Go to a munch, go to a munch

Any time I see someone ask for advice on finding a dom (generally in the Submissive men and women who love them group on Fetlife, so I’ll freely admit my results are probably skewed), they always get told to go to a munch, that there’s no reason not to go to one, that it’s the only way to meet people, that they’ll surely die alone if they don’t go hang out with a bunch of strangers who they may have nothing whatsoever in common with aside from an interest in kink.

All of that is bullshit, and it’s incredibly fucking boring. By all means mention that munches can be a good way to meet people, talk about how friendly the community can be to newbies, but once you’ve done that for the love of god let it go. When you start beating people over the head with what you think they should do, you’re both being a douchebag and wasting everyone’s time. Repeating yourself when you’ve already stated your case just means I have to scroll down farther to see if anyone else has something interesting to say.

Perhaps ironically, I actually do think going to a munch at least once is generally a good idea. Which is exactly what you would expect someone who enjoys munches would say, so you’ll have to decide for yourself whether my bias makes my advice useful to you or not. The big reason I recommend trying a munch out once or twice is that the worst case scenario for most people (I’ll expand on that later in this post) is spending an evening feeling awkward and not having very much fun, and the best case scenario is really seeing that kinky people are actually pretty normal, not feeling like you’re the only one who has these weird interests, making some close friends, or maybe even meeting a partner. For me, the potential reward far outweighs the risk. For other people, that may not be the case.

Considering how much of kink is entirely subjective (quick, define what makes a scene “heavy”), you would think we’d have a better grasp of the idea that people may experience the same event in vastly different ways. My enjoyment of nerdy, theoretical discussions about kink has nothing to do with whether J. Random Submissive feels comfortable talking about his kinks with anyone besides his partner. For J. Random, going to a munch may be a complete waste of his time. He’s not at all likely to have a good time if he doesn’t want to talk about kink with strangers, and he’s not terribly likely to meet his ideal partner there since she’s going to be uncomfortable with munches for the exact same reasons he is. If you wouldn’t decide for someone else how much pain he can take, why the fuck would you decide for him how much he will or won’t enjoy going to a munch?

The idea that there’s no valid reason not to go to a munch is especially frustrating. If you work with children or vulnerable adults, or in politics or any particularly visible position, or have a morality clause in your employment contract, or are dependent on people who don’t approve of kink, you have an extremely good reason not to risk going to an event. If you have a disability, going to a munch may take more energy than you have to spare, be so much hassle that it’s just not worth it to go, or physically impossible to get to (credit where it’s due, that idea is from Namaah’s comment on Tomio’s post about how not everyone wants to be out as kinky). If you work the wrong shift, it may just be impossible to go to a munch (and for fuck’s sake don’t say “Oh, just switch shifts with someone.” People ask questions when you do that, and I don’t know about you, but I’m a shitty liar). If you live in a small town, you might be hours away from the nearest munch. If you just really dislike hanging out with large groups of strangers that’s a good enough reason not to go, dammit!

Lots of people talk about munches like they’re the only way to meet people, which is stupid and wrong. There’s only an entire industry based around online personals, which you would think would be a difficult fact to miss. It’s possible that a few people meet each other that way, not to mention all the people who meet in entirely vanilla contexts and happily discover that they’re both kinky. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend hoping that your date turns out to be kinky as your sole partner-finding strategy, I can’t deny that it does happen.

Aside from personals, sites like Fetlife have some pretty good forums. I actually get most of my nerdy-kink-discussion needs met on forums and kink blogs, since for me munches mostly involve catching up with friends. There’s no good reason to act like munches are the one true way to make friends or meet people or have interesting discussions about kink.

There are plenty of good things about  munches if you’re the kind of person who enjoys them, but can we please stop fucking badgering people to go if they don’t want to?

31 thoughts on “Go to a munch, go to a munch

  1. Ha, yep. I have a disability that makes large groups of people with a lot of background noise almost impossible for me to successfully navigate. I mean, I can sit there and nod and smile, and I’ll do that for my best friend’s wedding reception, but that’s not actually conducive to actually getting any discussion happening or making friends. I’ve been to a munch or two and it was…all right? But between not being able to really get what I came there for and the one older dude who decided it was okay to come onto me in a slightly creepy way, I sort of didn’t go back. I enjoy myself MUCH more in online venues. All hail the blogroll!

  2. Ugh, creepers. One more pro for the online community, it’s a lot easier to block people.

    Years ago in my local scene there was a guy who probably scared off an entire generation of young kinky women. He finally got kicked out when he was a complete asshole to the play partner of one of the local kink group’s board members, but I’m sure that was just a coincidence. You’re far from the only one to decide that they didn’t want to go to a munch and get creeped on.

    • Yeah, like…it wasn’t some huge thing, but it made me uncomfortable. The toy he was showing off was cool, admittedly–like little metal claws you can put on your fingers to scratch with? AWESOME. I want some. But I’d rather not have some dude older than my dad be all up in my space while I look at them. I think he asked before he touched me, but I was still uncomfortable.

      Oh well. My girlfriend grows her nails super long and that’s also awesome for scratching… 😀

      Anyway. Online I can talk to people from anywhere! And just not follow their blog if they aren’t doing it for me. (Also, Tumblr savior. :D)

  3. Thanks for the signal boost and for the no-nonsense support on this issue.

    It has always struck me as odd that someone who knows me ONLINE will sit in their house and tell me that I can’t possibly meet people ONLINE. Um…is their irony meter broken or what?

    It irks me when I see someone say, “You HAVE to go to a munch. You will have so much fun and learn SO much!” Really? Do you know my local group personally? Do you know me personally? If you don’t know me, and you don’t know the group; then how can you reasonably say we are a good match?

    As I said in my post, it’s the piling-on that bothers me the most. People are going to have different opinions, and I enjoy hearing them. But it’s like sitting at a red light – if you are the eighteenth car back, why are you leaning on your horn? You don’t know what’s going on up there and you sure as hell aren’t the only one to notice the light has turned…so why add to the noise and annoy people?

    • “It has always struck me as odd that someone who knows me ONLINE will sit in their house and tell me that I can’t possibly meet people ONLINE. Um…is their irony meter broken or what?”

      Oh, wow, I’m SO breaking this out on the next person to tell me ONLINE that in-person socializing is the only way to meet kinky folks.

  4. I think I’ve mentioned to you, Stabbity, about how much the BDSM people push my fundamentalist buttons sometimes? This is one of those things.
    Fundamentals regarding church attendance~ “You really have to attend church. Be there every time the doors are open; it is the only way to learn and grow.”

    Maybe it is just me (and my past trauma) but I hear echoes of that in the “Go to a munch, go to a munch, go to a munch” dialogue and it makes me even more unwilling to go. I have enjoyed getting to know people online and even meeting a couple of them (YOU!) in person. If someone want to attend church, or a munch~ more power to them, but I am a little trouble by how fundamentalism some kinky people get ~ like the attitude “If you don’t attend munches you are not really legit.”

  5. Thank you.

    This really bothers me, for reasons I covered in my reply you linked above.

    It’s not that the advice itself bothers me. It’s useful advice, given once or twice. But it’s not a panacea. It’s not for everyone. Some people don’t want to go, and that’s perfectly okay. It’s genuinely not enjoyable for some people, and for some people it’s risky.

    It gets up my nose in the worst way. I wouldn’t welcome someone telling me that I really need to try anal sex, it’s so much better, and I can’t possibly claim to enjoy sex until I’ve done it. (I wouldn’t welcome that EVEN THOUGH I LIKE ANAL.) I sure don’t welcome people telling me I need to expend energy to go out and be sociable. It’s a really gross kind of pressure, and I hate it. In many ways, sex acts take less out of me than social acts. Don’t fucking pressure me to do that shit, period, all right?

    Seeing a thread where response after response is MUNCH MUNCH MUNCH MUNCH not only reminds me of termites NOT SEXY but also pisses me off, because the OP’s questions are NOT GETTING ANSWERED.

    Not to mention that I’m not comfortable blithely trotting myself out among people who are pretty likely overall to be conservative assholes, because *not all kinky people are nice and liberal*! Maybe it’s not like that elsewhere, but I’m in friggin’ Oklahoma. The kinky folks here are mostly fine with GLBT stuff, but there’s still a shitton of sexism and OMFG THE RACISM HERE YOU GUYS.

    “Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch!” Yeah. Good idea. Ostracize those bigoted shits, and I’ll reconsider my decision not to expose myself to them. MOST people are fine, just fine, legit good folks, okay, I GET THAT, but the fact that assholes are still around doesn’t speak well of the group, you know? Why the FUCK should I feel safe in a group that allows people like that to remain?!

    Have y’all noticed that when people urge us to overlook our differences in the name of socializing, they’re *so often* advising us to overlook PRIVILEGE? Well, no, it’s not going to cost a sexist shitbag much to socialize with me — THEY DON’T CONSIDER ME FULLY HUMAN, DO THEY? Not any different from being nice and generous to someone’s dogs, even if you don’t like dogs. Whereas me overlooking their sexism is more like a lion ignoring a poacher with a rifle because not all humans are “like that.”

    Feeling very bitchy today. No reason.

    • Not to mention that I’m not comfortable blithely trotting myself out among people who are pretty likely overall to be conservative assholes, because *not all kinky people are nice and liberal*!

      Ouch, I didn’t even think of that one. I’m totally guilty of assuming kinky people are all, if not perfect allies, then at least vaguely aware that racism/sexism/ableism/etc are not cool.

      Whereas me overlooking their sexism is more like a lion ignoring a poacher with a rifle because not all humans are “like that.”

      I fucking love that simile. It gets right to the heart of why sexism is so goddamn tiring. I don’t ever get to “just lighten up”, because it never ends and I never know what fuckery I’m going to have to deal with next. I can’t so much as watch a tv show without being reminded that if I dare set foot outside without a man to protect me I’m asking to be assaulted.

      Why the FUCK should I feel safe in a group that allows people like that to remain?!

      Excellent point. When people do the “oh god we can’t exclude anyone, no matter how much they need a good excluding” I just want to set things on fire. You fuckers *are* excluding people by keeping around assholes who drive people away.

      • “You fuckers *are* excluding people by keeping around assholes who drive people away.”

        YES. THIS.

        And I love how people frame it as people “choosing” to get offended and not come out to clubs, meets, and so on.

        Fuckers, I’m not “offended,” and it’s not a “choice.” I’m offended when someone implies that I’m stupid because I listen to metal music. I’m OFFENDED when someone implies that science fiction and fantasy are not REAL fiction, or that erotica is a genre without merit. When someone implies that I must naturally be a sub because I have tits and a vagina, or when someone starts making rape jokes, I’m not “offended.” I’m fucking enraged, and I take those warning signs for what they are: GIANT RED FLAGS WITH “ASSHOLE” SPRAY PAINTED ON THEM. FLAGS THAT ARE ON FIRE.

        And “choosing” to not put up with bullshit from assholes is a goddamn survival tactic. If I’m going to be naked and potentially partly helpless around people, I want to know they have my fucking back. Even if I’m not part of a group I hear them being assholes about . . . racist jokes, even though I’m white? Yeah, NOT OKAY. NOT TRUSTING THOSE PEOPLE.

        By not viciously excluding assholes, they cause good people to avoid the group.

        Most people I’ve met locally have been great folks. Truly, honestly, great folks. But it just takes, like, TWO of those people — one to be an asshole out loud and one to agree with them — to make an event really fucking intolerable.

        The most loathsome thing is when they start talking that shit TO YOU about someone else, assuming you must agree with them. Yeah, I see you’re not ballsy enough to make that racist remark in front of the owner of the club, who’s NOT WHITE, but you’ll make it to me, the white girl, because you think I’ll have sympathy just because I share your bullshit privilege? FUCK YOU.

        • I (fortunately) have to deal with this kind of privilege from the opposite direction. People see a big white guy with a southern accent and they think, “This guy will understand how things REALLY are!” Then all the racist jokes and sexist bullshit get tossed out. I really don’t enjoy being the “decent human being” police, but I do it when it’s needed. But I don’t want to go spend an evening with people that I have to do that with on a regular basis.

  6. I’m all for people getting out to munches, parties, fetish events… whatever. But I don’t think it’s the only way to meet people. I met about half of my kink partners online. Now, that being said, I would be a bad fit for someone who wouldn’t go out to public events even *with* me! I do like going out to public kink events. But to each hir own! I know plenty of kinky people who don’t get involved in their local kink scene at all. They do their thing in private. And I certainly wouldn’t fault anyone who didn’t want to be around the public scene. As it’s been pointed out, not everyone in the kink scene is a great and accepting person. And as much as we are forced to put up with bigots, assholes, and generally annoying people in our daily lives… it can be a tough pill to swallow to deal with that in what’s supposed to be your fun personal time!

  7. YES, THIS. Unlurking here to say, thank you for this! I read your blog regularly and you often write stuff that resonates with me, but this particularly so. I am so sick of the idea that in order to not die alone with a thousand cats people have to come join this particular ‘community’. A community that devalues me, as a female dom, and especially devalues my partner, a male sub. I didn’t meet him at a Scene event, and from my experience I doubt I could meet a compatible partner at such a thing.

    I was programmed by kink blogs, Fetlife etc that I should go to events, so I did try it – and it was awful. The always-at-least-one creepy person (usually a maledom who genuinely thinks all women are naturally submissive, or some other lurid red flag). The venues – down a steep flight of stairs! Of course we’re not ableist, everyone is welcome to our club – why, we didn’t even think that’d be a problem… The times, the cost, the locations – sometimes I just don’t have the spoons/money/time to go along to events. …. The art and photos about submissive women, minimizing any other kind of experience.

    I then read a bunch of stuff online (especially recommend Thomas’ ‘There’s a War On’ series at Yes Means Yes blog) about predatory and abusive behaviour in kink spaces. The whole sheltering of abusers thing is a big, big problem, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The people currently running the Scene have too much invested in keeping the status quo.

    As a serious piece of advice, if anyone reading this is looking to find a kinky partner without having to engage with the Scene, I can give some recommendations. I met my partner in an entirely vanilla context and after some sounding out we did come to the happy realization we’re kinky in complimentary ways. (I have no idea if we’re unicorns or if that’s actually how most F/m couples meet – does anyone else have a view on this?). There are particular contexts that work well for this kind of exploration. Renfair type activities, cosplay, science fiction or fantasy fanclubs, hackerspaces, D&D – anything that involves dressing up, roleplay, discussion of different worlds or that sort of thing seems to attract the kinkily inclined. It might be that geeks are just more open to discussing sexuality and exploring their own. But hanging out with groups of people who geek out at the same things you do (Dr Who! Star Trek!) is a pretty good way to meet potential kinky partners. Plus you’ll have something to talk about that you both already share and enjoy that isn’t just sexual inclinations.

    I used to feel bad, like I was depriving myself of education and community by not going to Scene events. But then I realized I can get all the education and friendship I need on the net and in other places. The Scene likes to sell itself as the only place you can possibly find all this, but it’s not true, and I’m so glad.

    • Thank you for this fabulous comment. 🙂 I’m a total nerd girl at heart, and now that I think of it it *has* been my experience that people with my sort of geekery are also likely to be more openly kinky and just more open about sex in a non-creepy way. They speak my language, I suppose. Which shouldn’t be such a shock–I met my wife-to-be through online Tolkien fandom back in the day, after all! (And the hottest D/s I’ve read all year was her comic-book lesbian smut. :D) So it stands to reason that that would be a great way to meet other people. Though I suppose a boy to torment would have to live locally for my purposes…there must be hot nerdy boys near here somewhere, right? *ponders*

      • I’m glad the comment was appreciated 🙂

        I’m not sure how universal it is, but I’ve definitely met other people with the same experiences – geek and kink seem to run pretty well together. Perhaps it’s that we love to analyse and explore our favourite things deeply (those endless discussions of What The Latest Dr Who Means spring to mind…) Again, to go into practical advice: Meetup is good for finding local geeky things to attend. And even if you don’t find anyone amenable, you’ll hopefully still make some new friends, which is also awesome. Captain Awkward’s blog has some good advice on making new groups of friends/finding lovers, especially in a geeky context.

        Caveat: even if you’re a pair of geeks, it’s pretty easy to just fall into the cultural scripts for How To Do Sex – my sweetie and I started out doing some things we weren’t particularly into, and both (thankfully) decided to talk about our dissatisfaction rather than going ‘oh well, I’ll just go along with it if it makes the other person happy’. Cue forehead-smacking.

    • I’m a little late replying, but that’s a fantastic comment.

      I was programmed by kink blogs, Fetlife etc that I should go to events, so I did try it – and it was awful. The always-at-least-one creepy person (usually a maledom who genuinely thinks all women are naturally submissive, or some other lurid red flag). The venues – down a steep flight of stairs! Of course we’re not ableist, everyone is welcome to our club – why, we didn’t even think that’d be a problem… The times, the cost, the locations – sometimes I just don’t have the spoons/money/time to go along to events. …. The art and photos about submissive women, minimizing any other kind of experience.

      I would really love to be able to argue with any of that. Unfortunately, in my experience all of it is usually true. Lately I’ve been noticing how few of my local events are at all accessible. Out here you just don’t get to be part of the kink community unless you can climb stairs.

      One of many reasons I haven’t been going to play parties for a while now is that I feel this pressure to put myself on display, like my job as a woman, dominant or not, is to put on a show for the men. Who of course are never expected to put on a show for the women. Even when there is art with dominant women in it, we’re always on display. It’s never for us, it’s for the submissive men who enjoy looking at us.

      And yes, I completely agree that the offline scene is just massively fucked around abuse and coverups and consent. That makes the way the scene sells itself as the only way to meet other kinky people incredibly creepy. If people didn’t think they had to come, why on earth would they go to events where they have basically no reason to feel safe?

      I have no idea if we’re unicorns or if that’s actually how most F/m couples meet – does anyone else have a view on this?

      Ooh, that’s a really interesting question. I met my partner through my best friend (who I met through the kink community, but I think that still qualifies as a vanilla context), and while he doesn’t identify as submissive, the way he treats me certainly looks submissive. With how badly the scene devalues submissive men and squeezes dominant women into awful little boxes, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that a lot of f/m couples meet outside of it.

      I think your advice on finding fellow kinky people outside of the scene is fantastic. Given the number of nerds inside the scene, it absolutely makes sense that nerds outside of the scene are likely to be open to talking about kink even if they’re not into it themselves.

      I’m not sure how universal it is, but I’ve definitely met other people with the same experiences – geek and kink seem to run pretty well together. Perhaps it’s that we love to analyse and explore our favourite things deeply

      Makes sense to me. I can definitely see a geeky love of exploration and optimization in pouring hours into mastering kinky activities and getting into deep discussions about kink theory. That and programmers like me (I don’t know if this applies to other flavours of geek) overcomplicate things like it’s our purpose in life 🙂

  8. Ooh, just noticed your reply. Thanks for the kudus *blushing*. Also, programmer high fives!

    I’d be very interested to find out how most F/m couples meet, and whether the way I met my sweetie is typical or not. From my experience, I think if I was single I’d always be better off finding a guy or girl in a vanilla geeky context, perhaps through mutual friends, and working out if we were interested in the same kinks. I never met any other submissive-identified guys at the real life meet-ups we tried attending, so I think my dating pool in the local kink community is actually narrower than in the rest of my life.

    I’m quite angry on behalf of all the single dom ladies out there who are told to go join the Scene to find partners, but whose potential partners have already been driven away by the dynamics at such events. I kept going to our local munches for a bit because the organisers were *so* pleased to have an F/m couple in the group. I guess because it showed they were inclusive? But in the end, it was hurting us more than was worth it – I was getting tired of feeling so alone, an oddity even in this group of sexual deviants. And I hated to see my partner being made to feel like that. (also, the creepiness of a few people was starting to get to us). I hear a lot of people attend one or two events and never come back, and I can see why. I wasn’t explicitly harassed, but we never felt comfortable and being the odd ones out made everything more awkward still. Chatting with people on the internet is much nicer.

    • I was getting tired of feeling so alone, an oddity even in this group of sexual deviants.

      I know that feeling far too well. If I didn’t have the friends that I do in the scene, that discomfort would have driven me out. Even when people are generally nice, there are all the tiny things that remind you that you don’t belong.

      I kept going to our local munches for a bit because the organisers were *so* pleased to have an F/m couple in the group. I guess because it showed they were inclusive?

      Wow, that sounds super awkward. I can’t imagine why you didn’t love feeling like an exotic animal on display.

      I’m quite angry on behalf of all the single dom ladies out there who are told to go join the Scene to find partners, but whose potential partners have already been driven away by the dynamics at such events.

      Yeah, for all that some people seem to be convinced that there are dozens of submissive men for every dominant woman, the demographics of the events I’ve been to sure don’t bear that out. If there are actually anywhere near that many submissive guys, the scene is doing an absolutely amazing job of scaring them off.

  9. Wow! I just now stumbled on this blog post by accident but it was a great, insightful read. I’d like to thank not just the blogger, but everyone else who left comments.

    I was actually sarcastically searching the web for an answer to why there are so few lesbian geeks and where they all hide but this reminded me to stop being so whiny. I’m not the only one with specific interests looking for a partner. ..and yes I am at least a bit kinky. I don’t know how much because while I joined a few local groups on fetlife, I just didn’t feel quite comfortable at the two munches I went to.

    (Wine Alert! Sorry…no cheese.)
    The munches were two different groups. One was mostly a lot older and at least they were generally polite and friendly except that one man did hit on me despite just having a conversation with me where i said i was a lesbian about to meet a woman I met online. But the other munch was mostly younger kids just drinking and talking about who made out with whom at the last party. And at both munches there were NO GAYS (girls that play with other girls to turn men on or just for giggles are NOT a substitute). So, I started to think maybe I wasn’t cut out for kink after all. It doesn’t help that I seem to prefer to switch or be mostly domme despite looking like a femme lesbian (another label I have issues with).

    Then, life got chaotic for a while so I’m only now starting to read more online, but I’m still mostly lurking. I definitely enjoy learning more about kink and reading some fiction about it. Regardless of whether or not I find a compatible partner, I am glad to at least have some validation for enjoying and learning about kink online. (And, yes I am aware that lots of fiction isn’t SSC. I would and have researched anything I’ve done with a partner and made sure to discuss it with her, though from some posts I’ve read online there are plenty who do not.)

    • And at both munches there were NO GAYS (girls that play with other girls to turn men on or just for giggles are NOT a substitute)

      *sigh* Yeah, that’s definitely an issue. It’s all well and good to say your event is pansexual, but if I were a gay lady I would not exactly be delighted to play at a party and have the men assume I’m putting on a show for them, and if I were a gay guy I would be uncomfortable *and* worried about confrontations with homophobes. Gee, I have no idea why so few queer people show up to mostly-het parties.

      I don’t have anything super helpful to add but that definitely sucks.

  10. I have looked at the blogs of other dominant women. I’ve noticed a lack of enthusiasm for the Scene, which seems to be based on a dominant male/submissive female dynamic. Dominant women don’t really fit into this dynamic, and submissive males very definitely don’t. Really, I think that F/m needs its own subculture.

    • The assumption that all men are dominant and all women are submissive does suck mightily. Where I live there have occasionally been f/m munches and parties but they’re both few and far between and some of them have been dominated by female supremacist bullshit, which I have zero time for. I’d be happy with a simple ‘no jerks’ munch but it’s tough to police that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *