Kink Converter


I hear this “debate” discussed all over the place. From private party conversations to munches to support groups. If you’re single (or poly) and dating – do you even bother opening yourself up to the vanilla population? Or stick only to your own kind in the kink world?

The first question you should ask yourself is how important is kink in your life? For some, kink is something that’s fun every so often to spice things up. There is nothing wrong with this, however, you may find that if you meet a great person who has no interest in kink – it may be no big deal. In this case it may work well to open yourself up to any possibility – kinky or vanilla. For others, at the other end of the spectrum, kink and D/s may be how they live their everyday life. If power exchange relationships are the only kind you want or if play feels more like a need than a want – then it may not be wise to dip your toes into the vanilla dating pool. Of course there is a whole lot of “in between” as well and the same advice goes to all – weigh how important kink and D/s is for you and that may give you a hint at answering this question.

Here’s the fun scenario though – let’s say you are closer to the latter and really can’t imagine going vanilla again. You decide you will not seek out vanilla partners. Great – problem solved! Maybe. Maybe not. It’s possible that you may still end up meeting someone in the vanilla world whether or not you were looking. So what then? Should you immediately run for the hills? That is one option. Another is to get to know them a little better and vice versa. Open up about your lifestyle, interests, relationship profile, etc. This can go one of two ways (basically) – they end up running for the hills or perhaps they are interested to learn more. Keep in mind – just because someone isn’t in the “scene” doesn’t mean they aren’t kinky! They just may need an introduction to this wide world of BDSM.
This is the point where you have to decide to recruit or not recruit. For some they don’t want to deal with “training” a newbie. Ok fine – you’re not obligated. However, this is also an opportunity to expose BDSM to someone who may really take to it quite well. In my opinion, if they have the interest and possess other qualities that you enjoy, it’s worth a shot!

This is the part where I will add a more specific D/s related point. If you are a D-type and the recruit is an s-type – it’s pretty easy to see where teaching and training is an easy fit. However, if you are the s-type and the new recruit is a D-type – I highly recommend putting them in touch with other D-types to learn from and talk to. If you are the one filling the “teacher role” (even if you have the answers) it’s possible to mess with the D/s dynamic that you may be trying to nurture and develop.

Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.


  1. haha this is like “vanilla hunting” hehe

  2. CCCookie718 says:

    Love this! Living this! I mean, a little over a year ago I would’ve been considered a “vanilla”. Now I can’t imagine having a relationship w/o at least SOME aspects of kink! The struggle is real!

  3. Why decide blind? These days kink shows up in the public square all the time. 50 Shades darker is probably crap, but it is crap that can open a conversation. If you mention 50 Shades and your date makes then sign of the cross and calls it perverse it probably is not wise to bring up BDSM as an option. If instead they say is it crap and not an accurate depiction you just might have found someone vanilla on the outside who is kinkier than you on the inside.

  4. I’m in this predicament. I’m not exactly “looking” but I do have a vanilla crush. It wasn’t my plan but attractions happen.

    It’s easy to say “I’ll never date vanilla” but as you pointed out, there’s a very real possibility that you can fall for one. We’re all humans after all.

    You also pointed out correctly that depending on how hard wired you are to kink it might not be a problem but when it comes to “somewhere down the road” frustrations can occur. That’s my current state of being.

    My vanilla wafer has ZERO interest in the scene and as far as being kinky goes…not much either.

    I wouldn’t discourage a kinkster from wading into the vanilla pool but I would most definitely advise the use of safety devices. It can be deeper than it looks.

  5. Your article resonated. Married 16 years to Vanilla and suppressed my kinky side. Decided explore and find a Dom to mentor and train me but this has been most difficult due to the fact I am not free 100% to serve. I am still exploring and my husband has agreed to play in my world but sadly it feels forced and more like acting then it does with someone who is dominat and lives the lifestyle. I do not see me suppressing this part of me and am still working through it.

  6. Isaac Kalder says:

    “This can go one of two ways (basically) – they end up running for the hills or perhaps they are interested to learn more.” If the Vanilla person does run for the hills when their partner brings up BDSM, is that considered close minded of the Vanilla person? Is it okay to have zero interests in Kink, and remain 100% Vanilla for the rest of their life, or is that just someone who is too cowardly to step out of their comfort zones, and try new things? Some Doms told me that being Vanilla is despicable.

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