Caning 101: Caning for Fun and Pleasure

Caning is without doubt one of the scariest and most psychologically intimidating forms of impact play. The cane conjures up all sorts of visions of punishment in Singapore and of old-time school discipline; I imagine that some of you are already cringing just thinking about it.

Caning does have a softer, more sensual side. For people who like to explore, it can be an interesting and rewarding way to open up new horizons in sexual play. For role-playing scenarios, it's great fun, and even just for good old-fashioned sensation, it can be a great way to spice things up. I've known people who can orgasm just from a caning, truth be told.

It's definitely something that must be approached carefully, though. Improperly used, a cane can cause significant injury. With canes more than any other common impact implement, it's very important to go slowly, pay attention, and experiment gradually; a cane does not require much force at all to be painful in a non-erotic way.

Canes absolutely should not be used over organs, on the face or neck, over bones, or on the fingers, ankles, or tops of the feet; doing so can easily result in injury. Please read the section on flogging safety; the parts of the body you should avoid when flogging should especially be avoided with a cane.

Particularly important with caning is avoiding the tailbone. Generally speaking, you'll want to work on the lower buttocks; keep the tip of the cane away from the cleft at the end of the spine, because it only takes a small amount of force to break the end of the tailbone.

Crops do not require very much force to create a strong sensation. Start very slowly, and warm your partner up carefully. Pay attention to how your partner is responding. Never use a crop with any force on the face, neck, stomach, kidneys, or in any areas where bone is close to the skin. Do not use a crop on broken skin.

In the strictest sense of the word, a cane is a thin, somewhat flexible striking implement made from rattan or bamboo. These kinds of canes have been used throughout history as instruments of punishment, and were particularly popular during the Victorian era for corporeal punishment and discipline; many fans of Victorian role-play are quite fond of using canes in BDSM scenes.

Today, canes may be made from fiberglass, various plastic resins, carbon fiber, or other modern materials. These canes may not be historically accurate, but they have the advantage of requiring much less care and maintenance than canes made from rattan or bamboo.

A cane can be used in a number of distinct styles, each one of which produces different sensations. No matter how it's used, a cane generally produces a very sharp, highly localized sting; by varying the way you use it, you can produce all kinds of variations on that theme.

The cane has a fearsome, and for the most part well-deserved, reputation for being an evil implement that can be quite painful in the wrong (or right, if your tastes run that way) hands. For that reason, many people (including, for a long time, me) tend to stay away from them.

A cane doesn't have to be painful, though. It can be used quite lightly, and when used this way, it's very sensual. Using cane requires care and attention, but it's really not that hard to create just the right amount of sensation.

If you're new to caning, start with your partner lying down flat, not bent over the bed. When you bend over, the long muscles in your legs and thighs are pulled taut, making them more sensitive to impact; the same strokes will be less intense when your partner is lying down rather than bent over.

Many people like to use "stoplight safewords"--when your partner says "green," that means keep going; "yellow" means keep going but do not increase the level of sensation; "red" means stop. As with a crop, or any other striking implement, when you're learning your partner's limits, increase the speed and intensity of the strokes gradually until your partner says "yellow," which means you've reached the edge of your partner's tolerance. This will let you know how far you can go and what levels to stay within.

There is definitely a "sweet spot" on your partner's body for caning, low on the buttocks where the curve of the butt meets the leg. This spot produces some very interesting sensations when you catch it just right. You'll definitely know it when you find it.

How to Use a Cane

You can strike with the tip of a cane, or with the side of the cane about midway down its length. The result is quite different; striking with the tip produces a sharp, concentrated, and very strong sting, and can often produce welts even with only light to moderate force; the side of the cane produces a duller, less concentrated sensation.

You can also strike with a quick snapping motion of the wrist, and let the end of the cane bounce back immediately on impact, or deliver a blow with more "carry through," and let the cane remain in contact with your partner's body after striking. A short, snapping strike results in a very sharp, intense sensation; with a thin cane, it feels almost like a cutting sensation. A blow with more carry through produces a heavier feeling of impact that's not as sharp and stingy.

The cane creates a sensation that lingers; the pain continues for several seconds after the stroke. For this reason, be careful not to land your blows on exactly the same spot in very rapid succession, unless you want to create strong sensation. Instead, move the cane as you tap. Remember that striking the same spot multiple times in rapid order will magnify the results significantly!

If you use a bamboo or rattan cane, check the cane carefully for splinters, breaks, or rough spots the first time you use it, and then again before each use. Do not use a cane that is splintered or shows signs of breakage.

This is particularly true with bamboo canes. Bamboo can split lengthwise; these splits can cut skin and cause bleeding. Discard any bamboo cane showing signs of splitting.

Before using a new cane for the first time, check that the end is smooth and rounded. Sharp edges or splinters on the end will definitely get not-very-appreciative response from your partner!

Remember that canes can draw blood, and that canes made of bamboo and rattan can not be disinfected. Such canes should not be shared between partners who are not fluid-bonded to each other.

If you've never used a cane before, you might find it helpful to practice on a pillow. Make sure that you can control precisely where the tip of the cane lands, consistently.

Start out with your partner lying down face-down. Begin with very light taps using the side of the cane. Maintain a consistent and steady rhythm, and gradually move out closer to the end of the cane. Increase the force of the taps gradually, without abrupt changes in speed or force, until your partner's endorphins get going and you've found the limits to work within.

Once your partner is warmed up and you have a sense of what force will produce the effects that you want, vary the strokes. You can use short, staccato taps, varying the intensity at random, or continue with constant, even strokes.

What you'll need

The Toybag Guide book Canes and Caning, by Janet Hardy, is a definitive how-to on the fine art of caning. This book tells you everything you need to know--caning safety, caning technique, how to make canes, and all kinds of fun background information about the history of caning.You can find tutorials all over the Web for making your own canes out of rattan or bamboo. Making canes is something outside the scope of this Web site (at least for the moment); and frankly, I prefer using them to making them. If you prefer to find them ready-made, or would rather use materials other than rattan or bamboo, read on!

Rattan Cane
23"-30" long, suede handle
A standard rattan cane with a touch of luxury--this cane is finished with a suede handle. This is a basic, straight-ahead rattan cane for people who like a traditional caning experience. These canes are very inexpensive and a good introduction to caning.

Varnished Rattan Cane
26" long, braided handle
This thin, flexible rattan cane is hand-finished and varnished for longer life. It produces a sharper "bite" than the thicker cane above, and the handle is wrapped in braided cord. The varnish makes this cane easy to care for; it does not require the same level of maintenance as unfinished canes.

Black Nylon Cane
31" long, spiral-wrapped handle
This is an excellent beginner's cane. The tough, durable nylon won't crack or splinter and requires no special care. This cane is fairly heavy, with more of a dull "thud" impact than the rattan canes above.

Red Fiberglass Cane
21" long, rubber handle and tip
If your tastes run to a heavy, solid impact, this thick fiberglass cane might be just the thing. It has a less stingy and more "deep" feel than all of the canes shown above, and it's less flexible, making the impact much more penetrating.


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