Reader Questions About Whips And Canes And Switching

I got a nice letter from someone (we’ll call her “A” for “Anonymous” since she may not have intended her letter for publication) with several good questions that I was happy to answer. However, being as how there was a fair amount of time spent digging up caning links for her (which reminds me, Spanking Blog needs a search box) it seemed natural enough to publish her letter and turn the answer into a post. Here’s “A”:

Dear Spank Boss,

I was perusing your blog as I’ve done from time to time, for a few years now. I had a few questions for you, that you may or may not have covered before in your blog, and if you have, I apologize.

#1. Where would you recommend purchasing whips & crops from? I’ve purchased a few throughout the years, but they’ve always disappointed me with substandard quality….including one flogger that was merely glued together. And poorly glued at that!

That’s an easy one! The resource I always recommend for buying whips and crops is JT’s Stockroom — I’ve been buying from them for a decade and they are consistent in quality with excellent customer service. It’s sort of the “Honda” of kinky sex toys — not especially luxury or top of the line, but solidly built for a fair price. Their short-handled crop is a particular favorite of mine, and has seen hard use (especially since we lost the long one). I also have had good luck buying canes from them. Which leads us to the next and more interesting question:

#2. What resources would you recommend to novice caners? My husband & I have wanted to explore it, but we feel it’s ground that should be trod upon lightly.

My first irreverent thought is that maybe you should each get one of those “Don’t Panic” buttons from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. More seriously, a little caution is always smart, so sure, go slow, take it easy at first, make sure you’re not getting marked worse than you’re willing to live with.

But at the end of the day, the cane is just a little piece of dried shrubbery! And bottoms are very tough and resilient, so it’s extremely hard to do any lasting harm.

I should say, though — and this is advice I always chortle when giving — the person with the cane needs lots and lots of practice in order to control exactly where the cane lands and thus to make those pretty lattices of parallel marks. You don’t get that kind of control overnight, and you don’t get it practicing on a pillow (because pillows don’t wiggle!). Practice, practice, practice!

An aside for the gentlemen in the audience: If your female practice bottom objects to all the practice and suggests you should try a pillow, scoff. If she persists nonetheless, I have worked out the perfect compromise. Go and find her favorite teddy bear and offer to practice on that. She’ll be naked and upside down over the arm of your couch with her butt in the air faster than you can say “Swish!” (This is actually an exaggeration: with some girls you actually have to get lined up on the bear’s fuzzy little bottom before she really comes to believe you could be so cruel, and starts shucking her panties in sympathetic terror.)

Over the years, I’ve linked to a ton of good caning information. That last link actually presents a decent caning guide, the one where I got the teddy bear idea in fact. And here’s the post from my own first experience of caning Bethie — complete with rare Bethie pictures! But probably the best and most useful simple guide (especially if you disregard tip #1, heh) are Abel’s 12 Tips For Newbie Caners, which I blogged as Caning For Beginners.

What I like linking even better, though, are the blog posts by cane enthusiasts (even more fun when they are new converts and astonished to discover how much they enjoy being caned):

Unfortunately, in hunting down all those links I also was forced (oh, the hardships I endure for my loyal readers!) to wade through a bunch of the better caning porn that I’ve published over the years. I’d hate to waste all that search effort, so here are a few of the gems before I get back to the letter from “A”:

OK, back to the letter from “A”, this time in the realm of philosophy:

#3. And lastly, I know some persons don’t believe in the concept of the switch, but what is your position on this? And if you do believe they exist, would you know where I could find resources for that lifestyle and/or someone to talk to/ask questions about it?

I definitely believe in switches, especially when out of doors! And if you don’t believe me, just ask Bethie!

Oh, wait. That’s probably not what you meant.

If you’re asking about taking turns — sometimes swinging the cane, sometimes getting it — of course I believe in it, in the sense that I know lots of people like to switch. Sometimes it’s an omni-kinky sort of thing, sometimes it’s a way to play fair with your partner. Some people have both dominant and submissive fantasies, some people enjoy being sadistic and also enjoy pain sensations. Basically, if you can imagine it, somebody out there is doing it and loving every second.

You don’t see much of this on Spanking Blog because I, myself, am a big baby about pain when it’s my tender skin on the line. I do not like it, Sam I am. I have no interest in switching. The cane is for Bethie’s bottom in my house, and that’s that.

From the tone of the question, “A”, I fear you may have had an unpleasant encounter (perhaps on one of the kinky forums?) with the people I call “Absolute Categorizers”. There are folks who spend an enormous amount of time and energy trying to figure out exactly what sort of kinky they are, usually so they can carry on stigmatizing some other group of icky kinky people. (There are spankos who claim spanking isn’t BDSM for this reason, so they don’t have to admit to being kinky the way “those freaks” are.) You’ll often find Absolute Categorizers who are submissive women arguing about whether one of their number is a “True Slave” or a “Lifestyle Submissive” or a [fill in half a dozen other labels here]. These conversations can get quite vicious and competitive: “You’re not a True Slave because you blogged about refusing to give him a blowjob that one time, and you haven’t got a brand or a collar like I do…”

People like this will say “There’s no such thing as a switch” because they have a notion in their head about being a dominant or a submissive. It will usually be an absolute notion, like “you cannot submit to a punishment and still be a True Master” or “if you are Truly Submissive, you could never strike Your Master with a cane” or whatever. These rules are perfectly valid for the people who believe them, but that’s not good enough — they want these rules to be absolute. What about the woman who wakes up her man with a blowjob, wears her collar around the house all day, and then gives him a caning — at his request — when he gets home from work? Why, she’s a threat, because her very existence undermines whatever absolute rules the threatened person has dreamed up to make kinky life easier to handle.

Now, it would be my impression that perfectly-balanced switches (people who derive equal pleasure from dominance and submission, or from caning and being caned) are fairly rare. Most people tilt one way or another. But lots and lots of people enjoy both, in varying ratios, and there’s nothing even faintly unusual about that.

Wow, that’s enough blogging for the whole week! “A”, I hope this helped!

  1. Abel commented on November 30th, 2009:

    Great article! Thanks for the kind comment about my “12 Tips” post – and I *love* the teddy bear suggestion :-)

  2. "A" commented on November 30th, 2009:

    Thank you so much!!!! First off, I was relieved to see I was put in the category of “nice letter”, as I know from time to time, you’ve received letters that annoyed you, although those are generally misinformed, rife with misspelling/grammatical errors/etc. or have an annoying know-it-all tone. Nonetheless, I was relieved.

    I really appreciate all the time/effort you spent in gathering the information. I know what a trial it must have been to see those striped butts again..:P

    As for the switching, I also appreciate the information. (He is interested in switching me, in the first form you mentioned though. lol) I’m very lucky with my husband. If I had to categorize myself, I’d say I’m 90% submissive, with 10% of paybacks a bitch & so am I. I’m not a CBT Domme, I’m not a grovel at my feet you withering slug Domme…I really wouldn’t even classify myself as Domme, but on occasion I like to take charge.

    Fortunately for me, my husband is 90% of the time, thoroughly willing to spank me, tease me, grab the hair at the nape of my neck and ask me what I really thought I was going to get away with..etc. But 10% of the time, some portion of his brain, gets a real kick out of me taking charge. We both love it, we both get off on it, but it’s really hard to find information for that sort of lifestyle!

    The only thing I’d have left to say, (after this, you may regret having 2500 as your comment length :) ) is that if you or anyone reading this, has any advice on how to clearly define which of us is in charge at that time, that would be a big help. Neither one of us has quite figured that out yet, and you can imagine how that would be complicated if we both thought we were in dominant mode.

    Thanks so much!

  3. TP commented on February 27th, 2010:

    In response to the last comment in “A’s” response. I am in a relationship where we both equally “switch.” However, as to who’s in charge, definitely the one being spanked–he/she has control with the safe word. It goes on only as long as he/she wishes or can take it.

  4. The Stockroom “Red” Sexmas Sale - Spanking Blog commented on December 8th, 2010:

    […] and final red impact toy in our stocking-stuffer lineup today is the classic short riding crop, long a favorite of mine, redone in red holiday finery. Maybe it’s just me, but I almost don’t feel like a […]

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