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!
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.”