I’m extremely ticklish and think I have a tickling fetish. Any advice for the future or even now?
A tickling fetish is loosely defined as the love of tickling games: “Any interpersonal or social activities involving the tickling of one person by another. Many people find tickling to be a pleasurable experience in its own right, but also an erotic experience.” These games can be included in foreplay or as an activity enjoyed unto itself. While pathologizing is something that tends to be avoided for say, sexual stigma reasons, tickling fetishes can be categorized into two sub-genres: Knismolagnia is arousal from tickling and Acarophilia, (not to be confused with knismolagnia), refers to arousal from scratching. In their extreme form, both can be considered a sexual obsession. On less obsessive end of the scale, these can be considered something atypical on the heteronormative scale of what is “arousing,” landing it in the paraphilia category, aka sexual arousal around atypical sexual interests. Paraphilia can send people scattering at cocktail parties even though sexologist John Money spent much time trying to coin paraphilia as a nonpejorative designation for sexual interests that fell off the scale of missionary and wife and hubs. But it definitely remains a bit of a red herring, only because of its chronic use in the ever controversial Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) list of 549 possible sexual deviations from said “norm,” which has included homosexuality, transvestitism, pedophilia, and foot fetishes almost all on the same classifying lines. You can see how this might be a touch problematic.
You still there, or did you fall asleep?
I certainly don’t mean to bore you to death, my love, especially not with the complicated and overly medical-sounding terminology of what can just be simply known as “fetish,” only to describe a little bit of why fetish can get a bad rap or why fetish can be applied to just about every little thing. The definition for fetish is simply “the sexual arousal a person receives from a physical object, or from a specific situation.” That leaves a lot of grey area. Certainly 50 Shades of borderline abusing your girlfriend and describing BDSM as a game akin to Monopoly has taken a wee bit of the sting out of kink and fetish, with moms all across America sporting restraints and blindfolds as a fetishistic act. To be frank, I’m all for fetish being more accepted by mainstream America, but I’m also more inclined to say that if we are going to get on the fetish train, America, let’s get on a train that’s got steam.
So – you are ticklish and want to know: do you have a tickling fetish? The short answer is, I don’t know. The long answer? How do you define fetish and do you feel it’s applicable in your situation? Is fetish a word that just sounds good, or is it just close to what you think it is you think you have or want? These are all questions you should be asking yourself, not to interrogate yourself out of what might potentially be a fetish, but as a way to familiarize yourself with exploring what fetish means and whether or not you like being tickled as a sexual act. Just because you are ticklish doesn’t mean that you are turned on by being tickled or tickling, though that also may be the case. You have to do the ground work of figuring out your specific thing that makes you sexually tick.
What I would recommend is demystifying fetish with a little light reading. Reading is a magical activity that is able to transport you into almost any sort of mind frame, as well as giving you a little education. Some great places to start?
Reading will take you in the general direction of figuring out everything you need to know about fetish, kink, and how it is applicable to your life. You might just walk away knowing you are ticklish or you might walk away looking for the fastest way. Only you hold the answer to this question and it’s going to take a little exploration to figure out whether or not it is right for you.