Police sign for Power to the people

Power to the People



This is yet another post that has been brewing  for a while.

I read a tweet about consent that sent me to this post Counterfeit Kink Communities this was a little while ago, but then I read some tweets today that brought it back to the top of my mind. And so instead of socializing with my friends at the munch I am typing this out on my phone.

Now according to the post the kink community/collective/socialgroup that Molly and I lead is inauthentic and it seems that we are merely predators looking for our next victim.

We have a lot of people who come to our munch and have been coming for years who don’t use their real name because they can’t, there are jobs and families and a thousand other reasons why people need to remain closeted. It would be lovely to live in a world where your kink isn’t a liability to your life, but sadly it still is. This does not mean you can’t form real and meaningful relationships with these people and by saying that a community is inauthentic because we all can’t be open is disingenuous at best.

We (and others we know) run munches and events for no actual benefit to ourselves. We don’t make any money and devote a great deal of our time to create a place where people can go and for a brief while be among people who understand them. To say that we lead (and I hate that expression, I am not looking to lead anyone) to gain political power is to cast aspersions without any knowledge of who we are and what we do.

I do not claim that the kink world is without fault. It is full of fault and bad actors and we must all work together to try as best we can to keep each other safe and to speak out when we see something that seems wrong and if we see violations of consent, talk to the parties involved to find acceptable resolution.  But the (our) kink world is an informal grouping, there are no defined roles and responsibilities. Molly and I organize the munch and play host and hostess and if needed step in if there is behavior outside the expected public norm. But we are not the self elected arbiters of the relationships and play that the munch attendees arrange themselves. We can’t be. We have the munch in a public venue, people can come whether we wish them to or not.  We are not the kink police. We rely on the fact that everyone who attends wishes to behave in a way that brings respect and honor to the environment that we are trying to create and that those who would disrupt that would find themselves the participants of a frank talk.

So far we have never had an issue that has not been managed by this and I thank our lucky stars that hopefully we never will. But to claim that we are not a real community would be a disservice to all the people who work and plan and attend and TALK  about all the things that being kinky means. Including when things go wrong, and even when people do wrong.

If your think your community is inauthentic, well, perhaps you need to build a better community, but if you become the one in charge won’t that make you the one seeking the power?

You can feel free to hold me accountable for my behavior, but not as a “leader” because I am not in charge of anything but the relationship that Molly and I have negotiated. We try to show what being a D/s couple means to us in hopes that others can see something of value is the standards we try to apply to ourselves. The circle of friends and acquaintances that we have made are dear to us and we treasure each and every one of them.

I am sorry that the writer of the post feels the way that they do. I wish that everyone could have the experiences that I have had. And perhaps we are just lucky that nothing has caused the kind of problems she writes about. But if it does I can’t help but feel that working together we will find a way to resolve it without having to build some sort of justice system for the kink world.

I get very nervous when people start suggesting ways to form a hierarchy to present the rules to those who wish to be part of the kink world.

I think we can do better than that. But then maybe I am just saying that to keep my (non-existent) power.


P.S. I could write several thousand more words on this and I probably will in the future, but it is late and I am home basking in the glow of friendship from my inauthentic community.


6 responses to “Power to the People”

  1. Michael,

    I spent a good amount of time reading Erin Kennedy’s blog, her “About” page, two other posts, and the post you referenced and linked-to I read three times, and reread your post here. To be perfectly honest I think BOTH OF YOU have more positive true points/positions than you have points falling short on issues… which is probably why you wisely stated in your Post-Script that “I could write several thousand more words on this and I probably will in the future…

    I completely understand your point(s) here:

    “But the (our) kink world is an informal grouping, there are no defined roles and responsibilities. Molly and I organize the munch and play host and hostess and if needed step in if there is behavior outside the expected public norm. But we are not the self elected arbiters of the relationships and play that the munch attendees arrange themselves.”

    When small munch-groups are manageable in size — 3 to 8 couples perhaps(?) — communal intimacy is pretty much present and appropriate behaviours/consents easily overseen. Erin Kennedy seems to be an advocate for LARGE (nationwide?) communities with more safe, improved infrastructure, further educated, affirmative consent, member-accountability along with “restorative justice models” for trespasses rather than exile from the group/community. I happen to agree with both of you. If I may explain further…

    Some/many Kinksters-BDSM’ers simply do not have the time, resources, or energy to GROW their group-munch and scene participants beyond 15 to 30 members on a regular basis. That is understandable and perfectly fine if the primary organizers are very well educated, well experienced in our Dark Art, and have an ‘Emergency Intervention’ technique & protocol in place when needed for those infrequent/rare violating Newbies. Based upon your blog-posts I’ve read so far Michael, I see no “red-flags” (or yellow ones) about your relationship with Molly, especially if she is consenting to any and all of your “scenes” and methods. Hence, you and Molly are not the issue.

    But here’s the issue I think Erin Kennedy is boldly trying to address in our GROWING lifestyle.

    Once your group/community reaches a popular size, say over 20-30 attendees or more, then safety, thoroughly understood behaviours of Do’s & Don’ts, verbalized consent (of course!) maybe even signed consent(?), truly does become a natural issue. As you admitted accurately, there are and always will be ‘Predators’ out there looking for vulnerable naive prey in our lifestyle groups. It’s no different in any other relaxed ‘Alternative’ environment… even bars/clubs. I liken this ‘growing-pains issue’ to Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada every August. When it started in 1986 it was quite small compared to what it is today. Some of the original founders soon resigned from the event and their positions because in their mind/heart the event became WAY TOO big and popular, and their founding principles were fading… principles nonetheless that were indeed true, right, and virtuous. For them, the event just out-grew its founding precepts. Is that bad? Wrong?

    Not if the infrastructure, organization, refined-principles, etc, morph WITH that growth and safety (along with life-chaning fun!) is maintained.

    So therefore… I see you Michael correctly in your group-munch AND I see Erin Kennedy’s desire — as zealously as she admits — being positived for the needed LARGER, SAFE expression for perhaps a regional or nationwide consortium of Kinksters. Because in every society on this Earth there will always be and protect from those cunning Predators.

    Hope I’ve made decent sense. All the best Sir to you and Molly! 🙂

    1. Hmm I am still not in agreement that formal arrangements benefit a group that needs public anonymity. And as a side note our munch runs 50 -70 people a month
      Thanks for your comment.

      1. 50-70 attendees is a very good turnout Michael. Well done.

        For the sake of those over the internet and blogging-world who are considering hosting a BDSM Munch…

        what is your definition of a “Munch”? I’ve been to many… and some are purely get-togethers with snacks and beverages with a specific lifestyle topic of discussion, but with no play or scenes. Other Munches I’ve attended were at a public dungeon where after the meet-n-greet and discussion times, there was play and scenes afterwards. I (mistakenly?) assumed your Munch involved play/scenes afterwards. Therefore, my comment points were addressing large Munches WITH play after — something which requires experienced Monitors to roam, particularly if there are Newbies attending. Naturally everyone’s safety is a priority.

        Also, I guess I should assume that you know all 50-70 attendees very well and can completely trust them? Or perhaps you setup and approach your Munch differently than ones I’ve attended here in Texas, and California, USA. That’s completely possible. If the latter, then I would appreciate your elaboration.

        Thank you kindly.

        1. Our munch is a social gathering only munch (for which Molly deserves all the credit) we have had play events in the past and others from our munch have started their own play event. Play events should of course have safeguards and rules of behavior in place like DMs to make sure nothing untowards happens and to keep repeat offenders out. Munches and Play events are things that your community take part in, but they are not what makes a community. A community is an informal group of people who come together over a common interest. I personally (and I know many others) would not take part in a more formal organization. But my larger point is that we are an authentic community even if some need to remain anonymous and if we need to have passed certain tests to claim to be part of a community that means that someone else decides how we must behave to be accepted. Perhaps it is the anti-establishment bias that I have, but building structures for such a diverse population would be problematic at best. I have found that bad actors are sorted out without formal action. People share information about who plays well and who does not. Molly and I as “leaders” of the munch would not feel comfortable directing other people with their own opinions on how to treat those who don’t respect others. Most weeks we have new people join us and they are as welcome as the people who have been coming for 5 years. Even if they never come again we greet them with open arms and treat them the same as anyone else. Whether we ever get to their real name or not.

          1. An excellent elaboration and clarification Michael. Thank you very much for the considered, careful content. If I attended your Munch, I’m sure I could easily appreciate your’s and Molly’s openness and encouragement for every individual to find their own kinks, perversions, and limits.

            Warm regards to you Sir.

  2. I’m with you on this one. The vast majority of people I know in the kink community are anonymous and have very valid reasons to stay that way, be it work, family, religious or any other equally valid reason. That has absolutely no impact on whether someone is authentic or not.

    As someone who regularly attends the munch you and Molly host, only one or two people know my real name and yet I count some of the people there as some of my closest friends.

    I think the way in which you run it strikes the perfect balance. It’s the friendliest and most inclusive munch I’ve been too. Everybody is made to feel welcome, introductions are made and those that are shy are included without being scared out the door! Everybody knows who to approach if there is a problem but you cannot be held responsible for other people actions, people are responsible for themselves which includes knowing when to reach out for help.

    However, not every kink community is run the same way, I’ve seen so called community leaders that are abusive and those that try to out others. Sadly this small percentage of individuals seem to create fear throughout the whole community but this is exactly the same as any other type of community!

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