In Praise of Vanilla

The word vanilla is often used by people with unusual sexual tastes to describe people with conventional ones. There’s something slightly condescending about it: a subculture standing on its own dignity by gently putting down the rest of the world. Vanilla is the ‘standard’ flavor for ice cream, so the implication is that it’s commonplace, boring: the underlying question seems to be, ‘Who would choose vanilla when you can have chocolate or strawberry?’

And the answer is, me: when it comes to ice cream, I would choose vanilla.

When it comes to sexuality, it’s a more complicated matter. I have a sexual response to seeing a woman being spanked. That makes me a ‘kinkster’, a ‘perve’, a ‘spanko’ – call it what you like. But I have really very little interest in the sexual subculture that has grown up around spanking, or the artifacts it creates for its own pleasure. No, what interests and appeals to me are examples of spanking as it appears in the world at large, created for and consumed by people who don’t have the same overarching fascination with the subject.

In short, I am into Vanilla Spanking.

The central difference is this. In vanilla, the spanking is part of a larger whole which is more important than the spanking itself, whereas in specialist material the spanking is the reason the artifact exists in the first place. That means there is a built-in distortion. In the usual way of things, a spanking is a response: a girl does something naughty and she is spanked for it. But when the spanking is primary, the reason for it is, unavoidably, merely a pretext – and arguably, with an already committed audience more interested in the outcome than the process, there’s relatively little incentive to make a convincing job of the reverse engineering. And this means that, when custom-made for ‘spankos’, spanking scenes are often less truthful about human behavior than those that were created for a real-world audience that might well regard spanking without good reason as an act of abuse rather than an enjoyable erotic spectacle.

And not only is vanilla spanking more truthful, it is also more authentic. If a sexual fetish originates in the mind’s efforts to process experience, then few people will have become ‘spankos’ through looking at spanking pornography, which is created to indulge a taste that already exists. On the contrary, the root of any fetish will most often lie in things that have been first encountered in the real world. The spanking subculture no doubt has many useful functions in sustaining and supporting fetishists, and I make no criticism of that. But for the most part its productions are only a shadow of the real thing, often with the overtly sexual dimension of the imagery ramped up. If that’s what you like, I have no wish to interfere in your pleasure just because I don’t happen to share it. But this site is devoted to a different kind of material, underpinned by one core idea:

Spanking is always more interesting when it is a part of real life.

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