THE BLOG
04/04/2012 02:57 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Sexual Preference Is Like Ice Cream

Recently, I have been poking around online to see if anyone is looking for the same thing I am looking for when it comes to kinks and fetishes. But when I look at kink and fetish ads in newspapers and online, among the most confusing things for me are the acronyms and lingo that people use to describe themselves and others. Kink lingo even has a word for non-kinky folks: "vanilla." A few years ago I slipped up and used this word in a session with my therapist. I mentioned that I would probably have issues keeping up with vanilla partners, which went over his head. After I explained what "vanilla" meant in this context, he exclaimed, "I'm like a muggle in the kink world!" (Pop culture references amuse me.)

It's been pretty warm up in Vermont lately. A few weeks ago it reached the 80s for a few days, and a lot of the creemee (soft-serve ice cream) stands opened their doors. It reminded me that not only are my maple creemees with chocolate sprinkles only an arm's length away, but everyone has a different "flavor" sexually.

When the creemee stands began opening up, I had been "courting" a college friend for a while, and at one point in the courtship I had offered, in my very romantic way, to buy her dinner at a local burger-and-creemee joint. I had said something to the effect that I felt really close to her and that I hoped to discuss it more. In response, she'd said she wanted a creemee. Back in the car, I watched my very cute, very confused friend lick her vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, and in a moment she had compared me to non-vanilla ice cream, explaining that she used to order twists, but one day she just ordered vanilla and found that she liked it better with rainbow sprinkles to give it that extra kick. I was heartbroken. Here was this lovely female, the person I had been pining for, comparing me to soft-serve that she didn't like. I realized that by taking an odd, mainstream treat that everyone enjoys and setting up such a metaphor, she did a few things. For one, she really didn't have to say "no" to me (and she really did mean "maybe," it turns out). The other is something that I see happening all the time: the attempt at avoidance -- avoiding the questions of, "Am I normal?" and, "Do I fit in?" I asked my friend, after thee very unflattering comparisons to ice cream, whether she meant it the way it came out. She said it was unintentional.

In any case, the conversation helped remind me that the probability that the person I'm flirting with happens to be into kink and identifies as kinky is about 10 percent. Even then, it may not be my kink. There are different subcultures, different authoritative structures, labels, and identities that one could apply to oneself. By the end of most conversations about this, I sometimes feel like I am trying to get every flavor at Ben & Jerry's. I end up wanting a Vermonster Bucket. But in the case of this conversation, it was more like a Ben & Jerry's flavor that didn't really work out, like Bovinity Divinity or any other ice scream in their flavor graveyard. It's just not that easy to put every flavor on the menu.

There has been a lot of controversy over the E. L. James' novel trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, which portrays a BDSM relationship. Certainly, no sexual lifestyle choice is best for everyone. You could be simply non-kinky, which would be like vanilla soft-serve. If you have a sexual identity other than straight, you could throw on some rainbow sprinkles, and if you enjoy some kinks and fetishes, but not many, in the bedroom, then you could add some chocolate sprinkles. Right now the mainstream is embracing some aspects of kink. Indeed, if anyone saw the movie A Dangerous Method this past winter, you probably noticed that it touched on sadomasochism, polyamory, and Freud, who, for the life of him, could find something sexual in anything and everything.

Within the kink community, you tend to have your Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-style dominance/submission or master/slave relationships, which are like getting your twisted creemee on. (There are different terms for these couples, and each person in the couple could be both master and slave, also known as a "switch.") You also have your kinksters and fetishists who don't really state whether they are dominant or submissive, but it becomes a bit more obvious the more you get involved with them. Then you have your subcultures, including furries (people who dress up as animals), tickle enthusiasts, and the age-play community. (On a side note: there is a ton of other subcultures within the kink community that I'm not mentioning. I'm not being discriminatory; there is simply a lot out there!)

I would say that my ice cream flavor is chocolate with rainbow sprinkles and whip cream to top it off. I embrace my flavor.