What's 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 Fetish. Munch groups have many different characters 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 fetishwear is not permitted.
A munch is a great atmosphere to meet like minded locals, discuss a variety of topics, and make friends and get validation without people behaving 'in role'. Following are some frequently asked questions regarding munches.
I don't have a partner.. Can I come alone? Will I be safe?
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 doing this, 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 a place to 'pick up' partners, 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.
I/We are not into all that heavy play.. Will I/we be uncomfortable?
Munches include people of the entire range of BDSM interests from light Dominance and 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.
I/We are not very experienced (or have no real life experience). Will I/we feel out of place?
Not at all! Almost every munch has at least one other person there with little or no real life experience and it's not neccessary to be experienced to attend munches. Munches are a great place to see that BDSMers 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.
How many people usually attend?
This depends entirely on the individual group. Attendance can range from 3-4 people to a few dozen. It's a good question to ask the munch organizer in advance if you are concerned. One thing to keep in mind.. a high percentage of people attending are 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.
Am I in the right age group? Will I be uncomfortable?
Ages of those in attendance of course vary from group to group, but usually there will be those from age 19-20 to in their 60's or 70's. Within your first 2 or 3 munches you will probably meet others your age. Even if most others seem older than you, or younger than you, you already have common interests so should feel comfortable.
What should I wear?
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)
Do people use their real names ..or..??
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).
How should I address others?
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. Just address people by the name or nickname they give the group. Another thing to keep in mind is that in most 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.
Are there questions I should NOT ask people? What CAN I ask them?
It's acceptable to ask people any non-intrusive question. 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, but the majority 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 and computers, local clubs, stores and toys.
I'm really nervous.. should I just forget this entire idea?
I don't think I've ever met anyone who wasn't nervous before their first munch.. but here are a few comments I've heard:
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.
- I remember before my first munch I was terrified.. dont know what I expected.. lots of leather and stern faces I guess ..lol.. nothing could be further from the truth.
- Your first impression will likely be "Gosh! they're so-so-so ..normal!!! " *G*
- I was really REALLY nervous... for about the first 2 minutes.. then I felt completely welcome and part of the group and had a GREAT time!
- Some of the people I've met at the Munches are well on their way to becoming very, very close friends of mine... they understand things that my vanilla friends just "don't get".
- It was incredible to us that what we'd been talking about, and guessing at, had already been identified and
discussed by others before us. Talk about serious validation! It was so great to see that 'our' ideas about a structured relationship and interaction between two distinct personality types was not only upheld, but celebrated by others!