To tickle lightly or not to tickle lightly?
Let’s start with the science bit. There are two technical names for tickling, knismesis and gargalesis. As old faithful Wikipedia states it:- “Knismesis and gargalesis are the scientific terms, coined in 1897 by psychologists G. Stanley Hall and Arthur Allin, used to describe the two types of tickling. Knismesis refers to the light, feather-like type of tickling. This type of tickling generally does not induce laughter and is often accompanied by an itching sensation. Gargalesis refers to harder, laughter-inducing tickling, and involves the repeated application of high pressure to sensitive areas. This “heavy tickle” is often associated with play and laughter.” Essentially, light or heavy tickling. I rather have an appreciation of tickling myself as I enjoy a light drag across my soles from time to time, and there’s nothing more relaxing than a light tickly caress. I tend to find fetishists fall into one group or the other with regard to heavy or light tickling, it is very rare you will find a ticklee who enjoys both. The tickler however, may choose to practice both types of tickling, but I’ve not found a situation yet where they’re practiced on the same person. I think this has mostly to do with the fact that they’re both such wildly different sensations. With knismesis, it is a much more sensual, teasing caress, designed to make the skin goosebump, to sensitise the skin as much as possible, but with gargalesis, it can become painful from increased pressure in sensitive spots, and bruising can occur if you are not careful, or you’re unlucky enough to be prone to bruises.
In Tickled Pink, I explored sensual tickling, as although both practices are considered highly erotic, for me, it was easier to understand the sensual and light touches as being something tender and loving, and innately sexual. Something else to remember is that either style of tickling is a high endurance activity. Huge trust is required for the ticklee as they are often tied down, and when laughter begins, there are elements of breath control involved. I’m sure you can think of a time when you have laughed so hard that you found yourself short of breath? The same is also true here, however in an often more intense fashion. The tolerances of each ticklee must be carefully observed to save harm occurring, and of course if restraint is involved, with any bondage activity, a quick release must be provided at all time. Finally, it’s not just the ticklee who could find themselves in trouble as the gleeful tickler may find a thrashing limb come loose and make contact if a knot has worked itself free, so they must be vigilant for their own safety too.
What and who to tickle with?
The good thing about tickling is you don’t really need any specialised tools to partake, just some wriggling fingers is more than enough in most cases. However, if you decide you need a little something else, there are a number of favourites, some of which are obvious, others that are perhaps not so obvious. For example, feathers and brushes, large and small are all implements that are associated with tickling, even in the most innocent of circumstances. Then you have harder objects that you may not think could have such ticklish effects, like a comb, or a pencil, or even a vibrator used lightly across skin, pretty much anything you can think of can be used in a devilishly evil fashion! So once you’ve selected your instruments of torture, just who can you tickle? I have found that it doesn’t appear gender specific. The male isn’t generally the tickler and the female isn’t always the ticklee. As with the gender equality, so is the power exchange balance, many ticklers consider themselves Switch, with desire both to tickle and be tickled. Yes, there are some that remain defined by Dominant and submissive roles, but I notice more than any other fetish I’ve explored that Switches appear plentiful. Sexual orientation doesn’t seem to be a huge bother either, with many Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian couples and groups enjoying the freedom it brings. Indeed groups can often be a large part of tickle play – what could be more pleasure or more torture than lots of hands wriggling across your body?
There is so much more to the genre that I can detail here, the ‘Nylon tickle’, ‘Sexual tickling’ etc but if you wish to delve further into the topic yourself, there is a wealth of information available to research. Tickling Media Forum, FetLife, and many more I probably haven’t even encountered yet! If you thought yourself indifferent about tickling before, perhaps you can close your eyes and think back to that last time someone ‘accidentally’ tickled you. Did you want to get away from them at any cost? Or did you feel a tingle flutter deep in your stomach at the thought of returning that tickle, or being helpless to their fingers? So – if I’ve whetted your appetites, here’s the synopsis and an excerpt from my latest release! Enjoy – if you dare…