Snctm, Beverly Hills' most elite sex club, holds a Masquerade party every month. The invite list is short, just 99 people. In attendance this month were a minor Hollywood celebrity, an erotic theatre troupe known as the Devotees, and Bunnyman, an expert in the ancient Japanese rope-tying art of shibari. Esquire writer-at-large Mike Sager was in attendance as well—he profiled Snctm's founder in this feature. What follows is a scene from Snctm's Masquerade.

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By 2 a.m. Sunday morning, the circular driveway behind the tall hedge is chockablock with high-end collectable cars. Inside, the Snctm Masquerade is peaking. Music swirls, laughter rises, bodies couple and writhe. Like a bar at last call, anonymous eyes search the crowd, looking to couple up.

In the living room, surrounded by guests on sofas and chairs, Bunnyman is at work on a somewhat established actress, her arms and legs akimbo, the knots and coils of rope at once strong and delicate, like macramé. He is wearing his trademark black leather bunny mask along with a traditional, close fitting black Japanese keikogi top and loose hakama pants. His tuxedo slippers, one of 20 pairs in his collection, are embroidered in gold with a screw on the left foot, the letter U on the right.

A restless enthusiast who likes to "geek out" on a subject until he becomes an expert, Bunnyman's hobbies, besides the ancient bondage disciplines, include scotch, cigars, fine tobacco pipes, and post-WWII contemporary art. His real name is Phuong Tran. He's 32, and the very first to purchase a membership to Snctm. His parents are refugees from Vietnam—he hints that his family held high position in the old country. He doesn't mind using his name because "to Vietnamese people, Phoung Tran is like John Smith." Bunnyman joined Snctm, he says, "because some of my friends were in other private social clubs, like the Johnathan Club and the California Club, and I wanted to be able to reciprocate with something a little different."

Jeff Minton

The actress on which he is working is blonde tonight; sometimes she's a redhead. She is more of a character actress than a leading lady—she'll play the friend of the lead or one of the teachers at the school. She's wearing an ivory-colored bra and booty panties from Victoria's Secret; a black suede mask covers her eyes. She has brought along four of her girlfriends. They are watching intently; she can feel their energy as Bunnyman deploys various toys, alternating between pleasure and pain.

A "control freak" who can be the bossy type, the actress says being bound and dominated is like a form of meditation: "It's a way that I get to lose control, or give up control. For a little while I don't have to pay attention, I don't have to worry, I don't have to do anything. Someone else is is looking out for me."

She met Bunnyman on a fetish website two years back, and she's been coming to Snctm ever since. In fact, she came tonight specially to see him. "He knew I hadn't played in a long time, ever since I left my dominant," she says. "I'd been in a huge dry spell. It causes my ADD to go off, and I can't concentrate or handle things as well, because I don't have that outlet. It's like someone going without sex for a long time."

Jeff Minton

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