What ‘Vanilla Sex’ Really Means + How To Do It Right

Those who are new to the world of sex may be confused by the term “vanilla sex”. If you aren’t sure what the term means, don’t feel embarrassed—it can be difficult to keep up with all the various sexual terminology. Where does this attempt to classify sex into flavors come from, and what does vanilla mean?

Vanilla sex is a type of sex that is often considered ‘standard’ or ‘normal’ when compared to other sexual experiences. Couples who are heterosexual and engage in primarily traditional sexual intercourse may consider this sexual activity ‘vanilla’, and feel that activities such as sex toys, role-play, BDSM, or group sex are atypical and therefore not vanilla.

Vanilla sex is not just limited to heterosexual couples, though. Any couple that identifies as gay, bi, or trans* can engage in vanilla sex as long as their sex life involves no kinks or fetishes, and instead relies on traditional sexual acts such as vaginal or anal sex.

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Essentially, when we talk about vanilla sex, we are talking about straightforward, exciting sex that does not involve fetishes, kinks, power dynamics, or an ‘out-of-the box’ approach.

What does Vanilla Sex Consist Of?

Vanilla sex can involve a variety of sexual activities, including those that involve just two people, and those with more than two people. Common examples include:

• Oral sex

• Vaginal intercourse

• Anal intercourse

• Fingering or handjobs

• Kissing

• Massage and body play

• Masturbation

How Vanilla Sex Varies for Different Couples

Since vanilla sex is not specifically defined, it can vary greatly according to the couple’s preferences and experience level. For some couples, vanilla sex could involve as little as kissing and caressing, while for others it may involve more exploratory sexual activities such as nipple play or analingus.

Each couple can have different preferences and ideas about what they consider to be ‘vanilla’, and there is no one-size-fits-all definition. The most important thing is to find out what works for both of you, no matter what it may be.

Benefits of Vanilla Sex

Vanilla sex offers numerous benefits for couples.


Vanilla sex is a great way for couples to build intimacy and physical affection. Confining your sex life to traditional activities helps you learn about each other’s sexual likes and dislikes while fostering a stronger bond and greater trust.

Exploring Your Comfort Zone

Since vanilla sex is often seen as ‘standard’, it allows couples to open up and explore activities they may not have tried before. Couples may choose to take turns satisfying each other or try new positions. This can help both partners become more comfortable with their sexuality and adventurous sides.

It Can be Fun

Vanilla sex does not have to be boring. While it may not involve any whips and chains, don’t underestimate the power of simple activities such as kissing or massaging. By paying close attention to each other’s desires and participating together in the sexual act, couples can make even the most basic sexual experiences more enjoyable.

How to Do It Right

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution to ensuring a pleasurable experience with vanilla sex, here are some tips for making your experience more enjoyable:

Open and Honest Communication

Couples should make sure they are comfortable communicating openly about their sexual interests. This allows both partners to discuss what activities they enjoy and find out what their partner enjoys.

Start Slow

Unless both partners are comfortable with quickly jumping into a fully-fledged sexual experience, it is a good idea to start slowly and build up to more intimate acts.


Don’t be afraid to try new things. See what new positions or activities you both enjoy and experiment with them.


Practice makes perfect. The more time two people spend together in the bedroom, the more they will learn what works for both of them.

Vanilla sex is a type of sex that involves strictly traditional sexual activities, such as vaginal or anal intercourse and oral sex. It requires open communication and a willingness to start slow and build up to more intimate acts. By keeping communication open and exploring different activities as a couple, vanilla sex can be a pleasurable experience for both partners.

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