I fucking hate tickling.
Why the actual fuck is tickling portrayed as a sexy thing? I’ve seen so many films and books in which the gleefully happy couple engage in a spot of playful tickling that then leads to a sexy snog, or a fuck, and I find it unfathomable. Moreover, I’ve had guys try to initiate a good shag with me by pinning me down and gleefully prodding at my reflexive bits.
It ticks some of the hot boxes, sure – you’re getting close together, there’s physical contact. But that is absolutely and completely where it ends for me.
Why tickling is beyond horrible
a) aimed primarily at making someone laugh, which as far as I’m concerned has absolutely no place in the bedroom. If I’m fucking you and anything about that process induces laughter I’m liable to call the whole thing off and storm to the bathroom for an angry, solitary, straight-faced wank.
b) something that parents do to their children. Unless you want me to call you ‘Daddy’ then tickling will never be a prelude to me taking my knickers off.
c) painful. Yes, I know I’m laughing, but it’s a reflex thing. Tickling makes someone laugh, but for many people it is actually a phenomenally uncomfortable, horrible feeling. My mouth might be curved into a smile, my laughter ringing in your ears, but my eyes will be burning with the closest I ever come to genuine hatred.
d) really really fucking annoying. Power and control can be sexy, when it’s something that you’re voluntarily giving up to a person. But losing control simply because someone slightly stronger than you is poking you in places that you are physiologically incapable of not reacting to is about as sexy as a smear test. You’re not controlling me through the force of your will or because I’m so hot for you that I’ll submit to your command, you’re just making my body do things it has to do. You shouldn’t be proud of your achievement any more than you should be proud that my irises contract when you turn a bright light on.
Seriously, fucking stop it
Why do I feel the need to have this rant? Because ticklers don’t seem to know any of this. Ticklers find it hilarious to give me playful pokes in the ribs to watch me squirm or to punctuate a point they’re making. Ticklers will hold me down and giggle as I try to wriggle free. They’ll tickle me and think it’s hot that we’re writhing together, even though my writhing is involuntary. And they will interpret my reflexive laughter as enjoyment.
I cannot say:
“Haha, no, seriously. Haha, seriously this is so horrible. Haha oh please stop I hate it so much.”
Because it doesn’t sound serious then, does it? It’s hard to say a meaningful no through involuntary laughter, and it’s especially hard to explain that you hate it if someone’s misguided enough to believe they’re doing something playful and sexy.
Haha, no honestly stop it now
I know that some people like it. Some people enjoy the playfulness and the physicality. I don’t expect films and books to stop using tickling as foreplay any time soon, but what I would like is to see is at least one scene where person A initiates a quick tickle, and person B refrains from giggling, pushes A firmly away, and then proceeds to throw a righteous fucking shitfit.
It’d give a bit of balance. It’d show people that there’s diversity around tickling just as there’s diversity around who likes buttsex and whether or not you spit or swallow. It’ll show us that no matter how harmless, any specific type of physical contact will never have universal appeal. It’ll be beneficial not just to people like me who hate tickling, but to people who don’t like cuddling, who don’t like jizz on their face, who prefer not to be stroked or touched in other ways we usually assume are standard.
I’d like for it to always be OK to turn this sort of thing down – to articulate your preferences and have your partner actually listen. With something like buttsex they usually would. But for tickling? Not always. I’ve often told people I don’t like tickling only to be greeted with ‘haha, you love it though, don’t you, come here…’ followed by a repeat of exactly the irritating, painful twattery I’d just expressed a dislike for.
OK, it’s not the world’s greatest problem, but it annoys me. Because every time I get tickled the pain of the tickle and humiliation of laughing through the misery is compounded by the knowledge that when I say to the tickler afterwards “please never do that again” they’ll see the residual reflex-laugh flicker across my face and find it difficult to take me seriously.
So listen very carefully, observe my straight face and angry eyes and straightforward, serious tone:
If you ever ever tickle me, I will punch you in the mouth.
It’s a reflex thing.