If you enjoy being tickled...you aren't actually ticklish

Anyone who claims they enjoy being tickled, in my opinion is not actually ticklish. 

Ticklishness is a throwback to the stone ages...back when we were not at the top of the food chain.  Back then, it was an evolutionary advantage to reflexively shriek and squirm when something that came sniffing around us as though we were food.  It evolved into a defense instinct that causes us to protect our most vulerable parts from attack. (Neck, torso, feet, etc.)  That's why those are the parts most susceptible to being tickled.  It is a reflex that is tied to our instinctive defenses.  Scientists believe that the sensory receptors responsible for the tickle response come from both our touch and pain sensors.  So being tickled is uncomfortable at best, and painful at worst.  I cannot imagine anyone who is actually ticklish finding it enjoyable...particularly when repeatedly done.  Your sensory receptors would have to be pretty inefficient if you found the experience pleasurable.  (Unless, of course you are into pain and aggravation, that is.) 

Being tickled amounts to a sensory overload that causes my fight or flight response to kick in.  I involuntarily laugh, while getting angrier and more defensive as it continues.   Plus, there is also a psychological aspect to my dislike of being tickled.  In that the person tickling me is forcing me to behave in a way I wouldn't voluntarily choose to.  Placing me in the position of being at their mercy to discontinue the practice.  Who enjoys being reminded they are weak and vulnerable?

If you want me to laugh...say something funny.  Don't tickle me and then act surprised when I react poorly.  I don't enjoy being forcibly made to do anything.  It amounts to domination.  Control is not something I would voluntarily cede under duress.  Why should it be okay for someone to forcibly take it?  I consider it terribly disrespectful when I tell someone I don't like to be tickled and they continue to do so.

So why is it that the ticklers never seem to stop when you ask them to?   If I repeatedly caused them discomfort while making them feel weak and vulnerable, and refused to stop when asked, it would be a problem for them...right? 

It isn't funny.  It isn't a game.  It isn't a way to "bond" with me.  I say it should qualify as a form of harrassment or assault.  If you tickle your children after they ask you to stop...you are abusing them...and teaching them that as long as people are laughing its okay to bully someone into behaving the way you want them to.  STOP TICKLING! 
chkmo chkmo
10 Responses Jun 25, 2010

Tickling makes you laugh, laughter is a good thing, thus tickling is a good thing!!! Transitive property of equality in action baby!!!

Yea uhm... That is incorrect. Take a moment to think about it. It would be the opposite of safe or effective for a human near a predator to begin to shriek and squirm, after all, that sort of behavior actually elicits greater interest and attention from a predator that might otherwise have left you alone. Think about cats toying with mice for instance, when the mouse tries to run away or squeaks out in fear, the cat begins to bat at it again. When the mouse just sits there, the cat watches it but doesn't mess with it. The only thing the ticklish reactions would scare away would be creatures smaller and weaker than humans.

Further, I think you have clarified that being tickled is not the core of what you hate. The core of the problem seems to be that you do not like to lose control on someone else's terms. That is justified, and when I was a kid, I was the same way. Being tickled amounted to nothing more than someone showing me just how much stronger they are than me and how they could control me.

However, in growing up, I have changed my perspective. It can be freeing to give someone else the reins, even when not expecting it. That is why I really enjoy being tickled now. It helps me to stay in tune with myself and accept that I have limitations out of my control.

Also, tickling signals are carried on touch sensors but not nerve sensors, that is why you can still be tickled even when in pain on the same area. A burned foot will still be ticklish (not that anyone should ever be tickling on or near an injury).

I don't wholly agree with the theory put forward by chkmo. Granted, the fact we are ticklish is indeed a defence mechanism, which was needed by the earliest of our civilisation. However, I'm sure that they too laughed when they were tickled.
In the modern world, we still face dangers, hence the reason this evolutionary trait remains part of our DNA.
I'd consider myself rather ticklish, in that I laugh and wriggle, when tickled upon the usual areas (namely stomach, ribs, legs, feet, etc) however, I only enjoy being tickled upon my lower body.
The sensation when someone tickles my feet feels equally as intense as it does when they tickle my ribs, so to suggest that those who enjoy being tickled are not ticklish appears wholly absurd.

You make numerous points here, but I'll focus on one. There are countless people (including me) who are laugh-out-loud ticklish and love it. Keep in mind how varied people are. Sensations are very subjective. Some people like pain, for crying out loud. Does that mean they don't hurt? Of course not. Not to mention sensations aren't always self defining; there are mental aspects, intimacy aspects, etc.

Good post. I love the closeness it brings. Always loved being a "ticklish lil' girl!"

I must have inferior nerves then, because I basically love it. Not the weird love/hate thing most people get with it, I do reflexively squirm and make the weirdest noises that ever came out of a human being, but I would choose to do it again shortly after... I'm not saying that you should just suck it up, because I KNOW the science behind it, how the tickle response IS carried by the pain nerves, etc, etc, etc... and if you're in pain then it would be completely inconsiderate for anyone to continue tickling you even when they know. I can't stand being itchy. Can't STAND it. I'd rather have the itching be lopped off and be constantly in pain if I couldn't do anything about it. So, I feel ya, but not quite exactly in the same way.

I hate tickling cause my friends know im extremely ticklish onmy ribs and i hate it so they use bit against me especially while im talking cause they say i talk a lot so they tickle me to make me keep quiet this is in the 8th grade cause i had 4 fetish friends i never liked it

I hate tickling cause my friends know im extremely ticklish onmy ribs and i hate it so they use bit against me especially while im talking cause they say i talk a lot so they tickle me to make me keep quiet this is in the 8th grade cause i had 4 fetish friends i never liked it

To say u are not ticklish if u like to bw tickled is one of most absurd statements.I have ever heard. I know many people, including me, that are very ticklish and love it. It is about giving up control to someone u trust, and enjoying the endorpin rush from the laughter.I is also a fun way to experience a submissive experience if one is submissive. Just because u don't like it. Don't paint those that do with bad references to history and science.

I used to be incredibly ticklish, and so were my sisters. My dad is the kind of person who likes to take advantage of the tickle reflex, so you can imagine we got tickled a lot as children.<br />
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I've gotten to the point now where I've trained my mind to steel itself against the reflex, so I can fool people into thinking I'm not ticklish. On some level, I'm not really ticklish any more, since I barely feel anything as a result of numbing my mind to it.<br />
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Still, I'm incredibly paranoid about being tickled. Reading this story set my arms twitching, because my nerves still remember exactly how it feels.<br />
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I've never really thought of it as abusive before, generally I just see it as good humoured fun. But I agree, it is awful when someone refuses to stop tickling you. It gets painful very quickly :(