Tickle me, Elmo, you big sexy thing, you

3 minute read

In the long list of under-researched areas of the human condition, tickling-induced orgasms are right up there, apparently.

I once decked my grandmother because she snuck up behind me and attempted to tickle me.

It’s a good thing she was a shortarse, because my swinging netball veteran’s elbow just brushed across the top of her skull. A couple of inches taller and we’d still be trying to wake her up.

I am not one of those lucky people out there who have knismolagnia. That, for the uninitiated, is a tickle fetish. People with knismolagnia become sexually aroused when tickled.

I become violent. Just as much a reflex, nowhere near as much fun.

Scientists at the University Medical Center Mainz have been doing a long-term study of the neuronal background of laughter and positive experiences. The current focus of that work is a study on tickling in the context of adult sexuality. The researchers identified different roles in the interaction (tickler, tickled) as well as different tickling methods and intensities.

As you do. It never ceases to amaze me what people will spend their taxpayer-funded grant on, seriously. But I digress.

Most of the 719 study participants stated that tickling could satisfy them sexually. Almost half of the respondents reported being able to achieve sexual satisfaction without tickling. A quarter of respondents, on the other hand, said they experienced orgasms exclusively through tickling.

Another result – relevant childhood experiences, such as the depiction of tickling in cartoons, played a decisive role in some of the respondents developing a tickling fetish later on.

“Previous studies on ticklishness have mainly focused on the sensory consequences and playful aspects of tickling,” said Dr Shimpei Ishiyama, head of the research group.

“In our study, we investigated the role of tickling in a sexual context for the first time. In doing so, we are challenging previous findings because the range of experiences that lead to sexual pleasure is much wider than previously recognised.

“Tickling is an intimate activity that requires a certain level of mutual trust. It can bond individuals and serve as an outlet for sexual energy.

“Future studies should therefore investigate the mechanisms by which tickling triggers sexual pleasure. Our study results could pave the way for this further research into human sexuality,” said Dr Ishiyama.

Because apparently, this is a badly neglected field of research focus. Out there are millions of people really suffering because the whole world doesn’t know that being tickled gets them off.

Spare me. Sometimes I think there are way too many researchers on the planet.

See a story that tickles your – ugh … Tell penny@medicalrepublic.com.au about any silly and expensive research you’ve seen lately.

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