Several years ago, I wrote a blog post called Tickling, about how tickling can be a form of aggression, and how it can often be very unwelcome and inappropriate. That blog post resonated with a lot of people. It’s short and to the point, so I hope you’ll read it.
I thought of that post recently. I was really impressed to discover that one of my nieces is teaching her two-year-old daughter that no one should get to touch her in any way, shape, form, or fashion, without her permission. Forget about good touch, bad touch. It’s her body. She gets to say who touches it, good or otherwise. We all have that right, but we often forget that.
Just because Uncle Fred is a touchy-feely guy does not mean that he gets a free pass just so you can avoid ruffling family feathers. If he’s making you uncomfortable, that’s never okay. Not ever. Even if you love Uncle Fred to pieces. And that applies to recipients of those touches of any age, not just children.
Also, just because someone is in a position of authority, such as a doctor or a dentist or a teacher or a boss or a politician, or even an older relative or a spouse, that does not mean they get to decide how you are touched. Absolutely not.
I’m not saying that every person who is touching you inappropriately is automatically a sex offender who is grooming you. Some people are just clueless. But it doesn’t really matter. If you aren’t comfortable in a tactile situation, regardless of your age, orientation, or relationship, it’s your body, not theirs, and you get to dictate what happens to it.
Your body is truly the only thing in life that you will always have all to yourself. That’s why it’s such an extreme violation when someone abuses it. I love knowing that there are children out there who are being taught their own agency practically from birth. That’s how it should be. I wish it had been taught to me.
Always establish your own boundaries and make them crystal clear. That’s not being rude. It’s appropriate. And I think that you’ll find that most people are a lot more comfortable, knowing the rules in any given scenario.
Never forget that your body belongs to you and you alone. Always.
I don’t like to be tickled. That should be all I have to say on the subject. But unfortunately there’s this weird tickling dynamic out there.
Some people actually think that there’s some get out of jail free card for tickling. It’s as if this form of space invasion is somehow more acceptable than any other inappropriate touch. Many people, who otherwise understand that no really means no, will cross that line when it comes to a tickle.
If you tickle me, I will laugh. It’s a natural reaction. But it doesn’t mean I’m having fun.
Here are two scenarios which will explain my stance on the subject:
First, there were a few times when I was a child when an adult tickled me and it got all creepy. And it’s a fact that pedophiles will sometimes use tickling as an inroad to even more abusive acts. Tickling should not be a socially acceptable way to cop a feel.
Second, tickling can be a form of aggression. One time a boyfriend tickled me so much it became painful and I cried. And he was kneeling on my hair so I couldn’t get away. And even though I was screaming for him to stop, he didn’t. And he had this glazed look in his eyes that chilled me to the bone. It was bad.
So, yeah, if you’re one of those people who thinks tickling can be fun, make sure the other person is genuinely on the same page. Otherwise, take the hint. And keep your freakin’ hands to yourself.