Vanilla Sex: here – have another helping

Intrepid wordsmith that I am, recently I’ve found much hilarity in the common use of the adjective “vanilla” to describe mediocre, conventional sex.

According to Dictionary.com the term vanilla originates from around 1662, from “Sp. Vainilla “vanilla plant” lit. “little pod,” dim. Of vaina “sheath,” from L. vagina “sheath” (see vagina). [Now there’s a coincidence.] So called from the shape of the pods. European discovery 1521 by Hernando Cortes’ soldiers on reconnaissance in southeastern Mexico. Meaning “conventional, of ordinary sexual preferences” is 1970s, from notion of whiteness and the common choice of vanilla ice cream.”

Wikipedia agrees:  vanilla sex (or conventional sex) is a description of what a culture regards as standard or conventional sexual behaviour. Different cultures, subcultures and individuals have different ideas about what constitutes this type of sex. Often, it is interpreted as sex which does not involve such elements as BDSMkink, or fetish activities.

So can we use “vanilla” as an adjective for things other than sex? E.G…

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