NCSF on Twitter   Subscribe to the NCSF RSS Feed   NCSF Blog

"BDSM Comes to Harvard"

on Tuesday, 11 December 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Where Ivy League kink comes from.

Newsweek

Last week, national media outlets were titillated by the news that Harvard University had formally recognized a ­student-run BDSM group (short for bondage, domination, and sado­maso­chism). The idea of buttoned-up Crimson coeds discussing their fondness for fetish challenged the conventional image of the Ivy League university, home to the best, the brightest—and now, the kinkiest.

Joining the Composers Association, the Mathematica Club, and about 400 other student organizations, the Harvard Munch will now get money to host gatherings and guest speakers. While conservative pundits on Fox roasted the school for giving money to this “marginal” group, the larger BDSM world welcomed the news. “Within the next decade, I think we’ll see a huge number of colleges and universities providing safe spaces for their students to explore alternative sexuality, just as they have done for LGBT groups,” said Mollena Williams, an educator in the kink community.

50 Shades of Crimson

Harvard is hardly the first university to have sanctioned such a group. Columbia University’s Conversio Virium (that’s Latin for “exchange of forces”) became the first university-recognized sado­maso­chism club in the country in 1992. Iowa State University has its long-running, student-funded bondage club, Cuffs; Vassar College has the Sex Avengers, which holds an annual “Masturbate-a-thon”; and the University of Chicago has RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink).

“Munch” isn’t as much of a non sequitur in this list as it sounds. The term goes back to the 1980s, when a small group of bondage enthusiasts began meeting at a restaurant in Palo Alto to casually discuss spanking, flogging, and the like. Despite the connotations it might have, the term “munch” in this context is simply an amalgamation of “lunch” and “meeting.”

Munching isn’t exclusive to cities and college campuses either. One of the ­longest-running munches is based in Louisville, Ky. Many members of the Harvard Munch were introduced to the BDSM community through the Cambridgeside Galleria Munch, according to a former member. Anschel ­Schaffer-­Cohen, a founder of Tufts Kink, encourages members to check out Cambridgeside’s Munch. “It’s the textbook introduction to the community,” he said. “I went to munches and made friends. It’s a safe venue to meet people with similar interests.”

And anyone concerned that the munch is a sign of rampant campus promiscuity can rest easy. In an informal video survey by The Harvard Crimson asking students whether they would rather join Munch or the pro-abstinence Harvard College Anscombe Society, support was surprisingly evenly split between the two.

Social Bookmarks

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

Cancel Submitting comment...

Latest Reader Comments

  • As is true with ANY group of human beings, there will always be individuals who take advantage of a given situation. However,...

    Mistress Black Diamond

    30. April, 2015 |

  • I followed the link to read the full article. As expected in that sort of venue the ideal of BDSM is being promoted, not the reality. I...

    TammyJo Eckhart, PhD

    30. April, 2015 |

  • For many years we have tolerated businesses posing as churches, so why not lifestyle groups? Alternative lifestyle members share a common...

    Bob

    29. April, 2015 |

  • Feminists and christian groups push narratives which become 'fact' (see definition of 'Woozle effect ). These are ideologically driven...

    Elle

    09. April, 2015 |

  • Fetlife works very hard to keep members safe. They also work to protect everyone's freedoms. Criminal accusations should be made to local...

    Daisie

    23. March, 2015 |

  • Simple and brilliant. I will be using this in all of my Human Sexuality classes.

    Callista Lee

    11. March, 2015 |