College Approves BDSM Group

source: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/11/29/bdsm-new-club-approved/

By Nathalie R. Miraval, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012

It started last October with a meal in Currier dining hall with a handful of friends who shared something in common: an affinity for kinky sex.

More than a year after the group first began informally meeting over meals to discuss issues and topics relating to kinky sex, Harvard College Munch has grown from seven to about 30 members and is one of 15 student organization that will be approved by the Committee on Student Life this Friday.

Michael, who was granted anonymity by The Crimson to protect his privacy, is the founder of Munch, an informal lunch or dinner meeting for people across the kink community.

For him, the recognition will provide a sense of ease for current and future members, knowing they are receiving institutional support.

“It’s a little hyperbolic for me to get teary-eyed and paternal about sophomores, but it’s really a joy to see the experience they will have now,” Michael said.

Michael said there are many benefits to being officially recognized on campus such as being able to poster for events and promote Munch’s presence.

“If you come to campus and you have the sexual interests we represent, you may not even suspect that such a group exists,” Michael said.

Munch is also now allowed to apply for DAPA food grants, making it easier to find a convenient time and location to meet, instead of gathering in small dining halls.

But for Michael, the biggest advantage to being recognized comes with “the fact of legitimacy,” he said. “[Our recognition] shows we are being taken seriously.”

Mae, a member of the organization who asked to be identified by her middle name, said since its formation the group has provided her with a comfortable space to discuss her interests.

“I didn’t think that anyone was even remotely interested [in kink] on campus,” Mae said. “It’s a community where you can feel safe, and you can feel comfortable talking about [kink].”

Even though Boston and Cambridge are both hosts to some munch groups, Michael said he thought bringing a munch group to campus would provide a more comfortable space for students to discuss their sexual desires.

“Pretty much everyone who joins this club always thought they were alone,” Michael said.

Munch attempted to gain official recognition last semester, but troubles finding a stable adviser and problems with their constitution left them waiting another semester.

Mae said the experience, however, was worthwhile because it inspired the organization to create a safety team—a group of people who can direct students who have faced abuse or trauma to appropriate resources on campus.

Mae said that kinky students may feel uncomfortable discussing their sexual practices, after experiencing any form of abuse or trauma, with certain people for fear of being misunderstood or judged. She said the resources ensure students receive the help they need from people who are educated about the kink community.

Other approved organizations, who will gain official recognition after completing a workshop on Friday, include the Harvard College Comics Club, the Harvard Undergraduate Mathematics Association, and the Harvard Undergraduate Maternal Health Initiative.

—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at nmiraval@college.harvard.edu.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:


An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the kinky sex discussion group Harvard College Munch has 20 members. In fact, it has about 30 active members. The article also stated that the group unsuccessfully applied for recognition from the College last month, while in fact it first sought official approval last semester.