This came out of a discussion on twitter about caning, and some of the different ways it can be done. I searched on it, but found very little actual information. The best I could find was an article on ”Rhythmic Caning” on Wiki After Dark. I first heard of it when one of the local BDSM groups brought in a particularly geeky speaker to discuss it (I don’t remember which group or who the speaker was, exactly).
I thought it was interesting, although they (mistakenly, IMHO) picked a heavy bottom from the group to be demonstrated upon, and that seemed to color the feelings of the group. It probably didn’t help that he wasn’t a very entertaining speaker (his geekiness showed up here in flat jokes and mild quirkiness; in this way he reminded me of one of my long time friends from high school). However, as part of the demonstration we all got these yard long cooking skewers. The things were maybe an eighth on an inch in diameter and had a point on one end.
We also got what I thought was a competent introduction to the topic. Certainly enough for me to try it out on SexyWife, and later on Girl. It has become a staple of our play, and I just wanted to write up a brief description of it, and maybe SexyWife or Girl will come by and add their thoughts from the receiving end.
Caning is largely considered an extreme activity amongst BDSM enthusiasts. I’ve been on both ends of the cane, and find it interesting (the receiving end was problematic as I was uncomfortable in the position I was in). There are lots of kinds of canes, with different flexibility, material, and effects, just as there are different kinds of floggers or other toys. The are generally very accurate, and good for hitting specific locations both very focused or across the whole body. You can pretty easily draw a welt with one and bruise with it. Because of all of this, canes have a lot of psychological impact on a bottom who sees you bring one out.
However, there’s no particular reason to hit hard with them. You have another choice and that’s hit often. Tattoo caning is designed for this, in the musical meaning of tattoo, to beat or tap rhythmically. I think, but am not sure, that FetLife uses the fetish “drumming” to refer to this activity, but as they don’t define the fetishes it’s hard to be sure. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, as that’s largely what it is.
For my first attempt at tattoo caning, I only had the two yard long skewers. I kept the pointed ends in my hands, using the other ends as my beaters. Music helps, something with a fast beat is nice. I’ve got some techno that works well, but that’s hardly required. The goal is to hit lightly and fast, as though you were doing a snare roll on drums, or playing a fast beat. You don’t have time (nor is it necessary) to do a full swing, or to put full strength in it. This results in an almost massage-like feeling for the submissive.
The advantage to the light taps is that you can use the canes reasonably safely across more of the body. Traditional caning needs to stay away from the belly, hands and feet because the blows are so hard you could do actual internal harm or break bones. With tattoo caning you can do all those locations. With skill you can vary the strength of the strikes to strike lighter in less safe areas, and harder in more safe areas. In this way tattoo caning is more about sensation play, than about pain, although it flirts with pain, and can be used as a warmup to harder play.
In fact, I think this works very well: you pull out the canes which gives a sense of urgency to the bottom. Then you go with tattoo caning which is very relaxing for her, then you slowly ramp up the hits until you’re more in traditional cane territory and they remember that you have canes in your hand.
There’s no need for that, of course, you can stay at the massage level, or wherever you both are comfortable. That’s half the fun of BDSM, anyway.
Nothing in life or sex is fully safe, and once you start hitting people with things that safety drops off somewhat. (We are prefer to work within the guidelines of RACK). In my experience, this is relatively safe S/M activity, and my partners and myself have enjoyed it. It dials up and down in intensity pretty easily as well, so there’s room for lots of players. Although, I think people with a lot of caning experience / heavy bottoms will see this as a minor warm-up to the real event, people who prefer a lighter activity could just do this and get a lot of enjoyment out of it.