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I talk to a lot of people who are either new to the kink scene or are curious but not yet involved.
The general wisdom, and common advice, given to newcomers is that they should attend a munch. This advice is sometimes questioned because a munch can be an intimidating first step, especially for people that are shy, introverted, or experience social anxiety. I was talking to a young, attractive, submissive woman online and she was asking me about getting involved in kink.
I was about to type the stock response about munches and then I had to stop myself. I felt like I was throwing her to the wolves. Instead, I suggested we meet so I could give her an overview of kink scene culture before she dove in. Munches often take place at a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop; the organizer usually reserving a large table, a back area, or a private room.
People are free to arrive and leave within the specified hours. The primary purpose is socializing, although some munches also have announcements find a munch demonstrations from local organizations or individuals.
Munches are meant to help those who are curious about BDSM meet others, become more comfortable, and better informed. Munches can also be a place to get advice or pass on anecdotes about BDSM experiences. Unlike a play party, most munches are informal affairs that discourage fetish attire or BDSM play. Some munches may be restricted to a specific group, such as women or submissives. Munches can be very specific to their region, city, or neighborhood.
Each munch is different and reflects the personality of the group that attends it. In addition to having different munches for different parts of town, there are different munches for different interest groups — such as those divided by age, gender identification, or sexuality. As mentioned above, each munch has its own feel.
Most munches have organizers or greeters who attend most if not all of their particular munch meetings and who look out for newcomers to try to give them a warm welcome and introduce them to some folks. Keep in mind these are just people, and volunteers at that, and no one is perfect. Most people will either introduce you to a greeter or do the job themselves. Kinksters are, by and large, a friendly and welcoming bunch of people. So like any group of people, there are some duds. Or, more gently, some people just might not be the best fit for you as friends and play partners.
And, at worst, there are some people who intentionally prey on newcomers. This is no reason to stay away. Simply be cautious, as you would in any new situation. Take your time getting to know people and the scene. Keep this red flag in mind: if someone tries to control who you talk to or tries to be your only source of information, something is wrong.
I really do think munches are a great way to get to know people and get introduced to those in the BDSM and kink scene. Stella Harris is building a world where everyone has the confidence to explore their sexuality safely and free find a munch shame. As a certified Intimacy Educator and Sex Coach, she uses a variety of tools to guide and empower her clients and she teaches everything from pleasure anatomy to communication skills to kink and BDSM.
Stella has been widely quoted in the media and has made guest appearances on numerous podcasts, including Sex on the Brain and Playboy Radio. This article was originally published at Stella Harris. Reprinted with permission from the author.
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The Dos and Don’ts of Going to a Munch