Behind the Scenes of Reno’s Hidden Kink

BDSM — for some it’s just that subject of that one book, the one with the shades of grey and the billionaire guy. But for so many in Reno like David and Marilyn Harrell, or in the BDSM world, “Mr. Kalm,” and “Shenanigatrix,” — it’s more of a lifestyle. Reporting by Tatiana Ramirez and Henry Stone.

If you were to see Mr. Harrell you would probably first think of fandoms, which in the BDSM world often coincide. But in this other world Mr. Kalm, an alias he was given for his calm exterior, is a whole other person but yet much the same.

Misconceptions of a Witty Conductor

By day a sugar sweet, loving husband to his wife, Marilyn, and father to his loving children, when in their red room, he becomes a very witty conductor, watching and guiding a scene.

“A lot of people think we are mean….but we are just normal folk like you, we have our problems, our positives,” Mr. Kalm said.

Watch video above by Henry Stone and Tatiana Ramirez complete with a tour of Reno Masquerade and best practices for BDSM.

A Well Equipped Dungeon

While BDSM has become more known and less shunned, there are still misconceptions of the lifestyle and of the Harrells’ establishment, Masquerade Reno.

Its website says it “provides a sexy, well-equipped dungeon for the casual kinkster and the hardcore lifestyler; events that bring together denizens of the moon-lit world of BDSM in spaces of safety and comfort.”

Outside the nondescript Masquerade Reno in Panther Valley, on 1005 Standard St. “Our door is an automatic lock, so you will have​ to contact us in order to get inside,” the website reads.

Doms and Subs

“We are not a brothel — please stop calling,” Mr. Kalm snarls on a phone call.

The two are constantly getting calls about “getting a girl.” They try to make fun of these said calls. But even after a while there’s only so much one can do after the calls become more pestering and annoying, especially when these said calls are occurring in the middle of the night.

Another misconception is that there are only certain personalities who can fit the dom and sub roles.

“Tops aren’t dicks….not all tops are dicks, #notalltops,” said a laughing Mr. Kalm.

Most would like to believe that all doms are Christian Greys, but that’s not always the case, sometimes they’re quirky like Mr. Kalm.

“It’s an interesting thing to think, people perceive dominance as being ‘oh they must super take charge.’ A lot of socially dominant people are actually submissive,” Mr. Kalm said.

For many people who are submissive, they use this role or position to relieve their stress.

Some of the tools of the trade.

The Right to Say No

Sometimes the subs are filled with big personalities and spunk like Shenanigatrix, aka Marilyn Harrell.

Though she did not want to be filmed, she was not shy to speak her mind and enlighten on this “secret” life.

“First of all, Christian Grey would be a private party kind of guy,” a laughing Shenanigatrix said.

A popular misconception is that being submissive means you have to do everything they (the dominant/master) asks you to do.

“That’s not true, if you have a good partner they will always make sure you’re safe and if you don’t feel safe doing something, then you have the right as a submissive to say no,” Shenanigatrix said.

The couple is constantly trying to rid these assumptions and stereotypes through their classes they teach at their club. But the only real way to actually get a grasp of this lifestyle is to do the research and experience it, whether that’s through a book, or through the many websites that are offered.

Not Everything is True on the Internet

The Harrells do warn that while using online resources can be helpful, not everything you read is always true, like anything on the internet.

“There is no set way you can be into BDSM, everybody is individually shaped. There is some generality you can throw around, but — it’s a very personal, intimate thing,” said Mr. Kalm.

Though this lifestyle is adaptable to everyone, there is a consistent thing about it — etiquette. The first thing one learns when entering the “Masquerade Reno,” are their own rules of etiquette.

Like what to do when one is not comfortable with the scene that’s playing in front of them, or how one will politely be asked to leave if under the influence. Everyone is given a tour and it’s during this tour, that the ground rules of what can be done and what can’t be done such as where one can be “spanked.”

This kinky lifestyle is not meant for everyone. And that’s alright, but also at the same time it can be needed.

“It’s very much being the who you are in the inside — it’s where you go to be yourself for real, not what you have to pretend to be to get by, “ Mr. Kalm said.

The “Masquerade Reno” always presents its etiquette tip sheet.

Don’t Suppress the Need

In the Harrells’ experience within the community, they have encountered and heard of the stories. Stories of people suppressing this urge to live this lifestyle, and how it never works out.

It’s in their experience that the people who suppress this need, aren’t happy. And in the end can’t fight it for forever,

When they stop fighting it, they finally receive this peace, relief. “We’ve seen people cry in happiness,” Shenanigatrix said.

Another part of the etiquette of this lifestyle is the secrecy. While it has become more accepted, there are still many who keep it to themselves.

“If you are on the down low and you want to come to a dungeon — you let people know,” Mr. Kalm said. This is to ensure that one’s lifestyle is safe, and that they will not be outed accidentally.

Reporting by Tatiana Ramirez and Henry Stone shared with Reynolds Sandbox



The Reynolds Sandbox showcases innovative and engaging storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab.

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Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.