Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Vanilla Is a Spice"

This poem is spillover from the February 2, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from LJ user Draggon_flye and Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "such a gentleman" square in my 1-23-16 card for the Valentine's Day Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by LJ user Draggon_flye. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics and is a companion poem to "All You Can Do Is Feel."

Note: This poem is all M/F sexyfuntimes. If that's not your cuppa tea, you can skip it without missing more than some background characterization and discussion of super sex lives.

"Vanilla Is a Spice"

Ruggiero and Olympia love
and respect each other, but
it takes some negotiation for
them to meet in the middle.

Ruggiero is a strongman
and a fighter boss, powerful and
assertive in his everyday work -- but
when it comes to the bedroom
he needs tenderness.

Olympia is a comare,
trained in pleasure and
organization, nurturing
and resilience, capable of
adaptation -- but she needs
information on how to aim.

It is Ruggiero who sets most of the limits,
because Olympia likes far more things
in the bedroom than he does.

No pain. No marks. No bondage.
No use of force in any way.

He does not mind using
his strength to assist them --
he will hold her up,
but never down.

He does not mind when
she wants a blindfold
to intensify the sensation,
but he will have nothing
to do with ropes or cuffs.

More sensual delights
are open to negotiation;
she has introduced him to
the joys of sensory play with silk
and leather, fur and feathers,
warm stones and cold ice.

Their lovemaking
may be straightforward
but it is never boring: he is
determined to show her
that vanilla is a spice.

Ruggiero is a skilled
and attentive lover, both
subtle in his observations
and quiet in his expressions.

He explores Olympia's body
like a foreign country full of
wonders and treasures to be
mapped and appreciated
at their leisure.

He surveys her mountains
and her valleys, cups
his powerful hands
around her softness.

He touches himself
to show her what he likes, and
studies her as she demonstrates
her own delights for his delectation.

Her eyes mirror his desire,
and under his fingertips
her pulse jumps in response.

His hands trace the bright, fierce ink
that enfolds her shoulders, and
her thumbs find the lines of
his scars, old and new.

Her body's dew beads
around her busy fingers,
while his trickles from
a thickening shaft.

When at last they
join together, they are
fully ready for each other,
sinking into the union
with a sigh of relief.

It is like coming home,
always, after a long trip,
the way their bodies embrace
so carefully, as each part
seeks its counterpart.

He always makes certain
that she finds her bliss
before he does: he is
such a gentleman.

Ranging far and wide,
Ruggiero and Olympia
do not think of home as
a city or a building; instead,
their own bodies are
home to each other.

* * *


(Some of these links are explicit.)
Negotiation is a healthy part of a long-term relationship. Local-Earth teaches this almost exclusively through kink, with such things as contracts for BDSM. Checklists of possible activities may involve a simple yes-no-maybe or more elaborate structure. Here is a sample negotiation form. It's important to understand the difference between hard limits (what someone can't or won't do) and soft limits (what they haven't done, aren't sure about doing, will do to please someone else, or only enjoy under limited circumstances). Safewords help keep things sane and consensual. Here are some tips on negotiating in the bedroom. Terramagne has better social skills overall; decent schools cover at least the basic health and safety information for everyone, and good schools provide more instruction on awesome ways to have a happy, healthy sex/romance life. This kind of workbook is typical of late high school or college classes in a school with good sex ed.

Sensation play spans a range from sensual to intense, dealing in such things as temperatures and textures. It does not have to be sexual, although it can be. Lengthy, luxurious foreplay is one good example.

The skills of a good lover are many and varied. Not all of them are even about sex.

Vanilla is a term for basic sex, the stuff that most people do. A lot of sex tips are about kink, but if you look, you can find vanilla tips too. It can be just as hot as any other kind of sex. In Terramagne, Orchid pr0n is really explicit, erotic stuff about ordinary sex/romance. There's a company called Orchid that does everything from Orchid Erotica (the fiction) to Orchid Academy (the nonfiction) to make love exciting for people who aren't into the more adventurous activities.

So what defines kink? The core of it includes bondage and discipline (tying people up), dominance and submission (power exchange), sadism and masochism (pain play). Beyond that are other things like roleplaying and elaborate sex toys. There are two basic standards of safety in kink. One is Safe Sane Consensual; the other is Risk Aware Consensual Kink. These mark areas along a spectrum from more safe to less safe activities. But bear in mind the only 100% safe sexual activity is celibacy; all sex has some risk. Masturbation can give you a heart attack. Vanilla sex can cause pregnancy, which sometimes cripples or kills people; and transmit diseases which can also kill people. Mononucleosis is called "the kissing disease" because it spreads readily that way. So remember: it's a spectrum, and each person decides what risks they do or do not feel comfortable taking. Edgeplay has several definitions, referring to activities with a higher-than-usual risk, which may be in addition to or instead of the usual ones.

Ruggiero and his partners think of him as vanilla. Really, really vanilla. One reason for this is that's his personal identity, which is something to be respected. Another is that his tastes occupy a small area within the very broad field of sexual activity, and he explicitly rules out all the major kink categories: no pain, no bondage, no dominance games, etc. For reasons of safety and sanity it's very important to keep the bedroom a gentle place for him. And that's fine -- as far as it goes -- except for one thing. They both have superpowers, and that's not vanilla.

(Some of these links have NSFW images.)
"Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" is the classic description of why some superheroes can't have sex. Some use their powers to do things which are nonconsensual, or consensual but pretty far out. These issues come up for superheras too. Here are some comic strips illustrating how a lack of communication can cause problems, super sex can be very destructive, or super sex can be amazing for soups.

The way I look at it, most soup sex is RACK because most superpowers can be dangerous if they get out of hand. That means soups typically need the kind of sexual awareness and social skills that kinky folks need for a safe and satisfying experience, and some of them use their abilities to make sex a lot more exciting. On the third hoof, many of them aren't interested in adventurous sex; they just want to make sure their abilities don't prevent them from having basic sex. This is a key reason why Ruggiero rules out all the kinky stuff, because of his superpower. (The other main reasons are traumatic past and needing a break from rank considerations.) For him, sex is about tenderness and relaxation: the heart and soul of vanilla.  Given that Ruggiero has Super-Strength and Olympia has Pheromones, a certain amount of control is required for them to reach that goal.

And then I found this awesome essay about vanilla sex, which introduced the idea of French vanilla but then didn't really know where to go with it. I love the idea, though. French vanilla is a perfect description of people who have a sophisticated awareness of sex and can negotiate their desires as fluently as kinky folks do, and they may have found some ways to spice up their activities which are sensual without getting into the areas typically considered kinky. It's vanilla as a spice, the way a good French vanilla has quite a distinctive flavor based on liberal use of vanilla bean and egg yolks, rather than just a dash of vanilla extract as a base flavor. So that's what I ultimately settled on for how I personally would describe Ruggiero's orientation; it still fits his self-description, just adds acknowledgement of his fluency level.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, romance, weblit, writing
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