My first exposure to canes was that of some amateur porn I stumbled across and it made me so terrified of canes that I vowed never to experience them. They immediately went on my hard limits list and I planned to never change that. Canes are a scary tool in expert hands and dangerous tools in the inexperienced person's hand. But it doesn't have to be about pain, although it turned out that way for me. Yum! And now I call canes one of my favorite tools to request during play.
My Initial Fears
Without a doubt, canes were a scary tool for me to see come out of someone's bag. I'd seen caning on TV and in movies and it didn't look like it could be a good pain let alone pleasurable at all. It whistled when it was swung, it caused deep welts and bruises on the bodies of those who enjoyed it and the real possibility of cutting and bleeding made it extremely scary for me. I forbid even seeing one when people played with me for a long while.
I thought that my fears were unfounded and irrational because so many of my BDSM friends enjoyed canes. But I did learn that many of my fears were real safety concerns and awareness in the type of play that it was. A novice Top should not wield a cane without some instruction. The sheer depth of strikes that can occur with a cane means you have to understand anatomy better than the cursory no-go zones. You'll be striking not only the flesh but could affect the deeper tissues and muscles below. An errant strike could send your bottom to the hospital.
Education was everything to help lift the veil of fear on canes. In the right hands, I could see the pleasure and variety of sensation that was being used. Enough that when KnyghtMare was gifted with a cane for one of my birthdays (that's right, he got the presents) I was less scared than I was initially. He got some instruction, we went to a demonstration and as with all of his toys he tested them on himself and practiced with inanimate objects first. It's a confidence boost for any bottom to know that your Top is serious about using a tool correctly and safely.
My First Experience
When I first lay down in front of KnyghtMare to receive my first caning I was nervous but confident that I would experience something new and interesting and he had my full trust with the tools before him. I was ready to feel what I was so afraid of. What I learned is that caning doesn't have to be like those scary porn videos and the corporal punishment stories I'd heard on the news. His caning was erotic and the sensations were much like a flogger and a paddle but more refined and focused in a smaller area. Depending on how hard he struck or what thickness cane he used sent me different sensations.
When it did start to hurt, because heck, I'm a masochist, it was an even more delicious pain. I'm a sting aficionado and the sting of a cane is lovely and has a double impact. The initial impact and then the secondary decompression of the tissues immediately after caused each strike to work twice as long as a normal paddle strike. I learned how to process them and trust me, it's different from a flogger or paddle or the hand. Canes are a unique pleasure/pain experience.
The magical thing about canes is that it doesn't have to hurt. It's a percussion tool so for those of us who love a constant rhythm and can float away in a good flogging could do the same in a percussion caning where the pain isn't the end goal. It can vary greatly depending on the size and material the cane is made from. For me, there will always be sting. I love the sharp cringe-inducing sensation and the shiver the comes after a sting pain.
Don't get me wrong, thud is nice but if I had an option I'd pick sting nine times out of ten. Which is probably why canes appeal to me. Thin whippy canes that whistle in the air will sting the most. The least amount of effort from the Top will make the bottom sing. It is more likely to break the skin with a whippy cane. Thicker rod type canes provide more of a thuddy sting and will fall deeper in the tissues.
Pace and rhythm are very important to a caning scene. I believe that it takes about 4-7 seconds to process a cane stroke. An inexperienced Top would throw a batch of strokes at a bottom and then wonder why the bottom isn't processing well or safewords much faster than they expected. Allow the bottom to process the cane stroke before delivering another and the play can continue much longer and more intensely. Warm up is also really important for canes. Unless you like the corporal punishment style, that is.
It is almost guaranteed that you will have marks from a caning. Cane marks are straight lines and often welt in rows. You'll see some petechiae (small red dots) with the thinner cane strokes and bruising with larger ones. Deep tissue bruising may also cause hard spots under the surface of the skin that then turn to bruises later on in the healing process. Marks from caning last the longest for me.
More information on caning
That's it. I'm a convert. I can only hope that other feared tools and activities will be just as pleasing to experience. What do you think of caning? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!