The munch: a little-discussed part of kink communities that help all other kink events run smoothly. A munch is a social gathering, usually held in public, designed to allow newcomers to meet the group and allow the group to meet the newcomers. While it doesn't have quite the glamour and sexyness of the giant kink conferences or kinky play parties, the "munch" is the backbone that helps allow these other events to be safe, fun play spaces. For that, it deserves its time in the spotlight.

What's the purpose of a munch? Is it for hooking up?

Munches were never, ever, designed to find a quick "hook-up." In fact, they're the complete opposite of that. In most groups, munches are the point of "first contact" that you and the group will have with one another. In some groups, they're absolutely required before you're allowed to attend any of the other events (including play parties!) held by the group. Munches are designed as safe, open places for kinky people to meet with new, potential kinksters in the community.

For this reason, unlike play parties or other private events, most munches are held in a safe space for *both* parties. Usually, this means a conference room at a restaurant, a table at a public bowling alley, or other public venues. The munch may be marked discreetly with a previously-disclosed stuffed animal on the table or a specific, interesting tablecloth on the table. The selection of these public spaces is intentional. The BDSM group wants you to feel comfortable meeting up with a "kinky" group, and they want to give you the chance to meet them in a normal-for-you environment as well. Plus, the non-kinky environment makes it clear that this is just a regular meet-up for regular conversation.

While some kink groups will host "kinky speed dating" or other events that might be open to you once you've attended some munches, the munch itself is not the place to try to find a hook-up; please be respectful.

What does a BDSM group get out of hosting a munch?

In simple terms, the BDSM group will get to vet you. "Vetting" is a simple process that allows the group to meet up with you, see that you're a comfortable, stable person, and that your intentions are in the right place. Just the basic act of having to attend a munch will usually weed out the people who would only attend a play party to "out" others or would only attend a play party to try to feel someone up. Don't be too nervous about the "vetting." As long as you're respectful and friendly, you'll have no problem with the "vetting" process at all. It usually looks something like a standard non-kinky conversation.

In addition, as you go to more events with this group and get to know them, you quickly start to make friends. A lot of the kinksters in a group will attend munches to hang out with their friends over lunch or dinner and to have a great time!

Why would I want to attend a BDSM munch?

The biggest reason that most newbies attend a munch is that it's required in order to attend other kink events put on by the BDSM group. In order for the group to feel comfortable inviting you into their personal and potentially-sexual spaces, the group wants to meet with you and ensure you won't cause problems. So, if you're hoping to attend a play party, kinky speed dating, or educational kink events, you might need to attend a munch first.

Outside of that, some people genuinely enjoy attending munches because they're a good chance to speak with other kinksters, make some friends, and find a community where you belong. Unlike play parties and other events where talking may be low on the list of priorities, munches are specifically designed for chatting and friendly discourse. Structured munches may also give you the chance to learn about a particular topic and how it affects your local BDSM community, which is always an awesome experience.

How do I find a local munch?

Now that you know what a munch is about, the next step is to find one to attend. The easiest way to find local munches is through local kink groups. However, even just finding the kink groups to start with can be a challenge. For that, I recommend two things.

First, check on Fetlife. it's relatively easy to search your city's name and find all of the particular groups that are in your city. Look for groups that have posted within the past couple of months. Feel free to look for their next posted munch or event. If you live in a small city, you may have to search some of the larger cities nearby to find a group to attend. Depending on your part of the world, a drive of an hour or two isn't unheard of!

If Fetlife isn't panning out with the results you'd like, you might consider a Google search. Most kink events have moved over to using Fetlife, but some still host basic websites. A Google search for "City name + State + BDSM" might lead results or "City Name + State BDSM play party" may lead to results as well.

Are there any requirements to attend?

Usually, aside from an age requirement, which will range from 18 to 21, there are no requirements to attend a munch! Because munches are designed as safe spaces for newbies to meet the established community and for the established community to meet newbies, there's no point in placing a lot of restrictions on the event itself. As long as you're of age and respectable, you'll likely find no problem attending a munch that's local to you!

What actually happens at a BDSM munch?

Good food and good conversation! That's the usual gist of most munches! Groups usually choose to run their munches one of two ways: structured, with a topic, or unstructured, with no topic.

Structured munches will likely have a topic for the munch, and when you attend, it will be a giant, round-table discussion. One of the group leaders will likely moderate and select people (with their hands raised) to speak and give their opinions. Structured munches can be an easy and real-life way to find out what people in your local community do and enjoy. Imagine structured munches as a giant, friendly Fetlife topic. Everyone gets their chance to chime in and reply to others. Even you can chime in! (And I recommend you do!)

If the listing or details for your potential BDSM munch don't list a topic, it's likely that you'll be attending an unstructured munch. An unstructured munch isn't chaos. It's just a munch where everyone is free to enjoy their social hour. You can strike up conversations where and when you'd like, and people will likely chat with you as well. Imagine a giant, 20-person dinner with friends; an unstructured munch is much like that.

Depending on the BDSM munch location, there may be food involved. At most events, you'll be expected to purchase your own food (if you're having any). You're free to order light or not order at all. I personally find having a snack to munch on or a drink to sip on helps me feel more comfortable in new spaces. You're free to not purchase any food if you'd like, though.

What should I wear?

As munches are held in vanilla (AKA, non-kinky) spaces, you should dress appropriately. You might choose to dress up a little bit (like you would for a dinner with a friend you haven't seen in months), but there's no reason to go all-out (like on a first date). Regardless of how much you choose to dress up, remember that you're going to be out in not-kinky areas, so be sure to dress in a non-kinky way.

How should I behave?

You should behave in the same way you would if you were at any other social gathering. Just because people are kinky doesn't really change how you should behave.

That means being polite, being respectful and joining in on conversations when applicable (and when you're comfortable!). Don't worry; most BDSM groups are used to new people being shy and uncomfortable speaking up, so you won't be the first one. Speaking about vanilla topics - especially in a group that's there for a singular, kinky interest - can make a lot of people nervous. Expect some of the group leaders to make an effort to invite you into a conversation or welcome you into the group.

What should I bring with me?

You should bring the money you'd need to pay for your food or drinks. Don't forget to leave a decent tip for your wait staff. Most munches are also open to other potential kinksters, so you could bring a friend or two for support if you'd like.

Don't bring any sex toys or kink toys, though. They're usually not welcomed at munches unless the munch topic specifically states they're welcome. This is not a place for play; it's just a place for great discussion.

What will we talk about?

This can be a scary one for people who have never attended a munch. Is everyone going to ask you about your kinks? Is it basically going to be cybersex - but in person?!?!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but munch conversations are going to be regular, basic conversations - but maybe without the expectation that "taboo" topics must be ignored. You should remember that a lot of munch-goers are friends. As such, standard friendship conversations will evolve. You might expect to hear conversations about how someone's car restoration is going, or you might jump into a conversation about video games. There might be a conversation about the newest eatery in town. There might be conversations about how someone's grandmother is doing. You might also hear conversations about how someone's slave training is progressing, or there might be joking about how hard someone spanks. Expect to hear regular, "vanilla" conversation with some kinky bits thrown in.

One thing of note: BDSM group leaders regularly use munches as a social space where many of their members are already gathered, so you might hear announcements or discussions about upcoming play parties or other events. This is good for you, though! Feel free to mark your calendar to attend if you're curious!

What happens after the munch?


Was your munch a good experience? Would you like to spend more time in the presence of like-minded kinksters? If so, seeking out more events might be your next step. What that next event will be will depend on the group's rules. Some groups will only require you to attend a single munch before you're allowed to attend any other group-sponsored event, while others may require two or three munches. Check with the group's rules and plan accordingly. Maybe it's time you try your first play party!

If you really disliked the group of people, you might consider finding another group in the area. However, make sure you're genuinely giving people a chance. It can be easy to feel nervous and write people off when you're in a new space; I know the introvert in me is quick to do it to others. Consider trying one more munch, and if it still isn't working, you might consider a different group in the area.