There are definitely different schools of thought in this area. At home, in private, our BDSM "play" definitely will normally include sexual aspects/genital contact. Specific types of play are certainly genital-oriented.
However, we do sometimes (rarely) play in more public spaces or at friends' houses, and in those situations, it's purely non-sexual. So there are certainly different forms of play, and although sexual tension is often a by product, sex isn't.
@calicowgirl... munches are often "non-play" social only events.. definitely check out the rules regarding the specific ones you're near, but in my experience, they're a lot more about meeting people and exchanging conversation and ideas than play. Munches are, in many people's opinion, the best, "safest" way to get your feet wet and learn about the other people in your area that are like-minded.
Best of luck!