A good question. But hard to give an answer! What does an apple taste like? You know if you have had one, but how do you describe it to someone who has not?
The cane has a real hidden punch. Seeing one for the first time, it's hard to believe the pain it is able to cause. The Victorians recognised its abilities though. Until they discovered the pain the cane was able to inflict, the birch was the main method of physical chastisement for males. A bundle of twigs, it only worked when applied to the bare backside. Across a pair of 'breeches', they had no effect at all. Embarrassed at having to ask males to bare their backsides for their correction, the search was on for something capable of causing the same excruciating experience but without the need for nudity. As the Empire spread across the globe, the cane (not a natural growing plant in England!) was seen to be in use and was promptly imported back home. How pleased the young men of England must have been at the arrival of these new implements!
So, what does it feel like. Well, the first point is that the cane's pain really sets in after the second stroke. Yes, the first stroke is no picnic, but it's when that second stroke lands that you really feel it. If you are unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a caning from someone who knows what they are doing, they will ensure that the strokes all land in as narrow an area as possible. Six strokes in a band about an inch across will certainly leave an impression.
But what does it actually feel like? If you've ever been stung by a wasp or hornet, you'll have an idea. Just imagine that sensation across a thin band of your backside and you are close to being able to know the feeling. After a while, the pain turns into a kind of ache. If you run, you feel your backside. Sitting is uncomfortable if not impossible.