We could spend all day wondering what singular moment in our lives sparked our fantasies of rods and canes. Maybe it was the time we spent in Catholic school taught by nuns, or the way we played with the popular, mean girls as children. Whatever brought you to this moment, your interest in caning has weaseled its way out of the bag, and you’re ready to unleash those fantasies on the world.
Impact play has been part of the more seasoned bedrooms for at least 2,500 years, when Etruscans loved the kink so much they celebrated it with art. For the past few millennia, our global love for impact play has only grown, and many people have specifically found their niche with canes and rods.
What makes caning different from other forms of impact play?
While many folks in the world of impact play love all kinds of rough touch, most kinksters have a preference for the kind of pain they receive – and it all boils down to the kind of tool their partners wield.
Generally, kink communities separate impact sensations into two different groups: “sting-y” pain, and “thuddy” pain. While paddles and other wide tools deliver a solid, thud-like sensation, thin implements (think rods, canes, and whips) deliver that sharp and high stinging sensation many folks find so appealing.
But while there is a lot of weight to the fantasy of a leather-clad dom slashing you with their whip, the truth is that whips are a little tricky to get a wrangle on for first-timers. Getting the motion down can take practice, and practice takes time. Easier to wield than a whip but just as effective in delivering that sharp sting, the cane is a fantastic choice that’s sure to please newbies and pros alike.
These bad boys are also very convenient and straightforward little tools to bring into the bedroom. Usually made of wood,
Usually made of wood, you can also find ones made of pleather or plastic depending on your own preference. And although they’re commonly just a single length of wood, you can also get adventurous and explore the sensation of a bundle of rods for a different flavor of pain that’s more dispersed across the body. The best way to find out what works for you and your partners is through practice, so be prepared for a little trial and error.
But be careful! As fun and straightforward as canes are, they’re prone to leaving welts. Check in with your partners before you start to play and find out how they feel about marks left behind. If the idea of potentially causing lasting welts makes you nervous, you might want to get your sea legs with a rod bundle. Because each little cane is thinner, the intensity is lessened while the pleasure remains just as satisfying.
Practice makes perfect, honey
Although caning seems like a straightforward activity – how hard could it be to hit something? – the reality is that there is a steep learning curve to getting into the caning zone.
Practice slowly with your partners in a shame-free environment where you trust each other to learn and grow. Watching videos, reading books, and communicating with your partner are all great ways to improve your caning skills.
Of course, the best way to learn is to seek out the pros. If it’s financially viable, you can (and should) visit a professional dominatrix for a partnered sesh with your caning beau. That one-on-one attention is both titillating and very educational, and you can find local doms in your area with just a simple search on Google, Reddit, or Twitter.
But if the idea of hiring a pro is a little beyond your price point, or perhaps the idea just makes you nervous, you can always visit your local play party or sex club. Think of play parties and sex clubs like a full-on southern buffet of kinks, all piled up for you to sample. At every play party, you’ll find seasoned FetLife masters rubbing shoulders with first-timers – and the well-versed honeys will be happy to show you the ropes.
If you’re curious, ask someone heading up the impact play if you could watch, especially if your partner is the one being caned. While watching, take note of the pace. You’ll be surprised to realize it’s not all-in out the gate. There’s a dance, a build-up. Watch as the caner starts slow, then teases their subject, and slowly builds up to a walloping, sting-happy crescendo.
Folks who run stations at play parties know what they’re doing. Most of them have been in the impact play sphere for years and can be trusted to model prime caning etiquette. If they aren’t too busy, you can even take the time to ask them to show you how it’s done and offer tips on good caning techniques. Every play party is different, but they might even let you wield the cane if your partner is the one bent over, so that you can learn how to take those titillating skills into the bedroom long after the party ends.
Get to know your pain tolerance
Impact play is a rich world of sensations and delights, and now that you’re on the road to discovering where you fit into this vibrant community, you’re ready to explore what that pleasure looks like to you.
You may be eager to dive in and get those welts that linger, but start slow. Explore your pain tolerance and get well acquainted with it so you can learn what your boundaries are, and where you get the most pleasure.
Our culture feeds us the lie that if we’re going to do something, we have to push it to the max. We all say “go big or go home” about basically everything, from whether to have another drink to asking for a raise. When it comes to sex, throw that attitude right out the window. Discover what kind of impact play works for you without judging yourself about how hard or soft you like it. Don’t worry about what other people have to say, and just explore your own sensations, free of any ideas about what your pleasure should look like.
You can love impact play while not having a high pain tolerance. You can also love impact play and ramp those dials up to ten. They’re both legit ways to get it on. Whatever tickles your fancy, remember that you’re the author and agent of your own sexuality. Even the most submissive person is ultimately steering their ship by choosing to submit. So be proud of how you like it – no matter what that means.
As you explore, start with less painful spanks than you’d think you’d need, and ram it up slowly. If you’re the one doing the spanking, check in with your partner as you go harder and harder – and listen for their green, yellow, and red cues. The slowness of discovery will make the pleasure all the more sweet.
Remember: consent is everything
All good sex practices start with a heavy dollop of communication. Beyond orgasms, pleasure, or satisfaction, communication is the single most crucial aspect of every single person’s sex life. Even in vanilla relationships that begin and end with missionary, communication is an essential way to discuss our boundaries in order to make sex satisfying and fulfilling for everyone involved.
And when you add kinks that bite into your bedroom practice, communication only gets that much more crucial. If you’re partnered, start by opening the door to talks about your caning fantasy by bringing the idea up in a way that gives them time to prepare for the big event. Don’t broach the topic while you’re straddling them in bed. Instead, bring up fantasies while you’re both lying there having a tender moment, or maybe talk it out over a cocktail if you’re feeling frisky. That space to process the fantasy without having to give an answer immediately helps you and your partner make sure you’re both truly open to inviting this new kink into the bedroom, keeping pressure off your partner to say yes just because you’re both already hot and heavy.
And even if you’ve been vanilla up until this moment in time, consent should still be a cornerstone of your sex life. The only time sex is consensual is when all involved parties have given both an explicit and an enthusiastic “yes.” The same sentiment goes for incorporating kinks. If you pressure, guilt trip, or heckle your partner into agreeing to caning, then they haven’t actually agreed.
With each and every new height of your impact play together, check in and make sure they’re just as into it as you are. It doesn’t have to be awkward; in fact, talking in the bedroom is sexy – and there is truly nothing hotter than a partner who’s all about maximizing their lover’s desire.
To keep the sexy conversation rolling during impact play without stopping and checking in each time you bring the cane down, establish a safe word before you dive in for some fun. If you’ve never had a safe word before, it might seem awkward, but once you both have words you’re comfortable using, you’ll find yourself less inhibited in the way you play.
Although any safe word will work, the classic stoplight method might just serve you and your partners best. Instead of one safe word to mean “full stop,” utilizing the stoplight approach lets you say a lot without disrupting your play time’s flow:
- Green: If your partner says “green,” they’re letting you know they’re into it and can take even more heat.
- Yellow: This middle ground phrase is a great way for your partner to let you know that they’re close to their threshold, but don’t want you to stop just yet. When you hear this word, you can ease up a tad, and even ask how they’re feeling, but don’t need to stop the whole scene and descend into caretaker mode.
- Red: The second this word is spoken in the bedroom, the whole scene stops. Unlike yellow, it doesn’t mean to go down to a gentler level; the scene pauses and you check in with your partner, giving them whatever it is they need. It might be ice, it might be a hug, it might just be a moment of respite.
Having three levels to communicate is a powerful way to help the bottom guide the partner who’s doling out the caning. By letting each other know what works and what doesn’t, you’re both ensuring this kind of play stays in your bedroom for the long haul.
With safe words and consent in hand, you’re nearly ready to incorporate caning in the sack – but there’s one more vital thing to keep in mind. Caning doesn’t mean you’re free to thwack away on all parts of your partner’s body.
In the world of kink there are some places you should never hit. Since most caning happens on the booty, thighs, and upper back, it’s important to know that it’s never alright to hit the lower or mid back. The center of your back houses vital organs that can’t take that level of pain, like your kidneys. Misplaced canings can cause serious bodily harm.
If you’re unsure about the place you’re hitting, be safe. Stick to the booty and thighs, and do some research on FetLife or other kink sites for advice on other ways to play safely.
What’re you waiting for?
Let your hair down, honey. There’s no shame in the caning game. If you’ve ever been curious, today’s the day you set those fantasies loose. Take your time, start that sexy conversation with your partner(s), and open yourself up to all the possibilities a little extra communication has to offer.
If you’re seasoned in the world of canes and rods, let us know your number one tip for newbies just now getting their sea legs!
A PDX-based creator, Nikita applies a queer, sex-positive lens to everything she touches, from articles on foot fetishes to new song lyrics. When not delving into the juicy world of sex writing, she can be found working on her novel, making music, busying herself in community theater, or otherwise being a total ham.