BDSM vs. Vanilla

i posted a topic about this on fetlife, but i felt like while i was thinking about it, it might be a good idea to write down my thoughts on it. Obviously, there’s a stigma around the word ‘vanilla.’ People on fet seem to take that word and use it almost as an insult. my theory is that BDSM isn’t very far from vanilla.

When i first heard about the lifestyle, i was thinking that the relationships would be amazing and perfect and so different from vanilla. While some of the relationships are amazing and perfect, most aren’t. That’s the first similarity i saw to vanilla relationships: we’re still imperfect. Whether you’re a Dom or a sub, you’re imperfect! And thus, both sides are going to have to apologize from time to time. Taking the blame is something i didn’t see as a Dominant thing to do, when i first learned about BDSM. ‘Dominants are always right!’ i would tell myself. It wasn’t too long ago, but i did learn that as in every relationship, there are going to be mistakes, and the fact that a Dominant can humble themselves and say “you’re right and I’m sorry” makes them a good person, which in turn would make them a better Dominant, at least in my eyes!

As i wrote about before, both vanilla and BDSM relationships have to have communication as a foundation. If not, problems arise. Big problems. There’s no difference in the importance of talking to one another. This also ties into trust, which is a major component of both vanilla and BDSM relationships as well.

Tasks to be done, in both vanilla and BDSM relationships, are handled similar ways. For instance, i have a friend whose mom stays at home and does the stuff around the house, as well as taxing the kids to and from things. As far as i know, she’s vanilla. She’s pretty uptight about sexual things and she freaked out when she found birth control pills in her daughter’s room so i’m thinking she’s not kinky. Some subs stay at home and take care of the house, too. As is very common nowadays, some subs also go out and work alongside their vanilla co-workers. Some Doms chip in and help around the house, and so do some vanilla men. So, as far as jobs in the household and out, it would seem that both relationships are the same.

Rules in vanilla relationships seem to be more unspoken, whereas rules in BDSM relationships seem to be more talked about and recognized. This is a small difference i see. Not really big enough for me to be comfortable saying ‘aha!! This is the difference!!’

On both paths, you have women who submit to men, and men who submit to women. The boy i lost my virginity to basically did what i told him to do. It wasn’t me manipulating him, and it wasn’t an agreed upon ‘you take all the power,’ it just was what it was. my guess is that our case is not the only case of a vanilla relationship having a Dominant and a submissive person. my question here is ‘in a BDSM relationship is one more Dominant, or is it just more discussed?’

The biggest difference i thought of was the sex life. Those involved in BDSM have a very wide variety of kinks which, it is largely assumed, would squick a vanilla person. Vanilla is seen to be missionary style or doggy style, not much variety, very boring if it’s the only thing you do. i don’t know if i agree with that, or where the line is drawn from vanilla to BDSM as far as sex lives. It has to be drawn somewhere, right? There are just so many fetishes that there can’t be a line, really, because what’s on this list of fetishes, how is it ordered, and then dealing with the fact that while a very large percentage of women have rape fantasies, i would imagine that consensual non-consent is something that would be extremely kinky. Odd. i think, even in our sex lives, we aren’t too different.

So what do you think is the difference? Just curious about people’s opinions on the subject : )