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The Wicked, Wicked Art of TICKLE TORTURE

Feb. 24, 2012

Reposted with the author's permission.

This is the outline I developed for the first ever Black Rose ever talk on tickling. I think it was 1997.

If you tickle us do we not laugh? - Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

DEFINITION: To touch lightly and cause a peculiar thrilling sensation, which commonly causes laughter; to titillate; to please by slight gratification (New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary)

A COMMON HUMAN ACTIVITY: Everyone’s been through it as a kid

SM texts often miss it
Not represented in the hanki codes
The SM community regards tickling with ambivalence…
1: Because some not ticklish. . .
2. . . . and some who are, find it horrifyingly diabolical. (witness phrases: “Tickled Pink”, “Tickled to death”, “die laughing”, “laughingstock”, Leg Show ordinarily very pro kink, ran an editorial against it

A growing number of Websites (Run a search engine for “tickling”) Magazines, Videos, Advantage: some, stoic handling any sort of impact play, can be reduced to babbling putty in your hands. Useful technique for beginners, easy to learn and extremely inexpensive.

BIOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF TICKLISHNESS: Unclear, but may have been an evolutionary defense against disease carrying insects or protecting vulnerable areas (thus performing a function similar as pain: a signal of bodily threat). Ergo ticklish people are more evolved!)


  • Tickling has aspects of innocence and the chase.Nominally “Innocent”, public play is possible with its attendant opportunities for humilation and humbling...
  • Shares (with many other scenes), a fixation on imagery from infancy and childhood (rubber, spanking, enemas, age regression, shoes, scat)
  • Perceived as gentler (for newcomers ) than other SM imagery.
  • Produces continuous stimulus (as opposed to “surge” profile of impact toys)
  • Small is gigantic (Telling someone “I’m going to tickle you out of your skin” is almost like doing it.
  • Humiliating: “You love it! You’re laughing aren’t you?” Forces them to giggle at their own torment
  • Combines well with Pain (whipping, spanking etc.)
  • Great equalizer: a tiny person can weild a lot of power over a physically larger person if they are ticklish.
  • Provokes struggling (great in rape fantasies)
  • It rewards the exploration and knowledge of your victims body and weaknesses, making it extremely intimate...
  • It can be an enabler in watersports: tickle her untill she wets, or threaten too
  • Tickling is a powerful and immediate technique for instilling humiliation, panic and helplessness. When tickled its impossible for a ticklish bottom to think of anything else
  • Can evoke involuntary sexual response (sometimes even orgasm)
  • Combines 2 great things: Loss of control and laughing
  • Once rare in the scene (A submissive of 10 years once claimed no one had ever tried it) it is becoming much more popular
  • When done rarely as an accent in a nontickling scene it can provide a jolt of surprising pleasure.
  • When taken to extremes it can reduce the most composed, reserved analytical person to a groveling giggling drooling panting limp tickleflesh. Or as one victim says “a quivering bundle of nerve endings”
  • Leaves no marks, and despite how overwhelming it feels, is physically harmless
  • Tickling has spects of breath control (Laughter, lightheadedness, heart racing)
  • Tickletalk: Small is gigantic (Telling someone “I’m going to tickle you out of your skin” is like doing it.
  • Laughter affects brain chemistry and dumps a TON of endorphins into bloodstream, raising pain thresholds, and folding in easily with impact play.
  • Can devastate some otherwise very tough bottoms: stoic impact play veterans can be reduced to babbling pudding.
  • Requires virtually no physical strength (other than bondage)
  • Spontaneous, sometimes very fun and frivolous, giving up control is sexy. Trust and surrender bring closeness
  • Domination without traditional pain (except to the pride)
  • One who chooses when others need to laugh and laugh.
  • Even when done to extremes physically harmless
  • When someone’s ticklish, Its never not a surprises
  • The language describing tickling and laughter has shades of violence: tickled pink/purple/blue in the face, die laughing, side splitting laughter, tickled to death.

TOOLS fingers, Pin wheels, ice cubes, brushes, Feathers (quill end is often the more devastating than the down end), dusters, furs, abrasion tools (twigs, knife point, an ear of rye, tongue, tongue of animal, water pick, Q tip, a single strand of hair, silk, a vibrator (esp. balanced on soles of feet), or at right frequency (inserted into a tight place). Pen (for drawing pictures on soles, ass cheeks, etc). Tongue tip, yarn string or ribbon (especially with knots) drawn between toes, plastic forks, rubber latex “granite” gloves, combs (used like a violin bow on helpless soles) scratchy things (I have a paddle with sharp spikes that I use to just stroke back and forth under the cheeks. Beard stubble or teeth both for nibbling and scraping lightly, breath (yes, some folks get that sensitive), combs sawed underfoot, q-tips for invading the naval or other places, nerve wheels.

THE BODY: Neck, underarms, ribs poking tracing lightly, ass cheeks, feet, insteps (great buildup to sole tickling), underarms, inner thighs, navel, anus. Palms of hands, hipbones


  • Tickling is a hard limit for many bottoms. Check before launching a hard core tickling attack. Tickling often has emotional issues sometimes grounded in childhood abuse situations, and can be traumatizing. I almost always ask first so if tickling is a hard limit I don’t freak them out unintentionally.
  • Since voice is often busy laughing hysterically Nonverbal “safe signals” should be considered (keys dropped etc)
  • Going to far can lead to tears, coughing, hiccups, respiratory issues, panic, terror, Vomiting or incontinence can result if a tickling goes on too long. How far is too far is up to you and your partner but you need to apply realistic thought as to where those limits are.
  • Signs to ease off: Coughing, wheezing, respiratory paralysis. Hard tickling can cause painful bruising especially to the ribs
  • Watch the bondage with tickling. No other scene gives the cuffs and ropes a harder workout. This is the one scene where the bottom can completely lose motor control. People jump around so much that equipment can be capsized or broken. Muscles can be strained or pulled, cuffs escaped from, possibly endangering the top. I often don’t used bondage to prevent the bottom from hurting themselves while trying to escape from bondage.
  • Top safety: If the top is physically smaller than the bottom then proceed slowly and with some caution. If she or he goes berserk when tickled, the top could get clobbered unintentionally.

(My Story of getting clobbered.)

TICKLISHNESS: Is highly variable. Some are. Some aren’t. But if it can be induced in those unaccustomed to vulnerability to tickling, you are well on your way to dominating them. It typically increases with duration, increases with helplessness (ie bondage), increases as you move your attack from place to place, increases after orgasm, verbal taunting often makes it soooo much worse….

RESPONSES: laughter, animation, weakness, breathlessness, panic, sensitivity goes up, pleading for mercy (more so than paddling play) lightheadedness, Aspects of age regression, feels like they’ll go insane, or faint, or wet themselves, or die laughing.

THE BODY: Neck, underarms, ribs poking tracing lightly, ass cheeks, feet, insteps (great buildup to sole tickling), underarms, inner thighs, navel, anus. Palms of hands, hipbones


  • Light feathery contact versus scrubbing or prodding. For some prodding hurts and cracks the scene headspace. Some 'lees bruise easily, and resent showing a purple ring of bruises around their middles. Ask ahead of time, or listen midscene for the unhappy point where “ooh” turns to “ouch”
  • Jump from place to place
  • Lick them and blow on it. This gives the tickle sensations a shape
  • Bury your victim in the sand with feet exposed
  • Get them to deny they are ticklish, then set out to prove that they are lying. Once you’ve proven it, punish.
  • Baby powder, nylons, reduces friction
  • Reach under the restaurant table and squeeze the knees until he’s shaking
  • Verbal taunting: babytalk “this little piggy”, “cootchy, cootchy coo”, “Are you ticklish here?”, “laugh!”
  • Bondage, blindfolds amplify it
  • Command your victim to stifle the laughter while being tortured
  • Stocks were made for this
  • Combine tickling with impact play (they enhance one another)
  • Tickle everywhere to identify ticklespots. don’t go straight to hot spots right away, paint from hot spots, spread the sensations
  • Make him or her laugh for a minute straight. Use a timer so they can see.
  • Tie her up put a clock in her field of view and tell her she will be tickled to death in one hours time.
  • Tie up your victim to watch TV together and punish only during commercials
  • Wiggle a finger in your victim’s ass


  • Tickletalk: Vocal taunting ranging from babytalk (“this little piggy”, “cootchy, cootchy coo”, “Are you ticklish here?”, “laugh!”) to ice cold threats of intent and how helpless they are to resist, (that you are going to tickle them for a minute straight, til they wet, until they faint, etc.)
  • When their panicking point out their helplessness. “ this is going to happen and you cant stop it”
  • Ask “do you think this is funny? Do you want more? Or do you want it worse??? Laugh hysterically, weep and wiggle if you do” “If you haven’t peed you haven’t been tickled long enough” “If you REALLY cant stand it don’t be ticklish”, “Its time for me to count how many ribs you have”
  • Talk about what your going to do next. And then follow through.
  • Tell her your going to do it in front of others, friends, siblings, parents, colleagues (you needn’t follow through for it to be very effective)
  • Indulge in nonconsensual “fantasy”
  • Make her say dreadful things “Please sir tickle me to death.”
  • Make it a contest - Command him not to laugh, then force him to.
  • Stocks were made for this, holding bare feet helplessly still
  • Combine tickling with stingy impact play (they go together like wine and cheese)
  • Suddenly jump up the speed to fast spidering
  • Tickle the air above a sensitive spot
  • Try to spread the areas of vulnerability
  • Say your going to tickle her till she faints
  • Tickle the air above a sensitive spot, then pounce.
  • Tickle him in front of a mirror, in the shower until they wet, In public
  • Tie her up put a clock in her field of view and tell her she will be tickled to death in one hours time.
  • Tie her up spread eagle tickle under arms in ribs while fucking and enjoy the ride.
  • Music Box: Make him tickle himself. You say where and how. Useful over the phone when you can't be there in person.
  • Tape record her play it back while you do it again, so the laughter is double tracked
  • Throw tickles in throughout the day, in public and in private to remind your victim of their hopeless vulnerability to your touch

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