Nothing can be quite as fearsome as the cane. It has been used for centuries as a form of corporal punishment in schools and judicial systems. To many bottoms it means severe punishment. To many masochists, a caning session is a one-way ticket to Endorphin Land. In the hands of an experienced person, a cane can be a sensuous tool as well as one of extreme pain.
First, let's discuss the cane itself. They come in different lengths and diameters depending on the Top's preference. A general rule of thumb (pun intended), the thinner the cane the sharper the pain. Thin canes can create a great deal of sting and even cut skin. It's very important to use care when delivering a punishment that has the potential to draw blood.
Thicker canes tend to produce a deeper, thudding pain. A strike with a cane like this can cause deep tissue bruising. It's important to be conscious of where you're aiming with any size cane. You can injure organs and even break bones so steer clear of kidneys and the spine, especially the tail bone.
Canes come in a variety of materials. Rattan is a popular choice which I find to have almost a whip-like quality in thinner styles. It's flexible and the pain is cutting. There are other choices such as acrylic, delrin and carbon if you prefer synthetic materials which can be easier to clean and sanitize. We have a 30 inch acrylic cane that's a nice 3/8 width, aptly named Blue Lightning which is a favorite. We also have a 28 inch rattan cane in 1/4 width. You wouldn't think there would be a huge difference in how these feel on impact, but they are very different. Fractions on width and length and different materials can deliver entirely different sensations. Personally, I prefer the thud from the thicker acrylic to the vicious bite of the rattan, but that's just me.
Techniques can vary from Top to Top. Caning takes control and discipline. Many Tops say that it's all in the wrist. A flick at the end of a well-placed strike can have painful results. This is not an implement that requires strength, but rather skill and remarkably little force to deliver a blow that will ensure pain. Practice, as with any school of discipline, is a necessity.
Light taps can be almost sensual depending on the area the cane is used. Typically, canes are used on the buttocks, thighs (back, inner and front), genitals and breasts. There is even a sweet spot where it is said that repeated, concussive taps can create a vibration that can bring a bottom to orgasm. I've never experienced this and have to admit I'm a bit jealous of those who have.
Accuracy, force, rhythm and follow-through can make all the difference in the type of caning session for the bottom. Following through with strokes can change the level of pain a Top delivers. A stroke that leaves the cane firmly against the flesh will transfer more energy to the blow, giving a thuddier more bruising type of pain. A stroke that bounces against the skin, transfers less energy and tends to have a more stingy effect.
The bottom's position can also be a mitigating factor in how a caning will play out. The bottom lying horizontally on the stomach (flat, or with pillows elevating the hips) is a good position. This requires the Top to use an overhead stroke which is a technique all in itself.
Having a bottom bend at the waist, leaning over a chair, bed, spanking bench etc, tends to stretch the skin on the buttocks and thighs and can result in a more painful blow. This is rumored to be the best position to achieve that sweet-spot effect I mentioned earlier. I can't speak from personal experience though.
Where the Top stands in relation to the bottom can also be a factor. A good position is slightly off the side so that the Top isn't parallel or facing the bottom. As the person delivering the caning, another key is to make sure you're far enough away to avoid the wrap around affect where the cane flexes and catches the bottom in an area not intended such as the bony hip. This can happen especially with thinner, whippier canes and is not pleasant!
When caning areas such as the breasts and genitals, caution is imperative because injury can occur with the slightest misjudgment.
Marks and bruising are the hallmark of the cane. Nothing is more gorgeous to me than a beautifully lined buttocks after a good caning. Even the lightest touches with the cane tend to leave welts. After-care is vitally important with any impact play. If blood is drawn be sure to take care of the injuries as well as the cane used. Natural materials involve time and effort in caring for canes. Neglect can lead to broken implements, splinters and other dangers that can damage a bottom.
As a bottom on the receiving end, it's important to communicate with your Top before and during a session especially if you are new to caning. When my partner first began using a cane, I admit, I hated it. It was horribly painful. But after trial and error and learning better ways to accept pain, I've learned to love it. I lean on yoga breathing methods when enduring more severe disciplinary canings. I admit, I have a fondness for the thicker, synthetic canes that have a thuddier feel to them. There is nothing quite like the endorphin high of a good caning. I'm not sure I'll ever have affection for the thin, cutting rattan. Everyone has their own preferences with impact tools and the cane is no exception.
Caning can be a unique and enjoyable experience as well as a lesson in pain. Stay safe and educate yourself!