Four Reasons you should come to Fetish Night

I work at Area 51’s Fetish Ball every month as a demo artist and, if you’ve never been, it is a unique and awesome event. It’s coming up on theth saturday of the month and, volunteers or no, I would love to see representation from the kink community — so to try and spur that, in no particular order, here are the four big reasons I think even established community members should come on out if you have the chance.

1. Outreach!

Fetish Night was my first real-life introduction to kinky shit, and I know a lot of other people for whom that’s true. It’s a big event in a safely public space that still tries to respect our community and present it accurately — exactly the sort of place that curious potential kinksters might show up, even if they’re nervous about coming to a munch (or don’t yet know that munches exist). There’s basically no better single time and place to help teach people what our community is really about.

2. It’s fun!

Do you enjoy dancing? People-watching? The music they play at kink parties? Beer? Attractive scantily-clad people? Laughing at terrible goth dancing? Doing terrible goth dances? If you answered yes to any of those, there is something at Area 51 for you. Seriously, it’s a great place to observe the local color (the color is black).

3. Show off!

Showing up as an established kinkster at fetish night makes me feel like kind of a badass. All these people are here because they’re curious about, intrigued, maybe intimidated by this thing that’s just a hobby to me. It makes me feel like the lamest possible rock star, and being a rock star is kind of like sex — even when it’s lame, it’s still pretty awesome.

4. Support!

The club has been truly amazing to work with — since the management change earlier this year, I’ve never doubted for a second that the people behind this event sincerely want to support our community. I’d love it if we could return that support in kind.

Plus, if you mention Utah TNG at the door, you get half off the cover price! How cool is that! So, if you’re free that evening, come on down and help us turn Fetish Night into the badass parade of awesome kinky weirdos that it should be.

–Jane

What is the Wristband System?

What is the wristband system?

At Utah TNG’s play parties, we’ve implemented a system of green, yellow, and red paper wristbands that are provided as you enter the party. Basically, the color of the wristband indicates how interested you are in being asked to play, which can be generalized — loosely — to how interested you are in finding pick-up play (that is, spontaneous play with someone you don’t have an established relationship with) at the party.

What do the different colors mean?

As you can guess, they basically correlate with the colors of a stoplight. Remember that the wristbands are really only guidelines for interactions with strangers. If you have a scene set up in advance, or you’re romantic partners or regular play partners, we won’t enforce this contrary to common sense (although even if you’re regular play partners, it’s never a bad idea to let a red flagger be the one to ask).

Green — “I’m actively looking for play.”

Green flaggers would like to find someone to play with. Don’t be shy; if they seem cool, ask away! It’s still a good idea to talk to them first, though. Remember that green flaggers are people too, and if they hesitate, or don’t seem excited, don’t push it; it’s always more fun to play with someone who’s as into it as you are.

Yellow — “I’m not actively looking for play.”

Yellow flaggers aren’t there to find pick-up play. They might consider it, if something sounds especially interesting, but it isn’t their first priority. A yellow flag means “socialize first.” Don’t approach a yellow flagger if your only goal is asking to play — if you hit it off, maybe they’ll ask you.

Red — “I’m not looking for play.”

Red flaggers might be new, or taken, or worn out from an earlier scene, or just not interested in pick-up play. In any case, they don’t want to be asked to play. A red flag doesn’t mean “don’t talk to me” — it just means “don’t ask me to play.” Chat, get to know them, make friends — just no propositions. If you’re flagging yellow or green, and you’re really getting along and you think they might want to play, let them prove it by being the one to ask.

That’s a lot of information. What are the specific rules?

  • Don’t ask a red flagger to play.
  • No matter their wristband, only ask someone to play once, unless they specifically tell you to ask again later. Badgering someone for play is never a good time for anyone.
  • No matter their wristband, don’t push when someone says no or gives you a non-answer (“I dunno” / “I’ll think about it” / etc). If they didn’t mean that as a no, or if they change their mind later, they can ask you. Always look for an explicit yes before you go forward.
  • Remember that you aren’t married to your wristband. If you change your mind as the night progresses, feel free to change it.

Which color should I pick?

Whichever one you think describes you. When in doubt, go with yellow. If this is your first party, we strongly recommend choosing red or, at most, yellow.

So can I ask a yellow flagger to play, or not?

Unfortunately, the only answer here is “maybe — use your best judgement.” If you think you have enthusiastic consent from them, and that they really, really want to play, you can probably ask. But if you’re flagging green, it’s never a bad idea to wait and let them be the one to “pop the question.”
Conversely, if you are flagging yellow or red, and you find you want to play with someone, you should be prepared to ask.

I just saw a red flagger playing. Isn’t that against the rules?

Not at all. A red flag doesn’t mean “I’m not going to play.” It means the flagger doesn’t want to be asked to play, especially not by strangers. They can still play if they have a scene set up in advance, or if they’re monogamous and playing with their partner, or if they asked someone else, and so on.

Do I have to wear one?

Not really — we won’t throw you out of a party if you aren’t. But we really encourage it, for your sake as well as the party’s.

What if someone isn’t wearing one?

If someone isn’t wearing a wristband, treat them like they’re flagging yellow.

What do I do if someone breaks the rules?

First, if you can, tell the rule-breaker what they did, and ask them to stop.
If you’re too shy, or too intimidated by the person in the moment to call them out — or even if you did tell them — find a DM, or a member of the TNG admin staff, and tell them about the problem.
If you don’t get a chance to bring it up at the party, or don’t realize how bad their behavior was until later, you can contact the TNG account or any TNG staff member, describing the incident. Promptness makes it easier for us to enforce things, but we know it sometimes takes a clear head and fresh set of eyes to realize how bad something was; we won’t treat late-reported incidents any less seriously than promptly reported ones (within reason, of course; if it happened two years ago, and wasn’t something like rape or ignoring a safeword, we probably won’t do much about it).

What do I do if someone makes me uncomfortable, but maybe didn’t break a rule?

Follow the same steps as above. We’ll talk about it and decide what action is appropriate, but we can only do that if we know about what happened. Please don’t stay silent. The last thing we need is a kink community Bill Cosby incident.

What’s the reason for the wristband system?

We at Utah TNG want our parties to be as safe and comfortable for all of the attendees as possible. We understand that it can be difficult to assert yourself, especially if you’re new or socially awkward; we also understand that a situation can make you uncomfortable even if you do successfully say no. We believe the wristband system will help people to avoid these situations by giving them more control over whether or not they need to reject people in the first place. In addition to that, we believe that this will make it more comfortable for people to ask others to play, because they’ll have a general idea, going into a conversation, how likely someone is to reject them (and, let’s face it — rejection blows).
For these reasons, and a few others, we believe that the wristband system will make our parties safer for our most vulnerable members, and more comfortable for everyone.

You didn’t answer my question.

Sorry! Contact us or talk to any Admin and we’ll do our best. If it’s an especially good question we’ll add it and our answer to the FAQ.

FAQ for Total Newbies

So you’re kinky, or at least curious. Where do you go from there? This guide should help you at least know where to start.

What is the kink community?

“The kink community” is a blanket term for a lot of different organizations and people who share a common interest in kinky activities. There may be several different organized groups within one geographic area, all with different goals and approaches; these can range from loosely-structured collectives (like Utah TNG) to heavily ritualistic, organized, old-school leather groups.
All of the groups together form the community (or “scene”). The goals and purpose of the community at large include arranging events and attempting to provide a safe, supportive environment for people to explore their interests.

Why a community?

Kink is a very private sort of thing, so it can seem odd at first that kinky people have structured themselves into a community. However, there are a lot of benefits to it:

  • A lot of kinky activities can be dangerous, especially in inexperienced hands; a community allows members to share knowledge, teach each other, and learn things they might not have access to otherwise.
  • It provides a way to vet people; if someone at a play party ignores someone’s safeword, or does something stupid and hurts someone else, the whole community knows and can take precautions or kick that person out. That can’t happen the same way within kink as practiced by individuals.
  • A lot of kink can require some really specific tools and equipment; any individual who isn’t a billionaire CEO isn’t going to be able to afford a nice, well-appointed dungeon, but a group as a whole can work together for that.

If I’m kinky, do I have to be involved in the community?

Of course not. There are plenty of people out there who are kinky as shit who would rather explore it in the privacy of their own bedroom, or who just aren’t interested in joining a community of like-minded perverts.
That being said, there are a lot of advantages to joining a kink community. Some of them are outlined in the “why a community?” section, but here are a few others:

  • Access to community resources like dungeon furniture.
  • It’s a great place to meet people who share your interests, or who you at least know are open to them.
  • It’s a fantastic way to be exposed to new ideas and new types of play. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re into something until you see it in action, and suddenly it’s your new favorite thing.
  • You can make friends! The community is filled with all different kinds of people from all walks of life, all drawn together by shared interests and experiences. .

What differentiates Utah TNG from the other local groups?

Utah TNG — “The Next Generation” — is for younger participants, aged 18-35, and their partners. We aim to make sure that young new attendees are safe and comfortable as they get involved in the community and explore their interests; as such, our guidelines on consent are stronger than a lot of other groups’. We’re loosely-structured and fairly libertarian compared to the local leather organizations, and emphasize free expression of interests over structured roles.

I want to get involved. Where do I start?

The best place to get involved is by going to a “munch,” which is a laid-back, nonsexual gathering of kinky people. Munches are a good way to meet the community and learn the lay of the land. You can read all about munches in the “What is a Munch?” article
Another great way to get started is to reach out to the Utah TNG administrative staff online. The UtahTNG account is jointly managed by the admins, and the group leaders for the FetLife Utah TNG group are the administrators’ individual accounts.

I want to go to a party. How do I do that?

Utah TNG’s parties require a “sponsor” — someone who will vouch for you, that you aren’t likely to harm yourself or the other community members if you get involved. You can often find a sponsor by coming to a munch; if that doesn’t work with your schedule, contact the admins. We can set up a time to meet up with you for coffee (or whatever).

What are some things that will help if I want to get involved?

First of all, don’t be afraid to go to events. The best way to get involved in the community is, well, to get involved in the community. Go to events. Be polite. Volunteer to help. Be a nice person. Respect the community, and respect yourself, and you’ll be welcome.

What are some things I should avoid as I’m getting involved?

A common outside perception of the kink community is that it’s kind of “anything goes” — show up and some domme lady (“dominatrix,” as they always put it) might just decide to shove you into a gimp suit and make you her dog, whether you like it or not. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Power exchange relationships — where one person is dominant, or “on top” and the other is submissive or “on bottom” — only exist when they’re negotiated between two individual people. Maybe you feel like a born slave and want everyone to treat you like shit, or a born mistress and everyone should bow to you, but until you negotiate that with someone, you’re equals. Don’t demand that anyone call you by the title you’ve chosen, be it “slave,” “domina,” “sexbot 69k,” or anything else.
Don’t touch anyone, or anyone’s things, without their permission. Unless you have an established relationship, treat everyone with the same respect that you would treat any given vanilla stranger.
Don’t stereotype; don’t allow others to stereotype you. The most soft-spoken, meek, sweet young woman in the room can be the biggest sadist you’ve ever met; a huge, the-Rock-style hulking man-beast could be a submissive teddy bear. No matter who you are or how you identify, your role (or lack thereof) is your prerogative and no one else’s; don’t try to dictate anyone else’s, and don’t allow anyone to try and dictate yours.

What are some tips for staying safe?

Utah TNG has a lot of rules that are geared towards making sure that anyone, from any background, can be safe and comfortable in our spaces. If you’re young, shy, awkward, intimidated by the community, have trouble asserting yourself, or anything like that, we’ll do what we can to help and make sure you’re still able to have a good, safe time. However, beyond that, there are a few specific things that can help.

  • Be prepared to say no. As much as we try to encourage “yes means yes” at TNG, sometimes people just don’t take a hint; don’t agree to a scene if you aren’t comfortable with it.
  • Keep it public at first. If someone you don’t know very well invites you back to his private penthouse sex dungeon for the night, that’s actually a big red flag. Small, semi-private gatherings can be dangerous as well. It’s never a bad idea to get to know someone in a public setting, like a munch or a play party, before you agree to go anywhere private with them.
  • Ask for references. If you’re interested in playing with someone, but don’t know them well, ask them to refer you to someone they’ve played with before. If they don’t have anyone to refer you to, proceed with caution.
  • Find a mentor. You shouldn’t feel like you need to do this alone. Send a message to any of the TNG admin staff and we’ll help to answer your questions and introduce you to the community, or put you in touch with the resources you want. The TNG Minister of Compliance, Jane (jane-bondage), put this material together and is a good first contact point if you’re curious but unsure.
  • Don’t combine substance use and play. We have strict rules against alcohol and other drugs at our parties, and for good reason.

You didn’t answer my question.

Sorry! Send your question to UtahTNG or ask any admin and we’ll do our best. If it’s an especially good question we’ll add it and our answer to the FAQ.

What is a Munch?

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.