BDSM Caning Explained | Play Versus Punishment

Quick links: Definition | Play Vs. Punishment | How To Play | What To Hit | Cane Types | My Experience | FAQs

“Accept the pain and know pain, those who do not know pain can never understand true peace! ” – Nagato Uzumaki, Naruto

Key Takeaways

  • Caning should be approached with care, there is a reason it is used in corporal punishment. Some kinky tools can cause more pain and damage than others.
  • There are a huge variety of canes available both in natural fiber and synthetic. Synthetic fiber canes are safer to share.
  • Canes usually leave marks. Aftercare may include first aid.
  • Make sure to talk things over with your partner before you begin and before you pick out a cane.

What is Caning in BDSM?

Caning is a form of impact play that involves long, thin implements made of rattan, bamboo, wood, or synthetic materials. It usually causes at least minor bruising and welts and requires some care and careful discussion.

That is because caning can cause serious damage if done wrong, and has strong psychological effects.

Play Versus Punishment

Caning is still used as a form of corporal punishment in some countries. In that context, the power dynamic is twisted to be much more abusive, and the humiliation is normally worse because it is public. The injuries inflicted by corporal punishment are serious, both physical and psychological.

Caning without consent, care, discussion in advance, and the ability of the person being hit to stop it at any time is sexual assault. This makes the fact that it’s a government-sanctioned punishment in some places even more horrifying.

How to Do It Right

Impact play can involve a pretty wide range of kinky tools. Canes are one popular choice, just like paddles or whips and floggers.

Different kinds of impact play can be divided into two categories: thud and sting. Most caning implements provide sting, especially the classic rattan. Wider, heavier implements like a wooden cane can provide a thuddier experience. Finding out what appeals to you or your sub requires discussion and experimentation.

Sometimes injuries can be desired as a bodily souvenir, while other times it is preferable to avoid leaving marks. In caning, however, leaving some marks may be unavoidable.

Thud, from a heavier cane, may result in bruising, and some people bruise more easily than others. Sting can result in broken skin and welts. First aid may be needed for aftercare, particularly for welts.

This requires discussion with your playmate. You should ask if leaving marks is acceptable, or say if you want them. That sort of thing cannot be just assumed.

Caning is not necessarily about explicit sexual gratification. It is about pain and the endorphin rush response to that pain that makes pain enjoyable for some. So, it may or may not come with that expectation of orgasm or even sex.

Hitting the Sweet Spots

In general, it is safer to strike areas with more flesh, like the buttocks and thighs; vital organs should be avoided, as should the spine.

It’s also important to avoid other areas like the ears, neck, head, feet, and calves. A map of where to strike and what to avoid on a female body can be found here. Note that sometimes lightly hitting the breasts and genitals is okay, but always check with your sub first.

Avoid striking the same place twice with a cane, especially if there is a bruise or a welt already because that can result in greater damage.

Some areas should never be struck. Caning the abdomen can injure internal organs. A sharp blow to the back of the head or neck with a cane can be fatal.

Types of Canes To Use

There are many different kinds of canes to choose from; it should be obvious that we (usually) aren’t talking about walking sticks. Canes used for kink may be divided into two categories: traditional natural fiber canes and modern synthetic fiber canes.

Natural Fiber Canes

The best natural fiber canes are made from rattan or reed, though sometimes bamboo is also used. Natural fiber canes are porous and contain moisture. They need to be cared for, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely or be stored in any place that is airtight.

One hazard of natural fiber canes, particularly dry canes, is that they can break and become sharp. It helps to avoid swinging your cane through the air just because it is fun. That is because it increases the chance that it will break and become sharp. In addition, because they are porous, they should not be shared among multiple people, to avoid the spread of bacteria.

Traditional natural fiber canes have a long and storied history in both kink and corporal punishment. For this reason, nothing else will do for some people.

Modern Synthetic Fiber Canes

Modern synthetic fiber canes include materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, plastics, lucite, rubbers, Delrin, and other synthetic materials. Each has its various advantages and disadvantages when it comes to flexibility, weight, sturdiness, and sensation.

So long as they are not porous and they are well sanitized in between uses, it is safer to share modern synthetic fiber canes with multiple partners. In general, they mostly just need to be cleaned before and after use.

Whether you choose natural fiber or synthetic fiber for your cane, a certain amount of flexibility is desirable. Care should always be taken because that flexibility can cause your cane to “wrap around” and hit someplace that you don’t mean to.

Personal Experience With Caning

I am a switch, also known as vers, which is short for versatile. I have both been caned and wielded the cane, and have enjoyed both.

I actually started out accepting a caning in order to understand what it feels like for my sub. This is something that I recommend for any dominant in a caning scene. However, I found that I liked it myself as well.

I enjoy thud as well as sting and find that being “warmed up” with a paddle prior to a good caning is most enjoyable since it makes the skin more sensitive. I personally like a moderately intense scene, with welts but no broken skin.

BDSM Caning FAQs

Is caning usually done on its own?

Caning can be combined with other BDSM play, such as bondage, humiliation, and power exchange.

How do you know how hard to hit?

Talk to your sub first. It can help when discussing pain play to establish a scale of 1 to 10 in which 1 is a negligible amount of pain, and 10 is the most extreme amount of pain.

Do you need a safeword When Caning?

Generally, no means no, and stop means stop. However, many subs use these in a scene to pretend resistance when they actually want you to continue. In this case, a memorable safe word should be agreed on, such as “afterlife” or “samurai”. A stop light system is a popular choice, in which red means stop and yellow means to slow down or proceed with caution.

“The BDSM community actively promotes safety and emphasizes the consensual nature of BDSM activity.”

by Marshall Cavendish Corporation; Cavendish Square, 2010
from Sex and Society

Is it OK to cane while intoxicated?

No. Alcohol and drugs can dull the sensations of pain, but do not mitigate injury. It is by no means prudish to state that sober impact play is much safer. Competence is sexy. Being intoxicated lowers your competence and accuracy with an implement such as a cane.

What’s Next?

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves! Give your sub-or yourself-a night to remember with a scene that includes the sharp sting or heavy thud of a well-wielded cane. Go all-natural, explore canes made from modern materials, or switch it up. Explore different locations and intensities of strikes to find the sensations that satisfy you best.

Learn and talk with your play partner about Caning to make the most of your sessions and ensure everyone’s safety. And, as always, with all BDSM activities, make sure you trust your partner and use a safe word.

Notes

This post was initially written and published in November 2021 by Sexologist Robert Thomas. In September 2022, Oliver rewrote the article to improve its truthfulness, accuracy, and depth.

Authors

  • Robert Thomas is a sexologist, researcher, and writer who loves to explore and investigate everything that is related to bedroom action. He strives to improve couples' sex life by challenging the advice given in research papers, books, magazines, and on the internet in general. Robert loves to write about sex, BDSM, as well as tips & tricks on how couples can introduce new sex toys to their relationship. He has been proudly featured in Healthline, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Self, AskMen, MelMagazine, Kinkly, Jack&Jill Adult, and in many other publications. Learn more. LinkedIn

  • Mastubators, sex dolls, fleshlights, onaholes, blowjob machines, etc.. epic sex toys to put your dick in. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. Hi/hello, I am Oliver and you can think of me as an experienced sex toy tester. Why? Been part of Sextopedia’s team for 2 years now – tested over 100 dick stimulators, so I know what I am talking about. I am not a conservative thinker and I am not afraid to speak my mind. My reviews will always be right to the point and voice my personal experience. To spice up my sex life, I also joined the BDSM community back in 2019.

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