(Doctor’s Note: Hey NerdLovers, I came down with a hellacious case of con crud after ECCC and I’m only about 60% recovered at the moment. Since I couldn’t get a new episode of the podcast out this week, y’all are getting a bonus column, with the possibility of a quick and dirty podcast episode by Friday. We’ll see. Meanwhile… enjoy!)
I have an unusual fetish. I’m a straight guy and still a virgin due to shyness and approach anxiety and since I was at least 17, I’ve noticed I have a tickling fetish. The idea of being consensually bound and tickled mercilessly by hot women, or me consensual tickling a hot, bound, ticklish women, or women gleefully do it to each other while permitting me to watch, (all of these activities with safe words and breaks) excites me like little else in the bedroom. I have ZERO idea why, and I’ve embraced this quirky fetish as an inherent part of my sexuality.
That being said, I’m a little insecure about it. First off, it’s not something I typically picture doing with a committed romantic partner, it’s more something I see doing with a casual sex partner. I’m honestly afraid to ask for it if I end up in a sexual situation with someone, as thought of tickling typically brings back terrible childhood memories (it does for me to, but I’m able to separate those memories from what I know seek to enjoy as a consenting adult.)
Every time the subject comes up on mainstream news sites or social media, 90% of the reaction (from men and women alike) seems to be how it’s such a creepy fetish to have.
So I’m honestly wary of bringing it up or pursuing it, and most BDSM networking sites intimidate me, and I’ve noticed the sites geared toward connecting people with this specific fetish are always huge sausage fests, where women’s personals get thousands of replies whereas straight men’s personals get zero. Is that much of a deal breaker? Is it a mark against me personally? Should I ask for it or just forget it and just accept that it will just remain a fantasy? How should I even ask for it?
Insecurity Is No Laughing Matter
So this is what we in the advice business call a case of “the problem you think you have is not the problem you actually have.”
You have things seriously tangled up and twisted, INLM and all it’s doing is making you feel weird and insecure about things. So let’s pick this apart a little and see if we can’t set things right.
First of all, your fetish isn’t that rare or unusual. What you’re describing is a common variation of your garden variety BDSM play. The central factor in this is standard power-exchange; the sub is bound and helpless while the dom consensually demonstrates their power over the sub. It’s the helplessness and control that tends to be what gets people off. You can find similar dynamics involving things like edging and orgasm denial, shibari and a multitude of other forms of power exchange. The only difference between your kink and a scene involving being tied up and spanked is that you’re envisioning it with a feather instead of a flogger or violet wand.
Second of all: you’ve got things precisely backwards. You’ll have much better luck indulging your kink with someone who you’re in a serious relationship with than a casual FWB. While it’s certainly possible that you could find a play partner who’s down to tie you up and tickle you, you’re going to have a much easier time introducing kink into a relationship where you and your partner have comfort, trust and communication. The problem here is that you seem to have this mental disconnect that says you can’t have the “dirty” kinky sex that gets you off with a committed partner. This is, frankly absurd and it’s going to cause you problems in your future relationships.
To start with, the idea that you can only have a certain kind of sex with people you aren’t in a romantic relationship with is a great way to make sure that your romantic relationships will fall apart. Sexual compatibility is an important part of a relationship’s longevity; when you’re artificially restricting yourself from the sex you crave because of a bullshit distinction between casual and committed relationships, you’re condemning yourself to mediocre and unsatisfying sex. Just as importantly, however is the fact that sexual adventure and novelty is part of what makes a relationship last. Keeping the thrill alive in your relationship is part of what keeps your connection strong and vibrant. You don’t want to try to segregate your kinky self off to some other secret part of your life, you want to embrace it and find the Morticia to your Gomez Addams.
Plus, as it is, you’re going to have a harder time finding casual play partners who’ll want to do power exchange without going to some of those BDSM networking sites. It’ll be much easier to find a kinky partner to go where the kinksters hang out than it is to try to dig through people’s dating profiles in hopes of finding clues that sticks and stones may break their bones but whips and chains excite them. It may help to think of sites like FetLife as being more akin to Facebook than Tinder; all you’re doing is joining a social networking site that just happens to be for folks who like playing cops and robbers with their pants off. Focus less on treating it like a dating site and more like you’re making friends and connections and finding out where the cool parties are.
Your other option is to find the kink scene in your city in person. The BDSM communities tend to have regular social gatherings – known as munches – that serve as informal get togethers. These are almost always low-key events so that people in the community can get to know one another, trade information and generally hang out in a socially “safe” space. Now I want to stress: these are not places to go to hit on folks or set up a scene. They are, however, a great place to get to know people, make connections and get known within the community. That, in turn, can help you find various parties or events where you might find someone who’s up for talking about the kind of scene you’re looking to indulge in.
But demographics being what they are, there’re more vanilla people than there are kinksters. That means the odds are greater that you’re going to end up in a relationship with someone who isn’t necessarily kinky yet. That means you’ll be the one to introduce her into this new side of you that she might like to try too. The way you bring it up is no different from bringing up other sexual interests or fantasies. In fact, talking about the things that turn you both on that you’d like to try is the perfect time to bring up your interest. It doesn’t require a long run-up or explanation, so much as a “Hey, you know what I’ve always been into?”
The key here is to not treat your kink like it’s a deep dark secret. It’s just one thing – and not even that unusual – that happens to leave you harder than Chinese differential calculus. Your partner is going to take a lot of her cues from you. If you roll this out like your desires make you subhuman and you wouldn’t blame her if she ran screaming into the night… well, she’s much more likely to do just that. If you roll it out as this kinda-naughty-but-not-actually-that-scary fun thing to do, she’s far more likely to want to give it a try… if only because you are so into it.
In the meantime, do your research. Get a copy of When Someone You Love is Kinky, read up on kink with books like Tristan Taormino’s The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge, Violet Blue’s The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy and Midori’s Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink: Educational, Sensual, and Entertaining Essays. Watch some videos on KinkAcademy and spend a little time on FetLife.
The more you know, the better you’ll be able to explain it to people you might want to play with.
Hey Doc, I have a problem.