Tickling is a harmless and playful form of touch that most people explore innocently, even as infants and children. The act of tickling can be amusing and fun, paving the way for laughter and immediate intimacy with people you trust. However, tickles can also produce pleasure. In some cases, tickling is often a gateway to flirtation and more direct forms of sexual touch. Tickling can be approached as a sexual interest to derive pleasure, and, in some cases, it can also be a sexual fetish.
This article explores why tickling can be pleasurable, the difference between tickling as a sexual interest or fetish, and how to tickle your partner.
Why do tickles give you pleasure?
Before we explore why tickles give you pleasure, it’s important to establish that all tickles don’t necessarily produce pleasure or even laughter. Different people respond to tickles differently. Some hate tickles — it can annoy or even hurt them. Some are unresponsive to tickles. And some break out in laughter when they’re tickled. Furthermore, there are several levels even within these three categories.
Amongst those who get tickled, there are numerous differences. Some people immediately start laughing while others build-up to the laughter. Some people are only ticklish in some parts of the body while others are all over the body. Some only respond to tickles in certain situations with certain people and in certain body parts. And some break out in laughter at the very thought of being tickled.
Amongst those who respond to tickles and laugh, tickles can also produce immense sexual pleasure.
This shows that the laughter drawn from tickles is extremely subjective and extends beyond simple physiological realms.
Amongst those who respond to tickles and laugh, tickles can also produce immense sexual pleasure. That’s because people are often incapable of fighting their reactions when they’re tickled. They might try to stay still and resist laughter for a while, but they’ll eventually crack a smile and start laughing. As such, tickling helps people break down their walls and lose their inhibitions, which, when combined with sexual touch, can be incredibly pleasurable.
What’s the difference between tickling as a sexual interest and tickling fetishism?
Tickling makes you laugh, which, in turn, produces pleasure. As such, most people who respond favorably to tickles can explore it as sexual interest. However, for some people, tickling goes beyond a simple interest — knismolagnia is a sexual fetish wherein an individual derives sexual arousal from tickling someone else or being tickled by someone else. The difference between sexual interest and a sexual fetish is often extremely fine.
If you enjoy tickling your partner or being tickled by them before, during, or after sex, but tickling isn’t the primary/ sole focus of the experience, then you explore it as simple interest. However, if the idea of tickling takes precedence, becomes a necessity, or is intrinsically tied to your sexual fulfillment, you may have a tickling fetish. However, the boundaries between the two are often hard to identify, and they blur into each other.
All sexual desires and fetishes are normal and healthy, as long as they’re pursued in a safe and consensual manner.
Whether you have a tickling fetish or not shouldn’t be your primary concern. It’s far more important to openly communicate your desires and interests with your partner(s) without shame. All sexual desires and fetishes are normal and healthy, as long as they’re pursued in a safe and consensual manner. As such, if you want to explore tickling during sex, talk about it with your partner and explore it without guilt or shame.
How to engage in sexual tickling with your partner?
You can engage in sexual tickling with your partner in numerous ways. You can explore tickling as a playful form of flirtation even when you’re clothed or don’t intend to have sex. This can help build intimacy. Or you can explore tickling as foreplay or make it an intrinsic part of your sexual experience. All of them are valid options as long as you have your partner’s enthusiastic consent and participation.
Furthermore, you can also tickle as a form of sensation play, i.e., triggering your partner’s erogenous zones, such as the thighs, nipples, neck, earlobes, etc., using the fingers, tongue, lips, or feathery tickle toys. You can also mix the sensations — try blowing on your partner’s skin and then running a finger down the area. Explore all your options to find the most exciting tickle options for yourselves.
The following are some tips for erotic tickling:
- Blow gently into your partner’s ears.
- Lick the outer and inner edges of your partner’s ears.
- Stick your tongue into your partner’s ears.
- Run your fingers around your partner’s neck and hairline.
- Gently run your fingers down your partner’s shoulders, neck, and spine, leaving a trail of goosebumps.
- Lick and tickle the underarms or the delicate skin behind the knees.
- Pinch, lick, and tickle the nipples.
- Blow on the belly or tickle around the navel.
- Drag the ends of your hair (if you have long hair) across your partner’s body.
- If you don’t have long hair, tickle your partner with a feather duster, hairbrush, q-tip, or other such objects.
- Use an electric toothbrush for tickling — but only if you don’t intend to use it for brushing later.
- Clitoral suction vibrators are excellent for tickling. They produce gentle sonic pulses meant to stimulate the clitoris. However, they can also be repurposed to tickle the body’s erogenous zones.
- Run an ice cube over your partner’s body to boost the tickling sensations.
With these tips, you and your partner can explore all that tickling has to offer — a fun, funny, and sexy way to explore your sexuality!