What is a “Munch?”
Simply put, a “munch” is a social gathering of kinky people in a not-so-kinky setting. As the name suggests, there is usually food involved. Often, it will be held at a public restaurant or cafe in a centralized area. There is usually a leader or group of leaders that organize the meetings and make sure everyone is safe and comfortable during the event. Most munches are informal, with no strict start and end times, but rules do change based on the specific host in your area.
What’s expected at a munch?
A munch, unlike a play party, is about connecting socially with other kinksters in your area. The main idea of a munch is that there is no playing or sexual activity, so it allows folks to get to know other members of the kink community without the pressures of a play party.
Expectations will differ based on the group, but most munches require you to be dressed in street-appropriate clothes. This obviously varies based on the area you’re in and what kind of establishment the munch is being held in, so use discretion. If you’re meeting up at a bar you can be a little looser with dress code, but since a lot of munches take place in family restaurants, please be sure to dress appropriately for the setting.
You should feel comfortable to chat with folks around you, whether it be about kink or other interests. If you are discussing kink, keep your volume in check around children and other diners. The host of the munch will probably let you know if there’s an issue, but the last thing you want is for the establishment to ban your group from returning. If there is a private room or an empty area at the restaurant, the host will usually organize for your party to be seated in an isolated area so you can more comfortably discuss BDSM without offending other guests.
The host is going to be a really important person for you to know at the munch. They will usually act as a liaison between newbies and the rest of the group. If you have a particular topic you want to discuss but are too nervous to bring it up, ask the host if they can. Most munch hosts are extroverted, well-known, and more than willing to help you feel at home.
Munches are normally pretty laid-back, but for specific rules, check out event pages online for the munch or ask around. Do some research about the group you’ll be meeting so you know what to expect at your specific munch. Remember that rules differ among groups, so do your best to read up on what’s expected before arriving.
How do I find a munch?
You can most easily find munches in your area by using FetLife, an online social network for kinksters. Through there, you can look at all the events around you, RSVP to ones you’re interested in, and connect with people who are going before the event even starts.
You can also do a simple online search for “bdsm munches near [location]”. Some rural towns may not have much, but if you search for bigger cities near you, there’s a better chance of finding something.
Other than searching online for munches, you can also ask around if you already have friends in the local scene. If you go to play parties or other kink events, you can ask around (or ask the host of the event if you’re shy) if they know of any munches in the area. The kink community has pretty good networking skills due to the underground nature of BDSM. Lots of people in the scene have contacts for all sorts of events and other people with connections, so definitely put it out there that you’re looking and someone will provide an answer.
Pro Tip: Feeling super nervous before going to your first munch? See if the host has their information posted on the event page. Many hosts do this so you can contact them before the munch so they know you’re coming and would like some help making friends. Don’t be shy–that’s what they’re there for.
What do I need to bring?
For play parties, I pack a big bag, but for munches, it’s not at all necessary. Basically, whatever you’d bring for a meal out is all you need! I would suggest bringing cash if you have any (I never do!) to make splitting the check easier on your waitress if there’s a large group. Other than that and your ID (if you look young, some groups may ID you, or if you’re having a drink you’ll need it), you really don’t need to bring anything special.
Are there age requirements?
Sometimes! Most munches will only require that you’re of age (18+). However, age-specific munches do exist. If a munch is being held at an establishment that serves alcohol, they may require you to be 21 or over. Some groups will even do munches specifically for, say, 50+ kinksters in order to give people a means to connect with others in their age group. College towns may host munches specifically for folks under 30, often labeled as “TNG (the next generation) munches.”
What if I want to play with someone?
If you connect with someone and there’s a mutual attraction or agreement to play, that’s great! Unfortunately, playing at a munch really isn’t an option. However, many munches are held just before a play party or other kink event as a mean to connect with new folks beforehand. If that’s the case, transitioning to a play space with your new friends is very easy. If there isn’t a party directly after the munch, you’ll have to make plans to play another time or at a private location.
What if I’m nervous?
Being nervous around a new group of people is completely understandable. It can be intimidating, especially if the group is at all cliquey. My best advice is to connect with one of the members (especially the host) online or in person before the munch and establish a connection so you don’t feel left out and they can help facilitate you meeting more people.
It’s also a great idea to bring someone if you can! A partner or a friend can make you feel a lot more comfortable at a munch. They don’t even have to be kinky themselves to tag along–just make sure they’re comfortable with the discussion of kink. A supportive friend can really help you feel at ease, especially if they’re a little more extroverted than you.
There’s also no shame in letting people know that you’re a little shy and that you’d rather hold back and listen to the conversation for a bit until you’re comfortable. Most folks you’ll meet at munches know what it’s like to be nervous around new people so they’re generally supportive of respecting your comfort level.
Pro Tip: If someone gives you any problems, pull the leader aside and let them know. Munches are meant to be non-pressuring, so if someone is urging you to play with them or giving you any unwanted attention, make your boundaries clear. The leader will usually do everything they can to keep the peace and make you feel comfortable. If you’re really not feeling it, though, you’re allowed to leave at any time. Sometimes you won’t click with every munch group you meet and that’s okay. You don’t have to stay in any situation you’re not comfortable with.
Sometimes setting little goals for yourself can help with anxiety. Making a mental note to try to learn the names of at least three people or to discuss a specific kink you’ve been wanting to learn more about can be really helpful to get you involved in the conversation. The good thing about munches is that there’s a lot of experience in the room with you at any point, so if you’re curious about specific kinks, there’s usually someone who knows all about them! Ask around if you’re looking to chat about something specific–folks are usually really eager to share their knowledge with newbies.
Get out there!
Munches are usually the easiest place to meet other kinksters in your local scene. They’re low-key and usually really accessible in populated areas. Feel free to “shop around” with different groups if you don’t automatically click with the first group you meet. Once you feel more comfortable with people in your area, you can even try hosting your own!