Does Liking Vanilla Sex Make You Bad In Bed?

“It was fine, I just wish he choked me a little bit more, you know?”

These are words that come out of my best girlfriend’s mouth and I try not to act absolutely horrified. It’s a typical girl’s night for my crew, so we’re getting completely wrecked over $8 bottles of Trader Joe’s wine and lamenting over the sh*tty men life has dealt us. My story for the evening was going to consist of “and then he refused to go down on me, can you believe it?!” I was going to be equal parts angry and indignant. There would be a lot of angry huffing and even more drinking. Or maybe I would talk about the guy I dated before this guy, whose idea of foreplay consisted of three minutes of finger banging and some closed-mouth kissing (ladies, there are so many good fish in the sea!!). Now, I’m rethinking those stories as my friends dive into their own light choking stories and I shrink further and further into my glass of wine. I was prepared to talk about sex, sure, especially bad sex—it is girl’s night, after all. But I wasn’t prepared to talk about kinky sex. And as I sit there listening to my closest friends mime choking hands and laugh into their wine glasses over the guys they’ve hooked up with who weren’t into kink, I have to wonder: am I lame for liking vanilla sex?

Fun fact about me: I’ve never been choked in the bedroom! And if someone had asked me if I enjoyed “light choking” I would have told them that I’d like my sex life not to end up as a future plotline on Law & Order SVU. But prior to this girl’s night conversation, I also wouldn’t have considered myself much of a vanilla sex girl. I, mean, I’ve had sex in a public restroom before, so that has to count for something, right? Apparently not.


The older I get, the more I hear my friends talk about incorporating some form of kink into their sex lives. Whether it’s the light choking or using sex toys during intercourse or handcuffs—it’s stuff that I used to consider extremely kinky, but is now becoming the norm. These are not things that I incorporate into my own sex life, nor do I have any desire to. I’ve been single for the better part of seven years, casually dating guys for no longer than a few months at a time. I did try and spice things up in my last serious relationship, but my boyfriend at the time seemed disinterested in my attempts. Then again, he was more interested in sleeping with any girl who had a pulse, so perhaps that was the bigger issue we should have focused on in our relationship. And they say true love is dead!!

So I stayed the vanilla course without even really knowing it. The spiciest I get these days is public sex, and even those encounters are few and far between the older I get. Is it so wrong that I like vanilla sex? As a single girl dating around, does that make me boring in bed? I’ve never felt insecure in the bedroom, but now I’m starting to wonder if I should.

I just want to be popular, okay!

On some level, it makes sense that women are trying to spice things up in their sex lives. We’re living in a post-50 Shades of Grey world. Romance novel sales are skyrocketing these days. Women are no longer afraid to admit that not only do they want sex, but this is how they want it. More importantly, women are finally being heard in the world. Not just in regards to sex either. Women are demanding more from their circumstances: they want equal pay, political representation, safe work environments, rights to their own reproductive organs, representation in the media, accolades in their career fields, and now, their own sexual fantasies fulfilled.

But here’s the thing: my sexual fantasies are completely different than that of my married friends or my engaged friends or my friends in serious, long-term monogamous relationships. For example, while my friend Lissa might be fantasizing about her fiancé putting a little extra pressure on her windpipes, mine are more about a guy texting me during daylight hours. (I know, that’s f*cking wild!!)

For the most part, my friends see incorporating something different into the bedroom as a way to escape the mundane, to spice things up with their partner. The key word here being partner. There’s a level of trust they’re afforded to try these things out. They don’t have to worry about being embarrassed or shut down, or hell, their own safety being put at risk. And I think that’s what it comes down to here. It’s not that I’m necessarily opposed to light choking or handcuffs or roleplaying or whatever else. I’m not anti-kink so much as pro-trust. My love life has been like one long Fyre Festival, so, you could say I’m a little low on trust when it comes to the opposite sex. I barely trust a guy to call me back, let alone play Russian Roulette with my airways.

Look, I’m not saying I won’t ever try something a little crazy in the bedroom, but I know for me there needs to be a foundation of trust in place first. So, yeah, maybe I’m a little more vanilla at the moment, but I don’t think that makes me lame or bad at sex. Bottom line: it’s your sex life, and you should do whatever you feel most comfortable doing. If men can demand what they want out of the bedroom then so should we, no matter how “boring” it’s perceived. And you can still have a fulfilling sex life, whether or not you incorporate kink. I’m not here to judge anyone’s sexual preferences unless it’s one of those furry fetishes, in which case, I’m sorry, but you were asking for that one. 

Images: Unsplash; Giphy; devondaigle9 / Twitter

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