What Can Vanilla Relationships Pull from BDSM and Poly?

To kick this off let me define what I mean by Vanilla , BDSM, and Polyamory.

“Vanilla  Relationship” derives from the use of vanilla extract as the basic flavoring for ice cream, and by extension, meaning plain or conventional. This means  sexual behavior that is within the range of normality for a culture or subculture, and typically involving sex which does not include elements of BDSM, kink, or fetishism. In relationships where only one partner enjoys less conventional forms of sexual expression, the partner who does not enjoy such activities as much as the other is often referred to as the vanilla partner.

 

BDSM stands for Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and submission (Ds) and Sadism and Masochism (SM). BDSM is a lifestyle and/or sexual practice. BDSM is a variety of often erotic practices or role playing involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and other related interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience. I could write a whole book on the history of BDSM; however, for the purposes of this blog I am referring to it as a lifestyle.

 

Polyamory describes a form of relationship where it is possible, valid and worthwhile to maintain (usually long-term) intimate and sexual relationships with multiple partners simultaneously.  Poly comes from the Greek and means “many,” while amory comes from Latin meaning “love.” Even mixing Greek and Latin roots is against traditional rules, and according to popular culture and societal norms so is loving more than person romantically and/or erotically.  Poly is concerned a relationship orientation and can be mixed with the BDSM or Vanilla sex worlds.

 

I feel the number one thing in any relationship is COMMUNICATION.  In both Poly and BDSM communication is one of the cornerstones of the relationships. In Poly, communication allows for each partner to know what is going on in the relationship at any given time. In BDSM it allows for the Top/Dom/Master/Handler to know how to reward and punish the bottom/sub/slave/pet. When the individuals know how to communicate they can express their wants, needs, and boundaries with one another.

 

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Written by TherapistNicki

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I specialize in love, sexual, and relationship positivity, as well as addiction counseling, for individuals, couples, and families. I have experience in working with adolescents, adults, couples, and families. I am receiving my PhD in clinical sexology from the International Institute of Clinical Sexology with concentrations in addiction and kink lifestyles. I received my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Liberty University. I believe in a holistic and systematic approach to therapy and coaching. You can contact me at 678-964-4739 or relationship.positive.therapy@gmail.com to set up an appointment.