Dear Richard: Tickle Me Homo

By: Dear Dick

Dear Richard,

I am madly in love with a great guy, and we have been together for over a year now. Problem? He has a wicked foot and tickling fetish. This wouldn't be too bad, except that I am super ticklish, especially on the bare feet, and that's his favorite target. I can stand it for a bit, but in no time I'm laughing wildly, and begging him to stop.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what turns him on, and he'll end up tickling me none stop for over an hour. I have to admit that being helplessly tickle-tortured does turn me on, especially as he incorporates genital tickling in his repertoire. However, it is pure torture, and I don't know what to do.

Having normal sex does not work for him, as he's only turned on when I'm laughing hysterically and begging him to stop. What should I do?

Tickled 2 Death


Dear Tickled,

Tickling has a rich and varied place in social interactions. Parents use it from infancy on their children as a boding and trust exercise. Siblings use it as part of their horseplay, often to more extreme and embarrassing conclusions.

Charles Darwin theorized on the link between tickling and social relations, arguing that tickling provokes laughter through the anticipation of pleasure. Then there is the darker side of tickling.

Heinz Heger describes this incident in his book The Men With The Pink Triangle about being a gay man in a Nazi concentration camp and witnessing the SS guards tickling another young gay man: "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, while the tears ran down his face, and his body twisted against his chains. After this tickling torture, they let the lad hang there for a little, while a flood of tears ran down his cheeks and he cried and sobbed uncontrollably."


How dreadful.

The bottom line here is that tickling can be fun if there are consensual guidelines set down between the tickler and the ticklee. Granted, one of the main aspects of ticking is the element of surprise. But it sounds as is this has veered into control and submission dynamics. You have't mentioned in your question whether you have told him what your desires here are. That, combined with the fact that on some level you are feeling pleasure here is probably fostering the continuation of your tickle-torture.

What special freaky little thing do you like? (Dick would help you out with a list of his own funny little specialties, but we would be here all day – and this is about you.) What ever you tastes lean toward, are you incorporating that in your sex life? And how available is your partner for some play time that feeds your fantasies?

Something else to consider. Perhaps your partner has some anxiety about good old fashioned vanilla sex. Sucking, screwing, kissing--all that good stuff. Dick had a boyfriend like that once. His self-consciousness alway made him tell jokes and crack-wise during the intimate moment. He could never lose himself to the relaxed intimacy and sensuality of sex. His jokes were a way of controlling the situation.

Certainly, tickling is a way to keep the intimacy under control. When your naked writing lover is laughing till tears steam down his face begging for the tickle-top to release him form the hysterical torture, there is very little room for subtler feelings. Getting to know more about his feelings and comfort with sex and intimacy might be helpful. In fact, just asking about these subjects and watching his reaction might tell you a lot. You might find you have someone with a fair amount of fear around sex and closeness.

So: Set your boundaries, state your desires, ask your partner what his real feelings about sex and love are. Tickling is often associated with child's play. Grown up relationships take give and take. This may be the time to move your relationship to the next level. You will never know till you get in there and see what's up.

Dear Richard is not a medical doctor, a licensed psychiatrist, a counselor, a reverend, or a rabbi. He has not been evaluated by the FDA, the CDC, or the BBC, and his words are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The information is for educational purposes only and it not intended to serve as medical advice. Dear Richard does, however, love hearing from you and answering your questions. Leave a comment or send him an e-mail.