The cane is the most advanced toy in a top’s arsenal. The cane is not something you can use properly and responsibly without receiving training—not without causing bruising or injury to the person being caned—and they certainly are not as easy to use as, say, a flogger, slapper or paddle.
A cane “can split a fanny like a water balloon,” as it is put in Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns, one of the best books for BDSM beginners and pros alike. Authors Miller and Devon teach us that:
Cane strokes compress the skin leaving two welts with a U-shaped trough between them. There are two sensations to the cane, as well. When you strike there is an initial sting, then, a few seconds later, the nerves that were compressed with the skin begin to return to their original size and a new, searing pain fires up radiating outwardly from the twin welts.
Canes are just too hard to learn to use properly without the guidance of a competent, experienced sadist, far beyond the scope of this article. Reconsider buying a cane until you have access to a BDSM organization offering seminars on the subject, or find an experienced individual who can show you first-hand how to use one. The cane is just too darn easy to do wrong!
Finding Cane Instructors
Feltife.com and Alt.com are good potential resources to find caning instructors. These sites require registration but are free to use. Pay sites usually have limits set to your membership level with gradients of privileges depending on the level of membership you subscribe for. Otherwise, google “BDSM group” and your state name. Here’s the search for North Carolina’s Raleigh area.
Read New Submissives Seeking Play Partners – BE CAREFUL, The safety tips are for anyone seeking instruction or play partners, not just for submissives.
(We are not responsible for any experiences you might have trying out these groups or services.)
Bamboo canes are easy to find, but are terrible quality. They splinter and split very easily, and will cut and tear skin if they do. If you already own some bamboo canes and want to use them, keep them soaked in salt water. Oils or other treatments will not work.
Canes made of wicker and rattan are good, as are ones made of birch and yew. Rattan usually comes with a finish of either a water-based polyurethane or raw linseed oil. One can also obtain rattan canes without a finish that do well if they are kept moist or soaked in salt water, but the finishing helps these last much longer. Birch ones are very flexible and are more often classified as switches than as canes, and sting very well.
Some good synthetic materials include aluminum arrow shafts sold at many sporting goods stores (avoid carbon arrow shafts; they fracture), wooden dowels, and Lucite rods. There are many others with all kinds of coverings, coatings, and materials as varied as the minds of enterprising sadists have come up with over the years.
Thicker canes often called rods give a thud-like sensation rather than a sting. They can bruise a person very easily—but that is NOT the point of using a heavier cane. The thud is the experience you want to impart, so a light enough touch is needed to avoid bruising. Rods are intended to be a part of the caning experience, not the whole thing. One should have an arsenal of different kinds of canes and understand their uses and effects individually, using different ones to build upon one another.
Even after you have received training from an experienced teacher, practice a lot on pillows and other materials before taking the cane to a human subject. Canes work with very little effort. If you are swinging hard, you are doing it wrong. Many experienced people cane with a backhand stroke, using only the wrist, just to give you an idea as to how lightly caning is done. A very light grip allows the cane to naturally bounce off of the subject. Keep the cane off of the tips of your index fingers. Let it rest instead off of the pads between your fingers, for instance. This takes advantage of the cane’s natural reverberation.
Those are just a couple of the things people usually get wrong when learning to use a cane, and they emphasize why you need a competent personal guide to learn to responsibly use a cane on anyone yourself.
Using a Cane As A Sensual Tool
The cane can also be used as a sensual tool all over the body, not just for raising endorphin levels. By combining gliding strokes and light brushing of either the tip or shaft, they can be used in a very sensual manner. If you have a cane and want to use it before you have received some good training, use it this way, with very light strokes and brushing movements for now. Eventually you will find someone to help you learn to use it properly for other purposes. Until then, use your floggers, slappers, and paddles for topping purposes.
Meanwhile, there is nothing wrong with starting a collection of canes in anticipation of that training. A bunch of canes hanging in a closet (the best storage method) may give you the impetus to find that right teacher. Just wait until that teacher comes along before using a cane on anyone.