilla sex means you’re a prude is def­i­nitely a form of re­verse sham­ing,” says Michelle, 29, who has felt the pres­sure to spice-up her rou­tine be­tween the sheets. “The peo­ple who shame you for not want­ing to get kinky are as bad as the peo­ple who call out ca­sual sex.”

Joe, 26, ac­tu­ally tried to ad­just to this. “I know peo­ple who en­joy BDSM a lot. My ex-girl­friend would ask me to slap her dur­ing sex – but I hated it. You start to feel like some­thing’s wrong with you for not lik­ing BDSM.”

Car­lyle be­lieves that our early sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ences is es­sen­tial in de­ter­min­ing how ad­ven­tur­ous we are later. “If your first part­ners made you feel safe ex­press­ing things, you’ll prob­a­bly feel more con­fi­dent try­ing new things.”

How­ever, some­times ‘things’ just aren’t for you. The re­cent Sex In Aus­tralia sur­vey dis­cov­ered that just 2.5% of men and 1.6% of women had prac­tised BDSM sex with a part­ner in the last year. “Ready ac­cess to porn has widened peo­ple’s sex­ual reper­toire,” ex­plains study lead Juliet Richters, Pro­fes­sor in Sex­ual Health at the Univer­sity of New South Wales. “Nev­er­the­less, sex­ual coun­sel­lors al­ways rec­om­mend do­ing what you like rather than what you feel is ex­pected.”

EM­BRACE what you like

“For years, I was down on my­self for be­ing too kinky, so I em­pathise when peo­ple put them­selves down for be­ing too vanilla,” ad­mits Max, 30, who reg­u­larly prac­tises BDSM. “If you have vanilla sex and you like it, revel in the fact that at least your sex­ual habits don’t re­quire ex­pen­sive equip­ment!” Jenna, 24, re­alised some­thing im­por­tant af­ter try­ing to shape her boyfriend, Dan, into some­thing he wasn’t: “My boyfriend has no crazy fan­tasies, which sounded bor­ing, so I tried to help him find his kink. Then it dawned on me that it’s not that he’s dull, he’s just per­fectly happy as he is.” When it comes to porn, ev­ery­thing is big­ger and riskier, so you of­ten want some­thing more ‘real ’ in­stead. “There’s def­i­nitely a place for sex­ual ad­ven­ture, but most men want what porn is ac­tu­ally lack­ing: Emo­tion­ally con­nected love­mak­ing,” says Kerner.

Af­ter all, sex is only one com­po­nent of a re­la­tion­ship. “I like vanilla sex be­cause I feel so close to my girl­friend when we do it,” ad­mits Ju­lian, 26. “It’s not the type of sex that’s im­por­tant – it’s how I feel about the re­la­tion­ship.”

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