I get a lot of messages from people who are new. However, most people are not looking for complicated advice, they want to know what the hell the jargon being thrown around means. There’s more complete dictionaries, which I will link to, but this guide assumes you’re just starting out meeting people. In later writing I’ll examine the topics in more depth.
Munch: A munch is a low commitment gathering for people who want to meet other kinky individuals in an environment without play going on. These are often in bars or restaurants. You do not wear your fetishwear to a munch, though it’s a place where you don’t need to be quite as discreet about collars and the like.
The first munch, by its namesake, is reckoned to be meetup of an online group in a burger joint called Kirk’s Steakburgers. Some munches, because of privacy concerns are held in private homes.
Play: Play refers to the kinky activities people get up to. Whether your thing is rolling around in jello and chicken livers while wearing a wet suit, or strict flogging on Sunday mornings, play makes a good verb because it is non specific. Plus, kink is fun.
Play Party: A play party is a gathering of people of a kinky persuasion there to do kinky things. There’s generally some sort of dress code, which varies from something other than sloppy casual, to full blown fetish gear. There may be an additional theme involved, say femme dom or protocol.
Play parties are not legal in all regions, or may be limited to only certain activities to comply with public obscenity laws. Many play parties ban sex for this reason.
Safeword: A safeword is a phrase that would ordinarily never come up in the course of normal kinky activities The primary use of a safeword is for better facilitated communication. These are most likely to be used with people who are learning to play together or among people who want the dominant or top to have more discretion to ignore a regular ‘no’. These are especially useful to indicate things like a cramp or something in a person’s eye, or maybe a bit of humiliation talk that really hit home.
Some people use the stoplight system, with Red for stop right now and Yellow to indicate approaching a limit. Others pick ‘safeword’ or for activities involving muffling, a gesture or distinct grunt. You can use all sorts of silly words like ‘pumpernickle’ or ‘boat’. How a couple handle use of a safeword is something they need to negotiate for themselves.
Scene: This means two things. A scene in the sense of an activity is a period of kinky activity with a defined beginning and end. This is a helpful sort of segmentation for people who need to get into the right mindset to enjoy kinky activities. Scenes can be described by the stuff you get up to, for example a bondage scene or a flogging scene. Some couples integrate lots of ritual into their scenes, with special clothes or gestures, and for some it’s as easy as “you wanna?”
The Scene, on the other hand, is just the thing that people will sometimes refer to the kink or BDSM community to at large. People into any sub culture do this and it’s not kink specific.