“The fact that human beings only are susceptible to tickling is due (1) to the fineness of their skin and (2) to their being the only creatures that laugh.” Scientific research has of course proven Aristotle to be incorrect. Primates tickle each other, the trout fish goes into a trance-like state when its belly is tickled and scientists have recorded laughter-like ultrasonic chirping in tickled rats. But the fundamental point stands that tickling is largely a human occupation. And the psychology and physiology behind it goes much deeper than you may think? Pleasure. Pain. Throughout the history of humankind, the practice of tickling has served several purposes. So we decided to check them out.
Laughter and Giggles, Wriggling and Writhing
For many, the first memories of being tickled stem from early childhood. The ‘mock attacks’ of our parents as they threaten us with their roving fingertips alone were often enough to generate fits of laughter and giggles. Wriggling and writhing commonplace as the soles of our feet came under attack by a skilled, deft finger or two. Tickling is of course a form of human bonding. Whether it be between a mother and child, siblings or young friends teasing each other, or even foreplay between adults, the act of tickling is a physical interaction that brings us closer together. There have been numerous theories written throughout history as to why we react the way we do when being tickled. Some of us are extremely ticklish, some are not ticklish at all. There are those of us who love to be tickled and others who loathe it. We cannot tickle ourselves. It just doesn’t work. And there are stories of people who can climax through tickling alone, with no other physical stimulation. Don’t forget the ticklers, those who glean their pleasure from dishing out the tickling torture and watching how their victims react. Check out this month’s Unbound Interview with well-known fetish tickler FTKL to discover why a tickler loves to tickle.
The Dark Side Of The Tickle
On the face of it, the act of tickling is a fun and harmless pass time. But it does have it’s darker side. When being tickled, there can be a point when it all becomes too much. What begins as wriggles and giggles can quickly become torturous. A fact not lost upon the Romans. Dutch physiologist Joost Meerloo described the tickle torture of an individual by Romans like this, on the scaffold “the soles of a victim’s feet were covered with a salt solution so that a goat, attracted by the salt, would lick it off with his rough tongue and continually tickle the skin. By so doing, the salty skin was gradually rasped away. Then, the wounded skin would again be covered with the biting salt solution—ad infinitum, till the victim died from the torture’. Death by tickling, indirectly at least.
The Han dynasty of China (202 BC-9 AD, 25 AD-220 AD) was also partial to a little tickling torture now and again. They used it as a form of punishment saved solely for nobility, because it left no marks and the victim would recover relatively quickly. Tickling torture was also a common punishment in Nazi concentration camps during WW2. An incident as described in Heinz Heger’s book The Men With The Pink Triangle “The first game that the SS sergeant and his men played was to tickle their victim with goose feathers, on the soles of his feet, between his legs, in the armpits, and on other parts of his naked body. At first the prisoner forced himself to keep silent, while his eyes twitched in fear and torment from one SS man to the other. Then he could not restrain himself and finally he broke out in a high-pitched laughter that very soon turned into a cry of pain.”
In another example of tickle torture in Europe, an 1887 article entitled “England in Old Times” said this, “Gone, too, are the parish stocks, in which offenders against public morality formerly sat imprisoned, with their legs held fast beneath a heavy wooden yoke, while sundry small but fiendish boys improved the occasion by deliberately pulling off their shoes and tickling the soles of their defenseless feet”.
Tickling fetish shares many similarities with tickling torture, because essentially it’s exactly the same thing – just consensual. The ticklee (for want of a better term) will usually be constrained, baring the areas of the body that are most ticklish. These are usually the soles of the feet, the armpits and the sides of the ribcage. With ankles restrained, and wrists held above the head, also restrained, the tickler is able to tickle whichever area he or she wishes with their implement of choice. This could be a feather, a toothbrush or even a tongue! However, the most common of all tickling implements has always been and continues to be the human fingers, the most powerful tickling tool of all!
If tickling torture is something you wish to explore more, and why not, it’s super fun, then the usual mantra applies – keep it safe, sane and consensual! And don’t forget, you can find all the tickle clips you can handle at Clips4Sale.com. Just call it research!