BDSM 101: What is a Munch?

A Munch is a casual lunch or dinner with other local people who have an interest or experience in BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance and submission, sadomasochism) and/or Kink and other Fetish. Munch groups have many different characteristics depending on locations of where they meet. Some are held in locations where a demonstration can be given on different techniques, but most are held in family restaurants or bars where ‘play’ or fetish-wear is not permitted.

A Munch is a great atmosphere to meet like-minded locals, discuss a variety of topics, and make new kinky friends and get validation without people behaving ‘in role’. You can also meet potential play partners and plan scenes for upcoming play parties. I’ve always felt arriving to a play party with at least one scene pre-planned is my key to having maximum fun and minimum anxiety. (Others will often be inspired to talk to you and perhaps want to play after they’ve watched you play a hot scene with others.) It is also a great way to get invited to or sponsored into private play parties if you are newbie.

You can come to a Munch alone or with a partner or friends. Arriving alone at a Munch is usually less intimidating than arriving alone to a play party, and a great way to buddy up with others for an upcoming play party. There are usually both submissives and Dominants (and Tops and bottoms and switches and fetishists) who come to munches without a partner. If you’re not entirely comfortable coming alone, contact the munch organizer and let them know your situation. Most will be very happy to save you a seat near them, make sure you’re introduced to everyone and help make you feel comfortable and welcome. A munch is not really a place to ‘pick up’ partners on the spot, and in almost all groups Dominants and submissives treat each other with respect. While flirtatious comments may be made, “No” means no, and should you feel that someone is not respecting that, the munch organizer would appreciate knowing.

Munches include people of the entire range of BDSM interests from total beginners to light Dominance/submission to those involved in heavy physical aspects of S/M and everything in between. While you may not be interested in everything discussed, you will most likely meet others there with interests close to your own. Diversity is celebrated in the BDSM community and any consensual and safe practices or ideas are usually readily accepted. There’s no pressure to have interests you don’t have in most groups. We get many people who are nervous before attending that they may not be ‘BDSM enough’ and find complete validation of their interests and ‘level’ by others who feel the same.

Gear Night Image 2For the curious and inexperienced, almost every munch has at least one other person there with little or no real life experience and it’s not necessary to be experienced to attend munches. Munches are a great place to see that the BDSM community are not perpetually dressed in leather and carrying whips and chains. They are a great place to get information and insights from those with experience, learn about the different aspects of BDSM, ask questions, and just feel comfortable around others who feel the same. For those of us who have to ‘hide’ that part of ourselves around friends, family and co-workers, it’s very liberating.

Attendance can range from 3-4 people to a few dozens. It’s a good question to ask the munch organizer in advance if you are concerned. One thing to keep in mind, many of the people attending may be somewhat shy in groups. It’s completely acceptable to be quiet until you feel more comfortable. Don’t assume that everyone knows everyone else, because in most cases, there will be others there who are new.

As for attire, most people wear whatever they normally would for lunch/dinner with non-BDSM people. Feel free to contact the munch organizer to ask if there are any special dress requirements or rules (some specify no collars, etc.)

You may notice that many people in the BDSM community don’t use their real name and go by a nickname. This is entirely up to each individual. You can use either your real name or a nickname that you’re known by. Many of the munch groups provide name tags so that you can write both your first name and nickname (or either one you want). Sometimes the host will ask for your real name for the guest list and require ID that matches for legal purposes. It is standard protocol for the hosts not to share this private information with anyone else.

When you speak to others at a munch, Dominants and submissives are on equal footing. A submissive is not required to call anyone Sir or Ma’am or to do any sort of serving (of course, unless they are asked to do so by their own Dominant) Just address people by the name or nickname they give the group. Another thing to keep in mind is that in many cases you won’t know whether someone is Dominant, submissive or switch. Please don’t make any assumptions. Many times the shy ones are Dominant and the more assertive ones are submissive.

In conversation at a munch, it’s good form to ask people non-intrusive questions if you aren’t acquainted, start out getting to know them slowly. It’s usually OK to ask where others live or what kind of work they do. Their answers will be as vague or precise as they are comfortable with sharing. Some people are very comfortable sharing intimate sexual information, and many are not… at least not at first. Common sense will let you know how much you can ask, and if you’re in doubt, ask their feelings regarding certain activities rather than if they engage in them, or share your feelings on topics and invite their responses. Conversations will also generally cover the internet/social media local clubs, stores and toys.

As an additional note, if a Munch announcement asks you to RSVP, please do so. Munch organizers usually need to inform the restaurant how many to expect. If you RSVP and something comes up preventing your attendance, PLEASE write the organizer to let them know you won’t be able to attend.

2 thoughts on “BDSM 101: What is a Munch?

  1. Hello, I am trying to find my community here, and found this site. I am interested in events, gatherings, etc. Any help or points to good places to start would be great. I am a 36 yr old female switch.

  2. Hi I went to the 11/16 IHOP Munch at 21south and 3rd West. I hope i made an okay impression. I would like to visit again and get a sponsor, and i’m not sure how sponsorship works

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