What We Talk About When We Talk About Vanilla

by The Vanilla Life

Don't sleep on vanilla.

Don’t sleep on vanilla.

My blog is to thank for getting the chance to write this guest post.  That little piece of the internet is about sex as I experience it and issues related to that.  More specifically, I write about what it’s like to be both vanilla and not; vanilla in the sense that I’m in a monoamorous relationship.  Not in the sense that I’m beyond the pale for the “mainstream” world.  A bisexual who is out and staying there, who owns handcuffs and bondage tape and enjoys experimentation with her partner.  I may not occupy a completely unheard of spot on the sex positive spectrum but, some days, it really feels that way.

So, I write from there, a place I think of as vanilladom.  The word monoamorous is one that I use to describe my relationship model.  I think of monoamorous as being in a long-term relationship with one person but without the concepts of ownership that accompanies traditional monogamy.  It’s being with one person but recognizing autonomy and his or her right to individual sexual feelings and expression. It’s a different place than monogamy seems to belong to, in my opinion.  It’s about being in a relationship with one person but not in a limiting way.  It’s about questioning what being mono actually means.  It’s about wondering if there are only two or three relationship models or if there might be something more.  Something that is alive in a way that the image isn’t.

I am where I am through both choices and the twists of fate.  Finding myself in vanilladom has been something of a surprise to me at times.  It raises the question: Can I meaningfully remain linked to the poly and sex positive community. More broadly, is vanilladom sex-positive?

One member of my chosen family who is poly asked me what I thought I could contribute to the conversation that is the sex positive community here.  I gave the question some thought.  What I feel like any monoamorous person can contribute is presence, a voice and confirmation that you can be in a mono relationship without accepting a preconceived monogamous image.  You can be polyamorous and be more than the stereotype the mainstream world presents.  You can be monoamorous and be more than someone having sex silently, in the missionary position, in the dark.  You have a voice and you should use it.

The Vanilla Life is a writer exploring sexuality and sex positivity who’s just figuring it out as she goes along. Writing as honestly about the process of figuring these things out is part of her journey. She has lived in St. Louis for over a decade and been an active part of the LGBT community for about half that time.  Check out her blog, http://vanilladom.blogspot.com/.