If you’re new on the BDSM scene, someone is pretty much guaranteed to suggest that you go to a munch, but what is a munch, and what will you find if you go?
A munch is basically a regular meet up of like-minded people who are interested in BDSM. It will usually take place in a pub, club or a restaurant, which is reassuring for anyone new as they are going to a public place, and not to the private home of someone they don’t know.
The whole idea is to have a comfortable space where kinky people can relax, chat and ask any questions they have, surrounded by other kinky people who aren’t going to judge.
Where to find your local munch
If you search for local groups on Fetlife and join a few of those, you will see announcements for the munches in your area.
What to expect
You’re only walking into a pub or a restaurant. You’re not walking into a full-on fetish club, so don’t worry that you’ll feel out of place or that you’re going to see things that you’re not yet ready to see.
Even so, it can be daunting walking into a group of people you don’t know by yourself, especially if you’re shy or more of an introvert.
Here are a few things you can try if you’re nervous:
- Before you go, join in with the local group discussions on Fetlife and you’ll start to recognise some names and find you have things in common that you can talk about when you get to the munch. If you click on the munch event listing, you’ll also be able to see a list of people who are going to the munch so you can see who you might know.
- You could introduce yourself on the munch discussion thread, mention that you’re new and nervous, and you’ll find that people will reply to you and make you feel welcome.
- If you already know someone who is interested in kink, then why not take them with you so you have someone to talk to.
- Contact the munch organiser and tell them it’s your first visit, and they’ll look out for you and introduce you around. You’ll often find that you can arrange for them to meet you outside and walk in with you, so you don’t have to walk in on your own.
- There’s nothing stopping you from going for an hour to give it a try, and then perhaps going for longer next time. Do what works for you.
Every munch I’ve ever been to has had ‘meeters and greeters’ in addition to the organiser to make sure that everyone has someone to talk to and no-one is left standing on their own.
You’ll find people from all walks of life, all ages, all backgrounds, and all experiences. If you’re 19, you’ll find people near your own age, just as much as you will if you’re 50 or 60. Munches are very inclusive places.
Just like anywhere else, you’ll find people you really like and people you don’t. You’ll find people with your point of view and people who don’t agree.
What if you bump into someone you know?
Oh, the embarrassment, the horror, the… Wait a minute. Yes, you’re at a munch, and you’re there because you have some interest in BDSM. And they are there for… well, exactly the same reason! So, chances are you’ll end up having a good chat along the lines of “Oh, I didn’t know you came here. How funny,” and then it won’t be awkward at all.
So, what do you talk about?
Is it all whips and chains, and will you have to confess your deepest darkest fantasies as soon as you walk in the door?
Well, the answer to that is ‘no’, and ‘no’.
The first munch I ever went to was in Manchester, UK, in 2000. I don’t know what I was expecting, exactly, but what I wasn’t expecting was for a bunch of IT professionals to sit there comparing mobile phones and gadgets, and talking shop. There was indeed some very deep and intense discussion – on networks and servers. I kid you not.
This does not, of course, compare to the glorious moment when I was in a fetish club in my best ‘hello boys’ corset. There were three doms right in front of me and my elevated boobs. Were they discussing all the fetish equipment and what they might use? Were they complimenting me on my corset? No, they were seriously discussing whether leaves decompose faster than grass!
You’ll find discussions on all sorts of subjects, just like you would in any pub, so you won’t be left out and feeling like the only one who doesn’t know what everyone else is talking about.
Do you have to know who you are and exactly what you want before you go to a munch? Not at all, and you don’t have to tell anyone anything you aren’t comfortable with, either.
A munch is for having fun, getting to know like-minded people and, perhaps, if you feel comfortable enough to share, for talking about what you want and discovering what else is out there for you to experience.
There are also different types of munch. In Manchester, we have the main Manchester munch (the oldest in the UK!), a D/s munch, a spanking munch, an evening munch, kinky drinkies, munches with demos, the Under 35s munch, and, occasionally, munches with play.
Try different ones and find the ones you like, but it’s best to go more than once before you give up on a particular munch as it takes time to get to know everyone.
Every munch is different, with its own atmosphere and its own rules, so look at the event listing, or contact the organiser before you go, then you know what to expect. Unless it’s a very formal D/s munch, you don’t have to call everyone Sir and Ma’am, unless they’re your Sir or Ma’am and that’s what you’ve agreed with them.
If you are sub, going to a munch does not mean that Sir Lord High Shouty McShoutyFace Domlypants can come over and tell you what to do. Nor can anyone touch you without your consent.
It’s rare, but if you have a problem with anyone, immediately tell them to stop, and speak to the munch organiser about what happened.
If you’re ever in a situation where someone is bothering you and you can’t get away to find the organiser, then shout ‘no’ or ‘red’, and someone will help you.
Likewise, you are not allowed to pressure or bother anyone, or to touch or flirt with any sub who isn’t yours. Just use your common sense and basic good manners.
What shall I wear?
Do you need to break out the stiff, creaking leather trousers and the latex shirt, or the corset that boosts your boobs up around your ears? Well, no. If you walk into a munch, what you’ll mostly see is people dressed in everyday vanilla clothing, who look just like anyone else you’d see on the street outside.
Munch groups usually state ‘no obvious fetish wear’. Why? Because in a vanilla venue, the organisers don’t want anyone who is not part of the munch to feel uncomfortable, and nor do they want to draw attention to the munch. If you’re new and not ‘out’ to your family and friends, that also protects you, as you’ll look like you’re in a pub with a group of friends, not like you’re at a fetish fair.
Just wear something that you’re comfortable in, that you’d normally wear to go to the pub.
What a munch is not
A munch is not a pick up joint or a cattle market. You might meet someone for play. You might meet the Dom or Mistress of your dreams. Anything’s possible, but don’t go expecting that either of those things will happen.
By and large, people just go there to meet up and chat. More likely, you’ll meet some nice people, have a good chat and a drink, and discover that everyone looks pretty normal, really, and they don’t have a great big, flashing neon sign on their head that announces they’re ‘INTO BDSM’ in all capitals, and neither do you.
Just relax, enjoy chatting to people and be genuinely interested in what they have to say. You’ll make some new friends, find you have things in common, and that you’re no longer on your own, in this crazy, funny and wonderful world of BDSM.
The thing I love most about munches, and any other BDSM events, is that when I’m there, I don’t have to watch what I say. I can relax and be completely and utterly me, as a sub, as someone who is into BDSM. I don’t have to edit what I think before I say it, or mentally ‘hide the whips and kick the dildoes under the sofa’. I can be all of who I am, with people who understand, and that’s priceless.