The Art of Caning

Updated: May 6

Caning is one of the practices most appreciated by connoisseurs of BDSM

cane marks of thigh
Cane marks on thigh. Photo courtesy of HisLilPunchbag from Fetlife.

Caning consists of hitting the buttocks with a special stick called a cane. This causes a particularly erotic kind of pain. It is practiced following a strict ritual that comes from traditional British schools and has disciplinary connotations.


Caning is quite old. It was one of the favorites practices of Donatien, Marquis de Sade, after whom sadism was named. He experienced it during his education at a Paris college and later adopted it for his personal pleasure.


Even today, caning is used in the legal systems of Singapore, Malaysia, and other countries where corporal punishment is still customary.


Canes

Traditionally, canes are made of rattan, an elastic, hard and thin type of wood. Nowadays, they are also made of fiberglass, aluminum and other materials, but none has come to surpass rattan, which has excellent flexibility and just the right density.


Canes on grass
The top 4 canes are made of rattan, the bottom black one is fiberglass.

Some people use bamboo for caning, but I find it too rigid, and its knots spoil the marks left by the strokes. Likewise, canes made of aluminum and other metals are too rigid. Fiberglass can be even more flexible than rattan. However, it is also heavier, resulting in painful canings.


The thickness of the cane varies from a quarter of an inch to half an inch, and its length from a foot and a half to three feet. Deceivingly, thinner canes tend to cause more pain than the thicker ones, since they concentrate the energy of the blow on a smaller surface of skin.


In the judicial canings that I mentioned before, thick rods are used that cause very different effects from those we are discussing here. They can be extremely painful, produce bleeding, and even leave permanent marks.


How painful is a caning?

The idea of being caned often terrifies novices to BDSM. In Fifty Shades of Grey, the protagonist, Anastasia Steely, examines several canes in the "Red Room" and decides that she will never submit to such cruel punishment. While caning is one step up from spanking in pain intensity, it’s less painful than paddling, belting, flogging and, of course, whipping.


The pain caused by a cane stroke is different from the impact of a hand, a paddle, a belt or a flogger. It feels like a sharp cut in the skin accompanied by a duller muscle ache. The two phases of pain are experienced quite well with a caning: the sharp first pain followed, half a second later, by the dull, hot second pain. The pain can be intense at first, but it soon declines to a sensation of warmth.


Warming up the buttocks with a light spanking decreases the pain of a caning by increasing blood flow to the skin and its thickness. Caning a cold bottom can be surprisingly painful.


A caning session can range from being extremely pleasurable, to being considered as a severe punishment. This depends on the force of the strokes, their number, and the masochist’s fondness for pain. Caning is considered a high-intensity sadomasochistic game, but enjoyed by those who receive it.


How to give a caning

Caning is an art that requires knowledge, skill and creativity. The cane is not a stick with which you just hit the bottom, but an instrument that must be used taking advantage of its flexibility. This requires a quick twist of the wrist that is perfectly coordinated with the slower movement of the arm, thus bringing the cane in contact with the skin at high speed. The flexibility of the rattan can be tested by swaying the cane in the air until you hear it buzz, a sound that provokes expressions of terror in many bottoming partners.



The most effective strokes are given with the end of the cane - the last 3-4 inches - because that’s the part of the cane that moves at the highest speed. To inflict the most pain and leave a prominent mark, it is better to strike just one buttock at the time. Hitting both buttocks with a good length of the cane is less painful, but it has a good psychological effect. Hitting with the tip of the cane can be very painful and produce bruises, even bleeding, unless it is done with little force.


It is relatively easy to break a rattan cane. This tends to happen when the cane is used in a blunt way instead of swaying it, taking advantage of its flexibility. Also, aim for the surface of the skin and not the inside of the muscle. The idea is to deliver a quick impact and let the cane bounce back. Again, use your wrist more than your arm.


Canings are usually given on the buttocks. Other parts of the body can be hit as well, but this is generally more painful. Sometimes, the back of the thighs are caned in addition to the bottom. Heavy masochists endure canings to the front of the thighs, which is extremely painful.


Caning the soles of the feet is called bastinado. Normally, this is done by hitting the arch of the feet, and not the bony parts of the heel or the ball of the foot. One traditional form of bastinado consists of light, continuous strokes. If this is done for a long periods of time, it inflames the feet and makes walking painful. Hard hitting of the soles of the feet is a form of torture.


Caning marks

The cane leaves characteristic marks on the skin: two perfectly parallel red streaks separated by a pale band of the width of the cane. This pattern is produced because the skin directly under de cane is pushed down, while the skin to the sides is stretched. This pulling of the skin inflames the capillaries of the dermis, which leak red blood cells (erythrocytes) into the surrounding tissue.


When caning is administered following the traditional ritual, these marks cross the buttocks horizontally, parallel to each other, from the top of the buttocks to the thighs. Sometimes the same mark crosses the crack from one buttock to the other, other times there are separate marks on each cheek because a stroke has been focused on just one buttock.


fading of caning bruises
The gradual fading of caning marks into bruises. Photo courtesy of HisLilPunchingbag .

Depending on the severity of the caning and the characteristics of the recipient's skin, these marks last from less than an hour to several days. In some people, they gradually fade into blue and yellow bruises. These colors result from the degradation of the hemoglobin of the erythrocytes to bilirubin. They are usually appreciated by the top and the bottom partners, who will display them with pride to whoever can appreciate them.


well-caned bottom
A well-caned bottom. From Wikimedia Commons.

The caning ritual

Ritual is an important part of caning.


Strokes are usually given in multiples of six: “six of the best.” The caner and the person being hit agree beforehand about the number of strokes, who will do the counting, and whether the number will be said before or after a stroke.


The usual way is for the caner to say the number of each stroke after delivering it. But he can also say the number before hitting, causing the receiver to flinch in anticipation. If the bottom does the counting after each blow, having to do it while in pain is humiliating, and this gives the caner the opportunity to judge the intensity of the pain by her tone of voice. If the bottom counts before each blow, this gives her control over the pacing of the caning, so it’s a good tactic to use with beginners. However, having to call the stroke adds an element of self-inflicting pain, which has a strong psychological effect.


A light caning consists of six strokes. Twelve strokes are quite common. Heavy masochists can endure 24, 36 and 48 strokes. The Marquis de Sade once got 200 strokes. A caning session typically lasts from 5 to 15 minutes.


In schools, canings were delivered over clothes, but sadomasochists prefer canings on the bare bottom. This increases the pain, the feeling of vulnerability and the humiliation. It is quite erotic to raise a skirt and to lower the panties to the middle of the thighs.


Positions for a caning

The traditional position to receive a caning is bent over a table or a desk, hands and forearms resting on it, legs together and straight. Less often, a caning can be delivered while kneeling, laying down or grabbing the ankles while standing.


The bottom is warned that leaving the position after a blow would result in it not being counted.


There are good reasons why bending over is the ideal position for a caning. The buttocks are at the same height as the hands of the caner, which facilitates hitting. Standing allows the caner to swing the cane horizontally, which is easier to control than hitting up and down. Bending over stretches the skin and exposes the sitting spot, just above the crease between the buttocks and thighs, which is the ideal place to hit.


Standing while grabbing the ankles, or crossing the arms behind the knees, are extremely exposed and humiliating positions for a caning. The skin of the bottom is fully stretched and, if naked, the anus and the genitals are on full display. However, there are several issues that make this advisable only for experienced players. The person being caned is out of balance, so it is difficult not to break the position or avoid falling over. Spreading the legs and bracing the head against furniture can help. Another issue is that in this position it’s easy to hit the genitals with the cane, which is far more painful than a regular caning. If the person being caned is a man, hitting the testicles can be dangerous. They can be tucked out of the way of the cane using rope or underwear.


For an additional psychological thrill, the person being caned can be made to wait in the position for some time before the caning. The vulnerability in anticipation of the pain can be quite intense. Alternatively, the position can be maintained after the caning is over. This prevents rubbing the buttocks to relieve the pain and exposes the marks of the caning to everyone who wants to see them.


Caning for pleasure

Aside from the traditional, punishment-like canings, the cane can be used in more pleasurable ways. One of my favorite techniques consists of swinging the cane with rapid and continuous oscillations and bringing it in contact with the skin. This way, the stokes are very fast, but superficial and with low energy, so that the skin receives a continuous soft massage that heats and reddens it. By varying the amplitude, speed and pressure against the skin, this fast caning can be modulated from a pleasant, soft massage to a painful, fast whipping, and everything in between. I have induced orgasms in women using this technique.


The fast caning technique can be used to massage different areas of the body, like the trapezius of the shoulders, the sides of the spine, the calves, and the soles of the feet. But remember to never hit bones or tendons, only the muscles.


Why do people like caning?

There is something about caning that make people fall in love with it once they try it, either as a top or a bottom. Perhaps is the elaborate ritual, with its strong discipline connotations. Masochists praise the particular kind of pain - I have witnessed several women orgasm from a caning. Experienced caners boast their skills in leaving perfectly parallel marks, or in setting up the pace and the communication with the bottom. Caning has a particular rhythm to it, a cycle of preparation-pain-recovery-preparation for the next stroke.


In summary, caning is a nice technique to master for any aficionado to sadomasochistic games. For those ready to move one step up from hand spankings, I recommend it over belting, flogging or paddling. Caning is highly erotic, no matter if it is used for pleasure or punishment.


Copyright 2022 Hermes Solenzol

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