There are a number of vanilla blogs* I read, written by women of 40+ who are single and dating. Sex bloggers. Good ones. And by that I mean that they write well, are smart, funny, open, honest and raw.

There is a hugely stark contrast between all of them and me in that they are all prolific daters, are on multiple dating sites, are very sex-focussed, are delighted to have casual sex/open to late night booty calls/will happily have sex with men at first meeting.

I am envious of their freedom and their enjoyment of sex just for the physical pleasure of it. I often wish I was wired differently and could do the same.

There are three reasons I can’t.

The first is obvious: My introversion means that dating is a trial to be endured, so it’s not fun for me. That means that each time I agree to meet someone, it’s a Big Deal, and I don’t do it unless I think there’s something worth pursuing.

The second is that my sexual response is difficult to trigger. I don’t seem to have a drive or need for sex that operates independent of external stimulus: that is, when I’m not aiming my sexual energy at someone in particular, it essentially goes into hibernation. What works for me is to have a target who inspires that feeling, who hits my buttons just right. And how that fires up is complex and touchy and takes real connection.

The third is that casual sex with random men leaves me feeling used and devalued. It relates to both of the above since it’s ‘work’ to meet someone in the first place, and he’s unlikely to be able to press the buttons that rev me up unless we have developed a strong connection first. My (limited) experience with casual sex has been dissatisfying both on the ‘sex’ part and on the ‘how I feel about it/myself/him afterwards’ part.

I think a lot of this comes from the tediousness of being an object of desire in my younger years (the emphasis there is on ‘object’): I learnt very early that most men’s primary objective in any interaction with me was to get into my pants. Having sex never felt like something wonderful that was about our mutual pleasure, it felt like ‘giving in’ (because men would be angling at it from the start): it felt horrible and dehumanising and I would NEVER ‘give in’.

My dominant roots, I think, were in realising the power of saying ‘no’. Rather than turning men off, denial made them more interested, compliant, and eager to please. Go figure.

But what it means for *now* is that I’ve internalised all of those things, so dating for ‘fun’ and casual sex as ‘even more fun’ are completely foreign concepts in my mind. This is true even though I now have the confidence and maturity to make sure that I get what I want in casual encounters (and no doubt most mature men genuinely WANT to give their partner pleasure).

I’m tempted to move WAY outside my comfort zone, post a vanilla profile on a vanilla dating site and force myself to go on dates with nice vanilla men who seem lovely ‘just for fun’ (okay, fine, it wouldn’t be fun exactly, but maybe I would learn to see it as less of a trial). I doubt that casual sex is ever going to be on the cards for me, but I’m curious whether immersion in dating can get me over my aversion. Also who knows what amazing gems I might find. Yes, even in the vanilla world.


*There are many, but the sex blogs I was thinking of specifically are these:


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  1. It sounds like something more interesting to read about than experience! On the other hand, a lot of supposedly vanilla men are actually very kinky but don’t identify with the scene. So who knows who or what you might find!

    I hope you keep us posted; I always enjoy your perceptive blog entries.

    1. ‘Who knows’ is right!

      In a lot of ways vanilla is just EASIER, so as a way to try and shift my ‘ugh dating’ mentality, I figure vanilla dating will be simpler.


  2. I don’t know, I think at a certain point we reflect and figure out what we need/want. I think you’ve done that amply, and I don’t understand the idea of forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to? There’s something to be said for stepping outside your comfort zone but this seems beyond that, like something you’re not going to find any joy in. But I could be wrong, I often am!

    1. I think forcing myself to do new things that I don’t want to has to be part of my life because I love NOT doing it waaayyy too much (if that makes sense). I ‘make’ myself whenever I want to learn if something different might work for me, and what I’m doing/have done will probably work at some stage, but in any immediate sense really *isn’t* working at all.

      If it doesn’t work, that’s okay: It’s not like there’s any real cost (other than some short term angsty discomfort) in giving it a go.

      So, we shall see.


  3. This sort of makes my point that no matter how much one dates or has sex the percentage of failure and suckiness is relatively the same because searching for the right guy is tedious and hard work.

    What I’m hearing, though, is that you’re considering to fish in a different pond and who knows! It could work! You just never know where you’re going to find a good match.

    I’m actually meeting up with an experienced sub next week whom I met on Tinder by accident because I had a particular buzzword* in my profile. I’m so inexperienced with dating in the D/s world that I had no idea. Another sub also found me that way and we are building a tentative virtual connection and he wants to meet me, as well (“vanilla,” indeed! Lol).

    My threshold for bullshit is higher than most which allows me to expose myself more often to the travails of dating, yours is lower. I don’t think you need to do anything that feels unnatural. I think you can still be yourself in a different location. I mean, of course you could! xx Hy

    *I said I was a “domestic goddess.” I meant it in the Bigella Lawson sort of way, but, whatever! Haha

    1. The vanilla approach significantly widens my pool, so that’s an immediate bonus. And I think I’ve come to think of dating potential submissives as quite ‘heavy’ because I choose them SO carefully and discerningly, so I feel a weight of expectation (mine and his) in it.

      So it doesn’t seem like there’s much chance I can make D/s dating feel light and fun with the way I’ve come to think of it. This is my own fault of course, but it is what it is.

      I’m so interested to hear how it goes with the submissive next week! Good luck!

      I just invited a lovely tall vanilla man for coffee and realised that I didn’t even ask for his photo. Meh.


  4. I feel like I can say this because we click so well and have many of the things you listed about why you don’t like casual sex and the need for sex in common (along with that object of desire thing too, of course), but what could vanilla dating hurt? I say this because one, I don’t think there are many who are 100 percent truly vanilla, especially around someone like you, but, if they were, what’s the shame in getting to know them and trying to find out? Even if the sex never connected, you might wind up with a number two favorite person to drink champagne with.

    1. what could vanilla dating hurt?

      *smile* It couldn’t!

      I keep repeating this (because it’s true): My longest term relationship was with a vanilla man who would put most submissive men to shame with his desire to please. Even now, as my ex, he’s the same. It’s amazing.

      So yeah, vanilla submissives are out there and I’ve been lucky enough to find two of them so far. So you never know.


  5. I so identify with this. I recently had a sub break up with me suddenly, and I’m very shaken. We were together for seven months and were seriously discussing spending the rest of our lives together.

    Friends are telling me to go to F/m events and engage in casual play. I know from the few times I tried it in the distant past that casual play leaves me feeling used and more lonely than before. I identify completely with your points two and three.

    Thanks for this very incisive post.

    1. I’ll do my best.

      And it’s not the perverted part that worries me: that’s the easy bit.

      The hard bit is the D/s part. It’s hard to sell “No no, I get MY way 90% of the time. No it’s not fair at all. Not even a little bit. That will make you happy won’t it, sweetheart?”


  6. Yeah I can relate to this. Never been a fan of casual sex/intimacy gave it at go at University but didn’t get on with it. Just not wired that way I guess. Looking for a compatible partner is hard.

  7. Ms. Ferns, there isn’t any official lifestyle imperative that decrees: “You’re dominant so you must be able to have casual sex/relationships with submissive boys.” You don’t have to apologize for, or justify, why you want only committed relationships rather than casual encounter. Do what works for you, don’t worry about what you think someone else thinks dominant Ladies are supposed to do.

    1. Thank you for that, but I think you misunderstood.

      I’m not worried about any ‘shoulds’ (and the women I referred to in my post aren’t dominant: they’re vanilla).

      I’m envious of those who can do it. Not because I think I ‘should’ be able to ‘because dominant’, but because I think it would make my life easier and more fun.


  8. “Rather than turning men off, denial made them more interested, compliant, and eager to please. Go figure.”

    That is because we, men and women, often want and try to chase what we think we can’t have. If it’s readily and easily available then it isn’t as enticing.

    I’ve also been stepping outside into the more vanilla world. Or at least I was for a moment there *laughs* I don’t know if I will or not again right now. I get tired of putting myself out there and ending up disappointed or hurt.


    1. “That is because we, men and women, often want and try to chase what we think we can’t have. If it’s readily and easily available then it isn’t as enticing.”

      As long as there is an initial interest, that’s been my experience. It’s some strange quirk of human nature, or at least a common one.

      I had a quick look and yes there ARE academics who have written about this.

      “I get tired of putting myself out there and ending up disappointed or hurt.”

      I can understand that. The difficult thing is that it’s pretty much going to happen EVERY time. Until it doesn’t :/.


  9. I started dating 50 years ago. Most of my friends thrived on casual dating and casual sex. Back then it was the “notch on the belt” mentality. Never worked for me. Perhaps it was my submissive nature but it felt to me like using and abusing.

    By my early twenties, I had been in only three relationships. Being self=conscious about my submission, the sex was vanilla. and I mean that in a good sense. The sex was physically rewarding, emotionally and spiritually fulfilling.

    When I met Bonnie, it all fell into place. I have been a fortunate man.

    Each of us finds our own way. No path is better than another. Ours is not, nor should it be, the only way. Hopefully, each of us follow the one that brings us joy.

    respectfully stan

  10. I feel really identified with reason number two. Which has actually given me a lot to think about all along my life. Some women have showed themselves really surprised about it, expecting guys not to be like that under any circumstance.

    Being quite familiar with that state of hibernation (nice word to define it!), it is still quite mysterious for me to understand which stimulus push me out of my calm to lead me to the most full of life emotional states… It is not necessarily impossible in casual relationships, but very rare.

    That said, and as other people have already pointed out, I think there are many submissive men out there who will never openly declare themselves like that. Probably not hard to guess out after just a friendly glass of wine? You will have a good time!

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