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Tickle Torture

Updated: AUGUST 2, 2022
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff
on August 1, 2022

Tickle torture is a form of domination, humiliation and/or punishment that dominants use to exert power over submissives in BDSM scenes. Tickle torture may be used to reinforce dominant and submissive roles or punish a submissive. Aside from BDSM, tickling can also be a type of fetish play, and may appeal to people who fetishize armpits or feet. Some people who enjoy tickle torture say they are even able to orgasm just from being tickled.

Any part of the body may be tickled during tickle torture, including the underarms, soles of feet, backside, or inner thighs. It has been noted that the most ticklish parts of the body also tend to be the most vulnerable, which suggests that tickling (and the tickling of children) may have some evolutionary basis.

Tickling may be used alone or in conjunction with other BDSM techniques, like whipping or spanking. Using tickle torture with impact play can be very effective, as laughter releases endorphins, which raise an individual’s pain thresholds. It may also be used as a prequel to other sexual activities like watersports.

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While we often associate tickling with a pleasurable feeling, research suggests it doesn't produce one so much as the involuntary appearance of one. There is some evidence that tickling has historically been used as a method of torture during some periods throughout history.

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More About Tickle Torture

Tickling is a popular fetish. There are many websites and pornography channels dedicated to tickling and tickle torture. People who enjoy tickling and tickle torture tend to like the great release it brings, and the way that the person being tickled loses all control. Tickling also provides continuous stimulation, as opposed to other types of impact play like using whips or floggers.

Tickle torture can be a good technique for people new to BDSM to incorporate into their play, as it is easy to learn and does not require any special tools. It is also safer than many other forms of humiliation and punishment. Even so, tickle torture if often described as intense - and often unexpectedly so - so it's important to always proceed slowly and to ensure that the person being tickled continues to consent to the activity.

Note that tickling can range from light tickling, such as the gentle kind you might deliver with a feather, to heavy tickling, which usually leaves the tickled person flailing and unable to control themselves. In other words, erotic tickling can be a form of sensation play, and is not always used as torture.

However, tickle torture is only effective if the submissive is ticklish. Others do not enjoy tickle torture or may even find it triggers negative childhood memories. As with all BDSM activities, both parties should agree to tickle torture before they make it part of their play activities.

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While tickling is physically painless, the dominant should still make sure to follow some basic safety rules. People being tickled often cannot speak, so nonverbal safe signals should be implemented. Dominants should also monitor their submissives for signs of respiratory distress, as tickling can cause hiccups and coughing. Extra care is also needed when tickle torture is used with bondage, as the submissive can lose all control of their body, causing abrasions and muscle strains.

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