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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 or 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. Some come with food, and there are now some "Liquid Munches" that are held, usually early enough for conversation to be possible, in bars. "Liquid Munches" are known as Sloshes in many areas. Unlike a play party, most munches are informal affairs that discourage fetish attire or BDSM play. However some munches may be held as a get-together prior to a more formal play party, or other groups may be open to the wearing of collars or pride emblems; as such, covert Master/slave interactions, fetish dress, or other BDSM play may be observed. Some munches may have a specific focus, such as spirituality, or whips. Others may be targeting a specific group; such as women, or submissives. Please note the difference between targeting a group versus discriminating against a specific group. Munches can be very specific to their region, city, or neighbourhood, and regional groups will often host members-only meetings. Each munch is different and reflects the personality of the group that attends it.
Munch organizers may post their event information on social networking sites, or use e-mail or mailing lists. Local BDSM groups may announce a munch in-person at a meeting, on a community calendar or newsletter, or on their own websites.
The USENET group alt.sex.bondage was a common meeting ground online; as was a San Francisco-area email list known as BABES (Bay Area Bondage Enthusiasts Society). While organizations such as the Society of Janus and the BackDrop Club existed, there were few informal ways to meet others socially within the fetish scene. After that initial meeting, an informal rotation of organizers and locations were instituted, with widely varying amounts of success.
The Kirk's Burger Munch attracted a large and often spirited crowd, some of which participated in discreet play. As time went on, the atmosphere became more overtly fetish and BDSM play oriented, and people started bringing in outside food. Ultimately, the management insisted that the group stop meeting there. Many of the original participants organized another social gathering just down the street, though STella requested they not use the name "burger munch". The name was shortened to "munch".
The term "Burger Munch" was also used in Boston in 1993.
Munches dedicated to people into polyamory have sprung up around the U.S. They function much the same as BDSM munches, with perhaps more focus on talking about poly relationships.