“Go to a munch!” That’s advice that you will often hear when you start exploring the BDSM lifestyle. But what is a munch? What can you expect from the people there? And what should you do to attend?

Why should you attend a munch? This is often the first step in exploring the BDSM lifestyle in real life, rather than online. You can meet people, make contacts, ask questions, and just enjoy your time out without worrying about keeping your secret desires secret any longer. This is most often the place where cross dressers can ‘come out’, so to speak, and appear in makeup and outfits that reflect their lifestyle, without negative comments. As the comfort level grows, they can graduate from ‘pretty lingerie’ (if they are M to F), to full dress and makeup (usually applied better than anything I’ve ever achieved to my unending envy!). Because my Dom is married, a munch is one of the few places that we can appear in public (other than parties) as a couple practicing Power Exchange. I can call Him Master, serve Him and be submissive without worrying about kids popping into the room at inconvenient times.

Attending a munch is also often the first step towards attending a party. Many party organizers will ask for a reference before accepting your registration. Once you’ve attended a munch, you can ask the hosts or other attendees to act as your reference. They may not know you well, but because you went to the munch they know you are interested in the lifestyle and have made an effort to join the community.

So, what is a munch? It’s an informal social gathering, usually at a restaurant, pub, or other public places, for people who are interested in BDSM or other similar lifestyles. It is hosted by one or two members of the community, who basically decide that they want a monthly get together in their area. Once they find a place that will allow ‘adult conversation’ and monthly bookings, they usually post the location, date and time on a local list.

Finding a location is harder than it sounds. Many munches move from place to place once the owners or staff of the restaurant find out what the group is about. At my Master’s munch, the owners and staff of the pub have all discovered WIITWD (what it is that we do). The ‘members of the bar’ (the guys who hang out against the rails of the pub) also seem to know, although one day when I was paying one of them asked me to define BDSM. Before one munch one of the kitchen staff hung a cartoon of a duck in bondage at the entrance to our room. And several desserts appeared with candy teddy bears posed in pornographic positions. You might think that this destroys our privacy, but the patrons all seem content to let us be, other than continually trying to pick up one particular pretty slave each time. She laughs it off but they keep trying!

As the munches are in a vanilla setting, most do not allow scening or obvious fetishwear. There is, of course, a huge range of interpretations for these two rules. I dress up for the munch in what I hope are suitably sexy clothes for the subhost representing her Master. At our munch collars are acceptable, at others they are not. The women who attend our munch often look sexier than the vanilla patrons in the bar (especially the ‘members’ I mentioned above!!). However, generally, they still might pass as ‘night out at the club’ clothes, as opposed to fetish party outfits.

The definition of ‘scening’ always causes a bit of controversy. How do you separate a ‘mindfuck’ from a friendly tease? We investigated one complaint from a witness who thought she saw a scene of a newbie being pressured. After interviewing both parties, we determined it was a tease. If in doubt, quietly speak with the hosts of the munch.

The same goes if YOU are the newbie feeling pressured. No one is allowed to touch or pester you without your permission. Tell the offending party that you do not consent to their behavior. Say ‘no’ or ‘red’ if it bothers you. If it does not stop, speak with the hosts of the munch about the person bothering you. If the hosts are not available, say ‘red’ loudly. Any Dom who hears that will generally come to your rescue. Don’t forget to tell the hosts what happened as soon as possible so they can follow up.

Next time I will continue to discuss the munch. Now that you’ve found one, what should you do to attend, and what should you expect once you are there?

Have you had any great or awful munch experiences? Let us know in the comments below.