What even is a munch?
A munch is an informal social gathering of people who are interested in BDSM. It’s basically a meet-and-greet with the people you’ll meet in your friendly local dungeon.
Why is it called a munch?
It’s derived from “burger munch”. Legend has it that back in the early days (1980’s, I know so long ago) people out on the west coast started holding these sort of gatherings in the back rooms of restaurants. As tends to happen these days, the name for these gatherings was shortened to simply “munch”. These events became popular with the rise of the internet and curiosity about the lifestyle. Previously finding an informal method for introduction to the kink “scene” in an area was much more difficult given the prejudices against the lifestyle.
Why should I go to a munch?
Communities like ours require a lot of trust between members to work smoothly. A lot of us would suffer personal or professional harm if we were “outed,” not to mention that people could be physical hurt if they play irresponsibly. Because of that, we want to get to know you — and let you get to know us! — in a safe, nonsexual context before you come to a play party.
Even if you don’t want to go to a play party, a munch is a great resource. You can get to know some fun people and make friends. They’re also a fantastic place to learn about BDSM, as well as to find out about things like local events and education opportunities.
Do I need a sponsor for a munch?
Not at all! As long as you’re of age and kink-friendly, you’re welcome to come to a munch.
But I don’t know anyone, and that makes me nervous.
We know that it can be a little awkward or intimidating to come to your first munch, and that a lot of you won’t know anyone there. We don’t want this to be a barrier of entry, so one of the jobs of the munch admins is to greet every attendee and to try to make sure you’re comfortable with the group. If you’re still nervous, send a message to UtahTNG and we’ll do what we can to help you get comfortable.
What should I talk about? What will other people be talking about?
Obviously you can talk about kink, but by no means is that required. Mostly this is just like a small, laid-back party; you can talk about video games, TV shows, sports, or whatever you like talking about, and nobody will look at you funny.
What should I avoid doing or talking about?
- This is a kink-adjacent event, not a kinky event, so you shouldn’t really show up with the intention of asking anyone to play or to fuck you.
- Remember that outside of negotiated power exchange, everyone is equal; don’t ask anyone to call you “master” (or “slave,” for that matter), or to treat you differently because of how dominant or submissive you identify. We’re all just friends here.
- Also, remember that the people you’ll meet here are, well, people, and we still care about politeness. BDSM can be a very personal topic, and not everyone will want to jump straight from introductions to “So, are you into rope?”
What should I wear?
Street clothes. If you would wear it to go to the grocery store, or to get coffee with your friends, you’re good.
I want to go to a party. How do I do that?
Because of the trust thing, we want you to have a sponsor — someone who thinks you’re a pretty okay lady, or dude, or whatever, and that you can be trusted to come to a party without being a dick. Munches are a great place to meet a sponsor. Remember that they’ll be vouching for you if they sponsor you, so get to know them and establish some trust before you ask.
Do I have to go to the parties? Can or should I still go to munches if I don’t want to?
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want! You do you, bro. But even if you don’t want to go to the parties, munches are still a great place to make friends and to learn about BDSM.
I’m worried about being seen by “vanilla” people I know at a munch, what do I do?
From the outside, a munch just looks like a bunch of friends hanging out and having a good time. Confidentiality and anonymity are important to us. We look out for everyone at the munch.
What if someone asks me questions I’m uncomfortable with, like my real name, where I work, or other personal details?
Share as much or as little as you’d like with the people you meet. It’s quite common for people to share nothing personal about themselves, especially at a munch. Many people prefer to use an alias or to be known by their Fetlife nickname. Just tell them if you don’t want to answer something. If they press you about it, talk to one of the munch admins and we’ll help address the issue.
Is it okay to bring other friends or partners to a munch?
Of course! The more the merrier as far as we’re concerned. As long as someone is over 18, and open to BDSM, they’re welcome at a munch.
Someone broke the rules or did something that made me uncomfortable. What do I do?
First, if you can, talk to them about it and let them know what they’re doing wrong; they might not know they’re crossing your boundaries.
However, if you’re too intimidated, shy, or awkward to tell them immediately, or you don’t realize it bothered you until later, talk to one of the munch admins, or to TNG’s Minister of Compliance, Jane (jane-bondage). All complaints will be treated as anonymous, and handled appropriately to how severe the problem was.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us even about small problems. We want everyone to feel as safe and comfortable as possible, and that means taking a broken-windows approach to policing the problems that crop up.
My partner and I want to learn to play safely, but we don’t really want to join the community. Where do we fit in?
A munch can be a great resource for people in your position. It’s not “joining the community” in the standard sense of the word, but it’s a great opportunity to gather the sorts of connections and information you can use to learn about just about anything you’re interested in.
I’m really curious, but I don’t even know what I’m into yet. Should I still come to a munch?
Please do! Munches expose you to a huge variety of people, all with different interests, orientations, and preferences, most — if not all — of whom are still growing and evolving themselves. They’re a great place to learn about different points of view and the infinite options available under the umbrella of “kink.”
You didn’t answer my question.
Sorry! Send your question to UtahTNG or ask any admin at an event and we’ll do our best. If it’s an especially good question we’ll add it and our answer to the FAQ.