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Kink Community 101: What is a Munch?

By  Sunny Megatron

Kink-Curious Person: “How can I get involved with the BDSM community?


Every Kinkster Ever: “Easy! Go to a munch!

It’s true, if you’re interested in checking out in-person BDSM communities, a great place to start is by attending a munch. These events are low-pressure meet-and-greets that are often welcoming to newcomers and geared towards introducing people to the community. At a munch, there are no kink-related expectations – they’re considered “vanilla” events. The purpose of a munch is to casually socialize and meet new people; I think of them as being like kinkster-only ice cream socials! Whichever way you look at it, munches are perfect for giving you a feel for the flavor of your local BDSM scene and the people in it.


So, what is a munch exactly?


In BDSM and kink communities, a munch is a social gathering that’s usually held in a public place like a restaurant. The term “munch” comes from the fact that people usually eat, or “munch,” at these events. Most munches are recurring, often held bi-weekly or monthly. They’re typically hosted and organized by an individual, a team of volunteers, or a BDSM/Leather community organization.


Munches are often held in a back room, banquet area, or cordoned-off section of a dining area. Seating is not assigned, and attendees are free to move around and socialize much like they would at a wedding reception or company party. You may choose a seat as your “home base” where you can leave your jacket and order food, but otherwise, people usually mingle and get to know each other.


At some munches, an organizer may lead group announcements, introduce an icebreaker prompt, or schedule a short talk about an educational or community-related topic. However, this isn’t always the case – some munches are simply casual networking events with no specific programming or group activity. Regardless of the specifics, a munch is a social event where like-minded people can connect in a low-pressure, non-sexual environment. They’re also ideal entry points for newcomers eager to learn more about BDSM and their local community.


What’s the difference between a munch and a slosh?


A slosh is similar to a munch, but it is typically held at a bar and focuses more on social drinking than eating. The term “slosh” is becoming less common. Many people refer to a bar event as a “munch” because it’s a more widely recognized term. Also worth noting – while drinking is discouraged at many community play events for safety and consent reasons, it’s common at munches and sloshes because play is not allowed.


Are online munches a thing? 


Yes! The pandemic has changed the way the kink community operates in some ways. Many in-person events from conventions to play parties moved online for the better part of two years. Virtual social spaces for kinksters, like Discord, became a lifeline. 


While most in-person BDSM events have resumed, virtual and hybrid options have remained popular, this includes munches. This is wonderful for those with barriers preventing them from accessing on-premise events due to things like disability, financial limitations, transportation issues, childcare responsibilities, time constraints, etc. Online munches foster inclusivity by allowing more people to connect with their local community (and beyond!) and to feel like an integral part of it.


If you belong to Discord or private kink-related Facebook groups, you may discover that they host a group-specific online munch. These events are usually held on Zoom and can vary in format. Some are more social, while others may feature guest educators or speakers, discussion prompts, or breakout rooms giving attendees the chance to mingle with everyone in attendance. 


What types of people go to munches?


Anyone interested in or involved with the BDSM community! You’ll find all kinds of people at munches, from seasoned kinksters to those who are just beginning their kink journey. While the flavor of each event is unique, generally munches tend to be very welcoming. 


Is a munch a pick-up or dating event?


Nope! Munches are a place to meet like-minded people and learn more about the community, their purpose isn’t for meeting play partners. Munches aren’t BDSM speed dating events! And if you do happen to encounter someone at a munch that missed that memo, don’t be afraid to speak up or tell an organizer about their inappropriate behavior.


As a BDSM educator, I often advise new kinky explorers to make friends before finding play partners. Building platonic connections and friendships with other kinksters can be incredibly valuable for both novices and experienced individuals who are new to a particular community. Why?


These friendships can provide a support network you can turn to for advice and gut-checks when navigating unfamiliar territory – especially important when that territory involves power dynamics, physical intimacy, and risky situations. Your kinkster friends may also be familiar with unspoken community dynamics and red flags that newcomers may not be aware of. In terms of exploration, education, and personal growth, these friendships can also introduce you to different perspectives, experiences, and lessons learned the hard way (so you don’t have to learn them the hard way too).  


How else can munches help with safety? 


At a munch, you may be able to connect with people who can help you vet potential play partners from your local community. Vetting a partner means gathering information about them before playing to ensure that they are who they claim, are trustworthy, well-regarded in the community, and have interests that are compatible with yours. One common way to do this is by asking for personal references from the person you’re considering playing with. However, people often reach out to others to inquire about their potential partners too. At munches, you may have the opportunity to connect with past play partners or other people who can provide you with a reference. Just be sure to ask for consent to speak with them about that person at a future time, rather than springing a potentially sensitive conversation on a munch-goer who may be unprepared.

@sunnymegatron What is a munch? How is it different from a slosh? Are they only for the #kinkcommunity ? #kinktip ♬ Acoustic Guitar Stroll - Dow Brain

What is expected munch etiquette?


Being respectful and considerate of others at a munch is a top priority. This not only applies to other attendees but also to restaurant staff, patrons, and beyond. A few things to keep in mind: 


  • Respect boundaries & personal space: Ask before hugging or touching someone or their belongings. Regarding consent in the kink community, we say “it’s a no until someone explicitly tells you yes.” Non-sexual interactions are no exception. 
  • Avoid explicit sexual/BDSM conversations: Staff or patrons may overhear you. Not everyone at the restaurant is part of the BDSM community or comfortable with these topics. Additionally, not all munch attendees may be either, so be mindful of everyone’s boundaries. 
  • No overt play: This goes for non-sexual play too. A good rule of thumb – if your D/s protocol isn’t subtle enough to fly under the radar at a family dinner, it doesn’t belong at a munch.  
  • Wear street clothes: At munches, casual wear is expected. It’s best to blend in with the other patrons and wear something that fits with the dress code of the restaurant. Save the leather and latex for play parties. 
  • Only use honorifics with consent: Don’t use BDSM honorifics with anyone without consent or require they address you this way. If consented to, be discreet. 
  • Don’t “out” people: If you run into someone from your daily life unexpectedly at a munch, don’t out them by using their vanilla name or details in front of others (often kinksters use a “scene name” rather than their real name). On the flip side, don’t talk about the kinky munch in front of others when you see them in vanilla settings either. For many privacy is of utmost importance.   
  • Tip your servers well: It can be challenging to accommodate a large, mingling group – especially when they’re spirited kinksters! It’s also not uncommon for munch-goers to miscalculate gratuity or assume it’s already factored in resulting in accidentally short-changing waitstaff. Munch organizers work hard to arrange accommodations with restaurants and the group may not be welcomed back if the staff isn’t treated respectfully. 
  • Be considerate of neighbors: Kinksters can be a gregarious and often loud bunch. If the restaurant is located in a residential area, be mindful of noise levels when congregating outside to smoke or say goodbye.


Are munches for anyone or are they group-specific?


Both! Most munches are geared toward a general audience – all kinksters are welcome. But special munches for specific groups exist too. For instance, some may be TNG-specific (short for “The Next Generation,” TNG is for kinksters under 35), for Femdoms and those who serve them, BIPOC-only munches, LGBTQIA+ munches, or special interest munches for those in specific communities like rope bondage or spanko. These types of specialized munches can be excellent resources for learning more about specific kinks or for “finding your people.” 


Do other alt-sex communities have munches too?


In addition to the BDSM and leather communities, other sex-positive communities host munches and sloshes too. They’re common in both the swing lifestyle and polyamorous communities. Of course, these munches will focus on different things like open relationships and ethical non-monogamy. How kinkster-friendly they are will vary from group to group too.  


How do I find a munch?


There are quite a few places online to help you find in-person munches and sloshes in your area. Search Google for local BDSM groups, dungeons, or community centers. You can also search on sites like FetLife or Meetup. The MALL Directory at has a database of worldwide munches, however, it appears to have not been updated since pre-pandemic days. It still may be helpful for some and may be worth checking out. You can also ask friends or people in online BDSM groups you belong to for recommendations.


What if I’m still nervous to attend my first munch? 


That’s completely normal – it’s a big step! Going to a new event can feel intimidating especially when it’s related to something personal and somewhat taboo like BDSM. These munch tips may help alleviate your anxiety:


  1. Bring a like-minded friend along. Having a trusted confidant by your side can help you feel more comfortable.
  2. If you’re going alone, let someone know where you’ll be and when you’ll be home. This extra layer of security may calm nervousness.  
  3. Have a plan for what to say if someone asks you about your interests – many new kinksters aren’t sure what they’re into yet and that’s perfectly normal too! Responding with, “I’m here to learn more about the community and meet some new friends” can take the pressure off. 
  4. Reach out to the munch organizer ahead of time. Many kink communities are known for being welcoming and supportive. One of the organizers may be able to answer any questions you have or keep an eye out for you when you arrive.


Now you’re all set for your first munch! Take a deep breath, be yourself, and have fun! 

A munch is a social event where like-minded people can connect in a low-pressure, non-sexual environment. They’re also ideal entry points for newcomers eager to learn more about BDSM and their local community.

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Sunny Megatron is an award-winning BDSM & Certified Sexuality Educator, Certified Relationship Coach, and media personality. She’s the host and executive producer of the Showtime original television series, SEX with Sunny Megatron, plus co-hosts AASECT Award winning American Sex Podcast and Open Deeply Podcast. Sunny was also named XBIZ Sexpert of the Year 2021 and is Editor-in-Chief of Zipper Magazine.   

Known for her one-of-a-kind build-your-own-adventure approach to sex, kink & relationships, Sunny coined the BDSM community catch-phrase, Kink is Customizable™. In her sell-out workshops, her unique brand of “edutainment” seamlessly combines her humorous lecturing style, interactive exercises, and the latest sexuality research. Sunny’s passion is helping others overcome shame and find power through play and pleasure. Currently, she’s working on her first book, “Customizable Kink: A Strategic Guide to Adult Play.” 

You can find Sunny Megatron on TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Patreon


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