Over the last 6 months I have been travelling deeper into what is known in BDSM as “Impact Play.”
IMPACT: Someone hitting you. PLAY: For fun.
I mean, it has to be fun or it wouldn’t be called PLAY, right?
Yet when I say DEEPER into impact play, what I mean is being hit harder, with more severe implements, for longer and on parts of my body where it will hurt more. I have been hit on the soles of my feet with a strap, on my nipples with a riding crop, on my back with a heavy, leather flogger. I have been slapped in the face and I have been hit with a bullwhip. And I have been caned; boy have I been caned! I have been caned cold at the start of a session; I have been given 24 full on strokes by a man and I have been given a relentless thrashing that seemed to have no end after a session in which I had already been caned twice. How could all this possibly be construed as ‘play?’
To try to explain (to myself as much as to anyone else) why I keep coming back for more; why this is indeed ‘play’ for me, I am going to break an impact session, specifically a hard caning, into its constituent parts and describe my experience of each part. This is a very personal account and I am sure other’s experience will be different.
ONE: ANTICIPATION. If the caning is cold, i.e. without any warmup, this materialises as outright fear, not just of the pain but of my ability to control my reactions to it. Part of the fear is “will I cope?” or “will I make a fool of myself?”. Fear sounds like something unpleasant but the body has ancient ways of dealing with it that set up chemical and physical changes, generating excitement and a heightened sense of awareness. If the caning is late in the session, then rather than this outright fear, there is a change of atmosphere: the support act has ended, now it’s time for the main event. I breathe deeply, trying to centre myself, collect my resources and be ready.
TWO: SHOCK. It doesn’t matter whether the last time was 3 days or 3 months previously, my first experience of a caning is always of shock. I am NEVER ready for it. Each time the raw brutality of the impact takes my breath away. At each stroke I promise myself I will stop after the next one. My thoughts are all: “Why do I do this when I hate it so much”.
THREE. FIGHT. Now we’re into the meat of it. The pain is building from one stroke to the next so the absolute imperative is to win the fight to stay on top and control my reactions. Breathing, generally out of control at the start, has to be regulated to survive this and reach the rewards that come later. How I want to breathe is a sharp, forced intake with the impact then let it out slowly. However, the pain of each stroke can be so intense that I involuntarily breath rapidly, almost panting, immediately after it lands. This is OK if I have my breathing back under control before the next stroke. If I don’t then, frankly, I am in trouble.
FOUR. RELAX. Really? Relax? Surely not? Not always but this is what it’s all about. The pain remains no less intense but endorphins help me deal with it. My mind is clear of everything, free to focus on the cane and its effects. Each blow is expected, almost welcome. The intense pain it causes is no longer a threat to be afraid of but an experience to be relished. I sink into the leather of the bench. My breathing is under control and after the slow out breath that follows each stroke, I might lift my backside slightly to show I am ready for the next. The extreme sensations make me almost euphoric and I start to become deeply aware of the mistress and the electric connection between us. Most canings will end after this, but for the bold there is a further level to be explored.
FIVE. THE WAVE. At the end of my first serious caning from Mistress Elita (me having survived the formal count of 18 strokes) she decided that A) I could take some more and/or B) she wanted to give me some more. She started light and fast and moved on to heavy and fast, hitting me repeatedly with real force, generating an immense wave of pain to be ridden or engulfed by. It is hard to describe just how intense this ‘caning after the caning’ can be but it leaves me gasping, sweating, pulling against the restraints and feeling as though I have truly been tested. It’s visceral, animalistic somehow, to endure this much pain voluntarily and yet it’s also cathartic* and renewing.
SIX. SILENCE. Nikki Flynn, a CP model and actress, made a series of extreme caning movies with Czech company Lucas Films, an experience she describes in her excellent book “Dances with Werewolves”. One of the things she says is that she doesn’t like “being caned” but she likes “having been caned”. I understand what she means. As the immediate impact of the last stroke fades away there is a silence and an inner calm like nothing else I have experienced. I drift, letting the pain wash over me, completely relaxed. I want the mistress near, perhaps touching me gently so I know she is there. I want to know she is pleased with me. I want her to bring me down slowly, undo the restraints and chat to me calmly while I recover.
As I said at the start, these are very personal experiences and those of others might be completely different. For me, though, a caning that includes each of these experiences is not so much ‘play’ as therapy, a mind clearing exercise that sends me back out into the world feeling confident, motivated and relaxed for days afterwards.
If the idea of pain as pleasure is totally alien to you, I hope this article might help you understand why people ‘like me’ do what we do!
MORE ON THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING CANED
This post is a description of a prolonged caning where I truly went through all these stages
This post describes my reactions the first time I saw my blood on a Mistress’s cane
This post about the challenge and reward of the cane is the first I ever had published – as a guest post on another blog.
*catharsis: dictionary definitions vary but I like this one: the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music