TNG Munches

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There’s been a lot of controversy around TNG munches, which are munches for people who are 18 to 35 and no one else. I hadn’t written about this topic (in spite being asked to) when I was under 35. It felt like I couldn’t really understand both sides of the issue, and all I knew was that it was nice to not have creepy old guys trying to grab my butt.

I’m over 35 now, and have been for a couple years. This means I’ve had some time (being excluded) to think about it. And you know what? I’m still okay with it.

The thing about society at large is that there’s entirely too many old white guys hitting on 18-year-olds because they are too weak to handle a woman their own age (or, a woman old enough to know her own mind.)

I was one of the girls who understood this weakness even when I was 18. I was never naive enough to think “I’m just more interesting than a girl their age.” I always knew it was predatory and creepy when guys in their 50’s and 60’s leaned in close and tried to touch me even though they were older than my dad.

I still think that is creepy now that I am almost 40. If that’s your kink then good for you, but I think it’s super uncomfortable and I have never wanted a man my father’s age or older to hit on me. Ever.

I sometimes feel like Russell Brand, who famously said: “When I was poor they told me that I couldn’t talk about income inequality because I was just jealous. Now that I am rich, they tell me I can’t talk about it because I have money. I’m starting to think that they just don’t want anyone to talk about income inequality.”

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When I was young I didn’t want to write about it because even offering my opinion at a munch, I was told to shut up because I didn’t know what it felt like to be excluded. I would argue that as a woman, I’ve always been excluded from hundreds of opportunities that were available to men, so I have always known what exclusion felt like. But I didn’t specifically know what age discrimination felt like, so people shouted me down.

Now that I’ve been over 35 for a couple years, I have had plenty of time to see TNG munches posted and know that I can’t go. I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. And, I’m still glad that they exist. I’m still glad that the young women of our community have somewhere safe to go where predatory old men can’t grab at them.

To be perfectly clear: Yes, I know that some old men have caught up with the times. There are some who are respectful and who are not pushy and rapey. But, that’s the exception rather than the rule in my experience.  And you really can’t tell me otherwise, because I was a very attractive young girl in the kink community from when I was 16 onward, so I have had decades of experience with creepy old guys hitting on me. I can count the old men on my fingers who have shown me the respect I deserved and given me the space that I wanted.

Now that some of my friend’s daughters have found their way into the kink community, they assure me that nothing has changed, and unwanted attention and touching is the rule, rather than the exception,

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Also to be clear: Yes, I know old men will say it’s generational. They will say that in their time, woman didn’t mind a pat on the bottom or a guy stealing a feel during a hug. However, that’s simply not true. Women always minded those things, but many never felt safe enough to say so until recently. It was actually never okay, and it’s not okay now.

By the way, I don’t think “It was okay in my day” is ever an acceptable excuse. You need to keep up with the times, or stay home and hide in shame. Going out and trying to behave in ways that have long since been changed (with good reason) isn’t cool, and it’s the reason that TNG munches were created in the first place.

I think the people who complain about TNG munches are what I always suspected when I was young: The worst sort of people. Look, just leave the damn kids alone. You dated young people when you were young. Let them enjoy dating young people while they are young.

And if your thing is going for people younger than your kids, at least have the class to find the ones who are into that by reading their profiles, and confine your efforts to those specific women.

One Last Thing: Older men assume that they can just be a “sugar daddy” and young women will date them even though they are grossed out. Once again, you have to look for that on a girl’s profile. I won’t be coerced into dating someone older than my father for any amount of money. I won’t do it for a free house, a car, and a million dollars. I never would have, even when I was 18 and starving to death. We’re allowed to have standards and we’re allowed to say no.

No one has to share your kink just because you want them to.

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Reaching Out

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My husband and I are planning a trip to South Korea in October as a vacation. We are always interested in meeting new and interesting people, so if you are going to be in South Korea in the last two weeks of October, let me know and we’ll plan to meet up.

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When we travel, we always try to go to kink places in that area, so if anyone is aware of a fetish club in Korea, let us know. We have been to Club Desire, and to hook up clubs, but a dungeon would be lovely.

Also, we will try to attend at least one munch while we are there.

Obviously we are going for vacation, so we’ll be hiking in Seoraksan and visiting Jeju Loveland and such, but it’s important to us to try and work a little kink into every vacation. So if you have ideas, let us know!

(As always, if you are planning a trip to Guam, let us know!)

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Generally Accepted Terms

I have lamented before that every community used different terminology for different things, and how this can be confusing if you travel a lot. Every scene has their own inside jokes. However, there definitely are some terms that are generally accepted in all scenes, and it’s important to get them right. People can’t make informed and consensual decisions if they are not properly informed of what is going to happen, after all. And we do always strive for safe, sane, and consensual fun.

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Munch: A munch is when a group of kinky folks get together in a vanilla setting. This often involves going somewhere that serves food, so the term “munch” refers to that. However, I have also attended munches at theme parks, disused prisons, and various other interesting locations.

Note: When you agree to go to a munch, you are expected to dress vanilla unless otherwise specified. It is mostly about getting a chance to meet people, and it is generally assumed that the discussion of kink will be saved for more private areas where no one can be overheard and “outed” by accident to a co-worker of family member.

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Workshop: This is when someone who has some sort of area of expertise chooses to teach the basics to others. This is generally in a private space, like a home or rented club. Dress as specified, because sometimes a group doesn’t want to attract attention, and will ask for vanilla dress. My favorite workshop that I have attended was at a public dungeon called the CSPC, and again, this was strictly for learning purposes. Play is not on the table for such events.

Note: When you agree to go to a workshop, you realize there will be frank discussions about kink-related things. A good presenter usually makes handouts, and sometimes brings another person to demonstrate a specific thing (for proper flogging techniques, I might bring my husband and demonstrate on him.)

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Play Party: For a play party, you can expect it to be at a private home because most are. Usually you will be invited to bring your own toys, and other people will bring theirs. It is okay to actually use the toys, and sometimes toys can be shared between consenting folks, so make sure to bring cleaning agents if you plan to bring toys and loan them out. Again, you may be asked to dress vanilla so as not to attract attention to the house of the host, or you may be invited to dress in kink attire. Always ask.

Note: When you agree to go to a play party, you are obviously consenting to seeing people naked. After all, a good flogging session doesn’t involve clothes. You will see other people playing. Note that you must always give a decent amount of space for a scene, so the Dom has room to swing things and not hit you. Remember that it is never okay to interrupt someone else scene or try to involve yourself if you were not invited, and it is never okay to touch someone else’s toys without permission.

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Orgy: These can be at swinger’s clubs like The Velvet Rope and Club Desire, or they can be at a private home. Generally it is expected that you will bring condoms (regardless of your gender) and that you will follow the same rules as a play party in terms of respecting someone’s space unless invited. Even at an orgy, rape is still not okay. Dress, again, depends on the host. Many people who host parties do not want their neighbors to know, so vanilla clothing is often expected.

Note: Going to an orgy does not mean you consent to sex. You can just go and watch. People are still expected to respect your personal space unless invited into it, and you should still negotiate all scenes before they take place. You are consenting to see people naked, but this does not mean you have to be naked. Remember to give everyone space and, as was the motto of Club Sesso, “Don’t be a creep.”

Remember: If you organize events, you need to use the correct terms. People need to know what they are consenting to in advance. You do not want to create an atmosphere where people feel uncomfortable, because this reflects poorly on the community as a whole, and no one should want to do that.

For A Vanilla Friend

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A friend of mine whom I have always considered vanilla got sushi with me a few weeks ago. She expressed interested in whips and chains and things. And I was surprised. I know some kink folks go around assuming that vanilla people WOULD be kinky if they were a little more gutsy or a little less sheltered. But I have never thought that. I know quite a few people who tried kinky stuff just to see how they felt about it, and decided it wasn’t for them. Ergo, I never presume to know what someone is like inside their own head.

But this friend of mine asked about a few things, and I thought I would do a basic overview of each of them.

First, responsible sex.

I have written about this topic before when discussing poly relationships, but I think a quick summary here would be beneficial. My friend expressed horror about getting STD tests from people. But as I have said before, one little cell can ruin your life and skin to skin contact can transfer cells; condoms or no. If you’re interested in being poly, understand that getting an STD can ruin the lives of a lot of people, and learn to take this seriously and not to be afraid of it.

Yes, vanilla people often avoid openly talking about this kind of thing. Yes, some of them see it as a lack of trust when you simply want to use a condom, never mind trading paperwork. But if you get into the kink community then people expect this, so don’t be shy about asking!

Second, where to go. 

I have found that the best way to find kinky folks where you live these days is to go to a fetlife.com munch. I know us kinky folks have our issues with fetlife from time to time. But let’s be honest, before that web site came along, finding freaks in your town involved walking up to scary people and asking them in person. I did that back in the early 90’s when I moved to L.A. and I am sure it wasn’t safe.

So make a profile (dear god don’t use your real name!) and find a munch near you. Choose one in a public place where the dress code is listed as “vanilla.” Then just go and talk to people. Most munches will include folks who can tell you where the dungeons are and the good clubs to hang out at.

Third, what to do.

It’s not like you have to jump in with both feet. If you’re nervous about getting started, just keep dating vanilla people, but ask them if they ever thought about trying kinky things. Practicing with another person who is mostly vanilla can be fun and harmless. Get one of those silly kinky “starter kits” they sell these days as sex shops (due to the popularity of a certain series of shit books) and try things out. You don’t need to be part of the community to be kinky. It can be nice to have the support, but if it’s too overwhelming at first, then don’t do it. You should never do anything that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable.

And remember the BDSM mantra: Safe, sane, and consensual!