Aug 142015

I’ve been hosting munches for 2.5 years and attending munches for 3.5 years. I’ve probably been to over 100 munches in that time. I’ve heard some people say that munches are cliquey and unfriendly, and nobody talked to them. I’ve had mostly good and a few not-as-good experiences at munches, though I can definitely see where those people are coming from. While I could maybe blame the munch hosts or attendees for my not-as-good experiences, there are also things that I could have done differently.

Maybe you’re an introvert and have trouble talking to new people (like me). I’ve been to munches with 30-50 attendees. I showed up late one time, I didn’t know anyone, no one acknowledged me, I felt really out of place, and I left after a short time. I’ve also been to that same munch, showed up 5 minutes early, sat next to munch hosts and talked with them for a bit, and they introduced me to several people as they came in. Being in the middle of the group, people started conversations with me. It took a lot less effort on my part than trying to break into an ongoing conversation at just the right point.

So you’re new at a munch? How to get the most bang for your buck:

Step 1: Upload a face picture. When new attendees tell me they’re coming to a munch, I check out their pictures so I can watch for them, to wave them over to the munch area. If you don’t have any face pictures uploaded, I can’t do that. RSVP on event page as Going or Maybe Going and fill out your profile with both kink and vanilla interests so that other munch attendees can check you out before the munch. Maybe they’ll find something in common with you and seek you out at the munch.

Step 2: Contact the host a couple days before the munch to let them know that you’re new and are interested in coming. If you’re an introvert or have social anxiety, tell them. The more information the host has, the more they can do to help.

Step 3: Show up 5 minutes early! Sit next to someone, even if you don’t know them (ask if that seat is taken first). Try to sit towards the middle of the table if you can, so there’s people on both sides of you (I realize that some people with anxiety can’t do this). If you sit on the end of the table, it’s easy to isolate yourself. I find that I have less anxiety when I’m one of the first people at an event, and people come in gradually, rather than me arriving late and Oh shit, there’s a ton of people, what do I do? Panic!

Step 4: Be persistent. Go to as many munches and events as you can. Even if you’re not that outgoing (like me), people will remember you and get more comfortable with you, and be more likely to start a conversation with you.

Written by and shared with permission of PauleyO, in this post.

Jul 262013
You learned everything you need to know to explore kink when you were in Kindergarten: Ask for permission before you touch someone. Use your manners. Follow the rules. Don’t get in a car/go home with someone you don’t know. Learn to tie your shoes or you won’t be able to walk, much less run.
Most of all, if you’re not sure about something, then ask!
But I know I went a little crazy when I first started to explore my kinkiness. Suddenly anything was possible, and feelings I’d only dreamed of were happening for real. I relied on my friends and play partners to help guide me. But in the end, it came down to learning how to choose for myself what I wanted and didn’t want.
So here are a few tips for exploring your kink:
  1. Slow down!
    Take your time. I guarantee it will be better if you get to know people, and talk about what you like with a lot of different people. Take classes, read books, and see a lot of different scenes. Give yourself room to change your mind about what you want.
  2. You choose.
    There is no “right way” to do things – this is your exploration of yourself. That also means you don’t have the right to judge other people for their choices. Figure out what your own limits are, and you choose carefully when to push those limits. If you feel uncomfortable with someone pushing you, take a step back and then you’ll find out if that person respects you as an equal or is just trying to coerce you for their own benefit.
  3. You can always say no.
    It doesn’t matter what contract you signed or what promises you made, we all have the basic human right to change our minds. That goes for everything from what kind of relationship you want to your own sexual identity. It’s up to you to speak up about what you want and don’t want. A safeword is a great tool, but it can’t replace good communication before, during and after a scene – and throughout your relationship.
  4. Talking makes for great sex.
    If you can’t say what your fantasy is, then you aren’t ready to do it. When someone uses kinky jargon – submissive, master, switch, poly – ask what they mean because everyone has their own definitions. Talk about whatever you do together to process what happened and figure out where you want to go next. And don’t forget to talk about what you need to get after a scene is over.
  5. Don’t believe everything you hear.
    Someone may call themselves a dominant or master, but that doesn’t make them one. Someone may be the leader of a group, but that doesn’t make them a safe play partner. Someone may call themselves a mentor when they’re really just trying to get you to masturbate on cam so they can jack off.
  6. Seek References.
    You’re putting yourself in someone’s hands, whether you’re a top or a bottom, so you better know who you’re playing with. Talk to other people about prospective play partners, and don’t ever let someone isolate you. Watch their interactions with other people in real life and online to see if they’re consistent. And remember that even good people can do bad things.
  7. Be risk aware.
    You have to ask questions to find out what the risks are. Accidents happen, people try things they aren’t good at, and there are predators who will take whatever they can get from you. You are the only one who can protect yourself. Even when a scene goes well, you might have emotional or psychological reactions you didn’t expect – it’s sometimes called sub drop or top drop.
  8. Protect your privacy.
    Sad to say there is still a lot of persecution against kink. Someone can copy your photos and send them to your boss. Or your mom. Too often that someone is the person you trusted the most last week. Kink-on-kink persecution is the worst – when you “out” someone in revenge, you’re hurting everyone in our community because it keeps the stereotypes alive and kicking. Protect yourself by choosing which pics and personally identifying info you make public and what you keep private.
There’s a great discussion going on with lots of amazing comments by hundreds of FetLifers in this thread I started earlier this year —

Written by and shared with permission of Susan Wright