What is a Munch or Kink Social?
While there are differences between some munches and kink socials, the general idea is to provide a safe place for kinksters to meet in ‘public’ in a ‘low to no pressure’ environment. It’s a casual event (unless otherwise specified) at a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop – during which kinksters order food/drink and chat about practically anything and everything. Topics may range from the local sports team and current events, to great play scenes people have experienced, things they’d like to try, or discussion of various relationships dynamics. The idea of most munches is to meet in a ‘public’ place (often in a private or semi-private room), while flying under the radar so that the general public doesn’t know what kind of social event it is.
Why is it called a munch?
Here’s a neat bit of trivia for you! The first ‘munch’ for kinksters was held in the early 1990’s in Palo Alto, California. This was prior to widespread internet access, so kinksters really had no way to connect. Basically, a bunch of kinksters decided to meet at a burger joint, and it became a regular event they called a ‘Burger Munch’. The concept began to be replicated elsewhere, as people recognized the value of meeting other kinksters in such a setting. We’re quite lucky to have a TON of munches in Ontario, which means you can attend one somewhere in the province almost every night of the week if you’re willing to take a road trip!
Why attend a munch?
Munches are a great way to learn about kink, become friends with like-minded people, and even start relationships. Here’s a few other reasons to attend a munch:
- Everyone wears casual clothing, so you don’t feel out of place based on your attire
- Great way to meet someone for the first time in a neutral environment – safer than meeting at someone’s home or private location
- Most of the people at the munch likely have similar interests
- You can hear about all kinds of relationship dynamics
- If you aren’t enjoying conversing with someone, you can mingle and talk to others
- Munches generally have a host who posts event details, and who can introduce you to other kinksters, making meeting new people less awkward
- Munches are a great way to find out about the play parties, educational workshops, and other kinky events that are happening in your area
- Kinksters that attend munches often recognize ‘warning signs’ or ‘red flags’ that some abusers display
- Most abusers/people exhibiting predatory behaviour prefer to meet one-on-one, as it is harder to manipulate someone in a group setting, especially as other’s might recognize that they are doing it
Each munch has it’s own unique feel, depending on the venue, the host, and the people that attend. We definitely encourage you to try attending more than one munch!
Here’s a few tips to help you have a good experience while attending a munch!
- If you’re new, send the host a message before the event and ask if they’ll introduce you to others
- Find out if there are posted rules to follow at the munch
- Don’t overindulge with alcohol – new people sometimes drink to ease their nerves. This can backfire if you get sloppy and ramble or lose control of yourself. You might even be asked to leave if your behaviour is out of control
- Keep your hands off of other people (handshakes are usually safe, but hugs can cross a line), unless you have their (or their partner’s permission)
- Mingle – Make a point of having conversations with many people at a munch
- Don’t forget to let people know what your scene name is, so that they can find you on FetLife if they’d like to chat more
- Don’t wear any fetish gear or a collar, unless the munch host says it is okay to do so. Most munches try to not draw attention, so collars, or displays of protocol might cause undue attention to everyone
- Remember, even if you are ‘out’ and open to your friends or family, most people are not. If you meet someone that you know from a munch elsewhere, it’s often best to pretend you don’t know them, or simply wink. Nothing is worse than walking up to someone and seeing the look of panic in their eyes as they try to explain who you are to co-workers, family, or friends
- Be respectful of the venue. Chances are, they don’t want rumours circulating about the people that come to their restaurant. They take on a bit of risk in terms of public perception when they open up their establishment to the hosting of a munch. It’s also very hard to find ideal places to hold a munch, so being respectful means you’ll help keep the munch running in its home
- Respect the wait staff. Since munches usually take place in venues that are not kink-centric, wait staff often don’t want to know about your kinky desires. It’s polite to tone down conversation when they are near. Do not flirt with your waitress, even if you think it’s playful. They didn’t take the job so they could be harassed, and you don’t want to come off as just another sleazy drunk pervert that they always deal with. Also, don’t forget that some staff may be under the age of 18
- Tip the wait staff. Servers at munches are often overworked, sometimes having to deal with 15-80 customers on their own. Show that you appreciate them by giving a nice tip, and by telling them that they’ve done a good job
- Thank the host. Munches take a fair amount of work to set up and maintain. It’s not easy to find a venue that works well for a munch, and hosts spend a lot of time answering questions, welcoming new people, and dealing with interpersonal conflicts. If you enjoy a munch, thank the person(s) that run it
- If you engage in strict protocol in your kink relationship, you should know that it is common and mostly expected, to relax that protocol at munches, especially when it comes to social interaction. For instance, if you have a rule that your submissive cannot speak to another dominant without permission, modify that rule slightly when at munches, so that they can politely say ‘Hi’ and then explain that they would like the person to have a brief chat with their dominant before continuing conversation. Nothing is more awkward (or a better way to offend people) than having your partner ignore people that are trying to speak with them at a munch
- Be cognisant of your actions. Remember that people new to kink might be there, and will see how you behave. Remember that they are likely to believe that your behaviour is normal, and they are likely to replicate it. As an example, you might have a close relationship with a group of people at the munch, and it may be common for you to touch each other in sensual ways as a greeting (picture a boob grope or similar touch), but if a new person sees you doing this, they may assume they can also touch. Keep in mind that experience kinksters DO set an example for new kinksters, whether they want to or not