Tickle torture

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Tickle torture is the use of tickling to abuse, dominate, harass, humiliate, or interrogate an individual. [1] While laughter is popularly thought of as a pleasure response, in tickle torture, the one being tickled may laugh whether or not they find the experience pleasant. [1] In a tickling situation, laughter can indicate a panic reflex rather than a pleasure response. Tickle torture may be a consensual activity or one that is forced, depending on the circumstances. [2] In a consensual form, tickle torture may be part of a mutually fulfilling, physically intimate act between partners. However, forced tickle torture can cause real physical and mental distress in a victim, which is why it has been used as an interrogation method or to simply show dominance over another person. Usually tickling is done on feet and armpits after tying the person's ankles and wrists. The recipient is also often stripped to their underwear.

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Historical Anecdotes


An article in the British Medical Journal about European tortures describes a method of tickle torture in which a goat was compelled to lick the victim's feet because they had been dipped in salt water. Once the goat had licked the salt off, the victim's feet would be dipped in the salt water again and the process would repeat itself. [3] However, it remains unclear if this method was ever used in practice as it is only described in the 1502 Tractatus de indiciis et tortura by the Italian jurist and monk Franciscus Brunus de San Severino – a treatise that actually cautioned against torture in general – and while it seems clear that Franciscus Brunus had not made up this practice, the issue is left open whether the inclusion in the treatise is based on hearsay, (reliable) eye-witness accounts, or personal experience. [4] This uncertainty does not preclude this anecdote from being repeated in popular culture, for instance during a 2013 episode of the British satirical quiz show QI. [5]

In ancient Japan, those in positions of authority could administer punishments to those convicted of crimes that were beyond the criminal code. This was called shikei, which translates as ‘private punishment.’ One such torture was kusuguri-zeme: "merciless tickling." [6]

In Vernon Wiehe's book Sibling Abuse, he published his research findings regarding 150 adults who were abused by their siblings during childhood. Several reported tickling as a type of physical abuse they experienced, and based on these reports it was revealed that abusive tickling is capable of provoking extreme physiological reactions in the victim, such as vomiting, urinary incontinence, and losing consciousness due to inability to breathe. [7] There is currently no evidence that tickle torture was ever widespread or was practiced by governments. The very small amount of related documentation discovered thus far originates from England and the United States.

A 1903 article described an immobilized suicidal patient at the Hudson River State Hospital who was tied to a bed for his own safety. While he lay helpless, the patient's feet were tickled by one of the hospital attendants, Frank A. Sanders. "Sanders is said to have confessed that while intoxicated he amused himself by tickling the feet and ribs of Hayes and pulling his nose." Sanders also gave his restrained victim a black eye. Another hospital employee came upon Sanders while he was entertaining himself at his patient's expense, and the criminal was brought before a grand jury. [8]

An 1887 article entitled "England in Old Times" states, "Gone, too, are the parish stocks, in which male offenders against public morality formerly sat imprisoned, with their legs held fast beneath a heavy wooden yoke, while sundry small but fiendish boys improved the occasion by deliberately pulling off their shoes and tickling the soles of the men’s defenseless feet." [9]

Other uses and meanings

The term tickle torture can apply to many different situations that do not include the aforementioned acts of either sexual gratification or malicious torture.

A common form of tickle torture is tickling being used by siblings as an alternative of using outright violence to attempt to dominate each other or settle disputes.

Tickle torture can be an extended act of tickling where the recipient of the tickling would view it as a long time or tickling of an intense nature. This can be due to the length of time they are tickled, the intensity of the tickling or the areas that are being tickled. This can simply be a 30-second tickle applied to the victim's bare feet, which can seem like a much longer time if the victim's feet are very ticklish. While the palm of the hand is far more sensitive to touch, other commonly ticklish areas include the armpits, sides of the torso, neck, knee, midriff, thighs, navel, and the ribs. Many people consider the soles of their feet the most ticklish, due to the many nerve endings located there: this explains why tickling one's feet against their will is the most common example of "tickle torture". [10]

"Tickle torture" may also have other uses, including the act of tickling a person as a means of humiliating someone, or even an interrogation method. This may not be extreme tickling, but could include prolonged tickling upon a sensitive area until the victim has released the required information. In the former case, it could be used as a way of humiliating a person, as the act of being tickled can produce many sounds and sensations that could be viewed as being embarrassing to the victim. In this way, the tickling can continue to the point where a certain reaction is revealed.

This method of "humiliating" could also incorporate the use of physical restraint or restraint using materials. This would be done to leave a desired area of the body bare and vulnerable to the tickling, in a way that the victim would not be able to remove this area from the tickling, and would have to simply endure. This can also be seen as "punishment" or "payback" as the tickler could be using the tickling as retribution from a previous tickling experience or "humiliating event".

Consensual

In sexual fetishism, tickle torture is an activity between consenting partners. A torture session usually begins with one partner allowing the other to tie them up in a position that exposes bare parts of the body, particularly those that are sensitive to tickling. Though many parts of the human body are deemed ticklish, tickle torture is commonly associated with the tickling of the bare feet or armpits.

The bondage methods of the tickling usually follows the same basic methods. The object of the bondage is to render the victim unable to remove themselves from the tickling, as well as rendering the ticklish areas of the victim vulnerable. The victim is usually bound in a sitting or lying position rather than a standing one as to expose the soles of the feet which are often among the areas upon which tickling is inflicted. The restraint of the arms above the head leaves the upper body and underarms susceptible to the tickling. This enables the torturer to use whatever they want, e.g. fingers, tongue, beard, feathers, brush, pine cones, salt sticks, electric toothbrush or a hairbrush.

See also

Related Research Articles

Torture Deliberate infliction of suffering on a person

Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering on a person for reasons such as punishment, extracting a confession, interrogation for information, or intimidating third parties. Some definitions are restricted to acts carried out by the state, but others include non-state organizations.

Physical restraint

Physical restraint refers to means of purposely limiting or obstructing the freedom of a person's bodily movement.

Humiliation Abasement of pride

Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It is an emotion felt by a person whose social status, either by force or willingly, has just decreased. It can be brought about through intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery, or by embarrassment if a person is revealed to have committed a socially or legally unacceptable act. Whereas humility can be sought alone as a means to de-emphasize the ego, humiliation must involve other person(s), though not necessarily directly or willingly.

Tickling Action of making one laugh through physical touch

Tickling is the act of touching a part of a body in a way that causes involuntary twitching movements or laughter. The word "tickle"  evolved from the Middle English tikelen, perhaps frequentative of ticken, to touch lightly.

Stocks Restraining device

Stocks are feet restraining devices that were used as a form of corporal punishment and public humiliation.

Strappado Torture method

The strappado, also known as corda, is a form of torture in which the victim's hands are tied behind his back and the victim is suspended by a rope attached to the wrists, typically resulting in dislocated shoulders. Weights may be added to the body to intensify the effect and increase the pain. This kind of torture would generally not last more than an hour without rest, as it would likely result in death.

Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of a thing, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, assault, violation, rape, unjust practices, crimes, or other types of aggression. To these descriptions, one can also add the Kantian notion of the wrongness of using another human being as means to an end rather than as ends in themselves. Some sources describe abuse as "socially constructed", which means there may be more or less recognition of the suffering of a victim at different times and societies.

Public humiliation Form of punishment whose main feature is dishonoring or disgracing a person

Public humiliation or public shaming is a form of punishment whose main feature is dishonoring or disgracing a person, usually an offender or a prisoner, especially in a public place. It was regularly used as a form of judicially sanctioned punishment in previous centuries, and is still practiced by different means in the modern era.

Waterboarding Torture method simulating drowning

Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, causing the person to experience the sensation of drowning. In the most common method of waterboarding, the captive's face is covered with cloth or some other thin material and immobilized on their back at an incline of 10 to 20 degrees. Torturers pour water onto the face over the breathing passages, causing an almost immediate gag reflex and creating a drowning sensation for the captive. Normally, water is poured intermittently to prevent death. However, if the water is poured uninterruptedly it will lead to death by asphyxia, also called dry drowning. Waterboarding can cause extreme pain, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, and lasting psychological damage. Adverse physical effects can last for months, and psychological effects for years. The term "water board torture" appeared in press reports as early as 1976.

Medical torture describes the involvement of, or sometimes instigation by, medical personnel in acts of torture, either to judge what victims can endure, to apply treatments which will enhance torture, or as torturers in their own right. Medical torture overlaps with medical interrogation if it involves the use of professional medical expertise to facilitate interrogation or corporal punishment, in the conduct of torturous human experimentation or in providing professional medical sanction and approval for the torture of prisoners. Medical torture also covers torturous scientific experimentation upon unwilling human subjects.

Torture, the infliction of severe physical or psychological pain upon an individual to extract information or a confession, or as an illicit extrajudicial punishment, is prohibited by international law and is illegal in most countries. However, it is still used by many governments. The subject of this article is the use of torture since the adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which prohibited it.

Chinese water torture

Chinese water torture or a "dripping machine" is a mentally painful process in which cold water is slowly dripped onto the scalp, forehead or face for a prolonged period of time. The process causes fear and mental deterioration in the subject. The pattern of the drops is often irregular, and the cold sensation jarring, which causes anxiety as a person tries to anticipate the next drip. This form of torture was first described by Hippolytus De Marsiliis in Italy in the 15th or 16th century.

Interrogation scene

An interrogation scene is a form of BDSM roleplay in which the participants act out the parts of torturer and victim. As in real life torture chambers throughout the world over, the "torturer" uses threats, humiliation and physical pain to extract whatever information they believe the "victim" possesses. The game is over when the victim has broken and divulged the secret. The length and severity of the scene will vary according to the temperament of the players. Dedicated players attempt to replicate the atmosphere of a real torture session and, as in real life, the "victim" can expect to be stripped naked, tied up, mocked and abused.

Foot whipping

Foot whipping, falanga/falaka or bastinado is a method of inflicting pain and humiliation by administering a beating on the soles of a person's bare feet. Unlike most types of flogging, it is meant more to be painful than to cause actual injury to the victim. Blows are generally delivered with a light rod, knotted cord, or lash.

Torture in the United States includes documented and alleged cases of torture both inside and outside the United States by members of the government, the military, law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, health care services, and other public organizations.

Laughter in animals Overview of humor in animals

Laughter in animals other than humans describes animal behavior which resembles human laughter.

Torture trade

The term torture trade refers to the manufacture, marketing, and export of tools commonly used for torture, like restraints and high-voltage electro-shock weapons. In 2001, Amnesty International released a report on "Stopping the Torture Trade".

Western Cyclone is a 1943 American Producers Releasing Corporation Western film of the "Billy the Kid" series directed by Sam Newfield. The film is also known as Frontier Fighters.

Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (CIDT) is treatment of persons which is contrary to human rights or dignity, but is not classified as torture. It is forbidden by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Although the distinction between torture and CIDT is maintained from a legal point of view, medical and psychological studies have found that it does not exist from the psychological point of view, and people subjected to CIDT will experience the same consequences as survivors of torture. Based on this research, some practitioners have recommended abolishing the distinction.

References

  1. 1 2 "Death By Tickling: The Horrible Torture Method That Can Cause An Aneurysm". culturacolectiva.com. 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  2. Carol Yoon (June 3, 1997). "Anatomy of a Tickle Is Serious Business at the Research Lab". New York Times.
  3. Gavin Yamey (2001). "Torture: European Instruments of Torture and Capital Punishment from the Middle Ages to Present". British Medical Journal. 323 (7308): 346. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7308.346.
  4. Cohen, Esther (2009). The Modulated Scream: Pain in Late Medieval Culture. University of Chicago Press. ISBN   978-0-226-11267-1.
  5. "QI Series J, Episode 17 – Jolly". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  6. Schreiber, Mark. The Dark Side: Infamous Japanese Crimes and Criminals. Japan: Kodansha International, 2001. p. 71 [ ISBN missing ]
  7. Wiehe, Vernon. Sibling Abuse: Hidden Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Trauma. New York: Lexington Books, 1990. [ ISBN missing ][ page needed ]
  8. "Treated Patient Brutally". The New York Times. September 6, 1903.
  9. Ker, David (November 13, 1887). "England in Old Times". The New York Times.
  10. Harris, Christine R. (1999). "The mystery of ticklish laughter". American Scientist. 87 (4): 344. Bibcode:1999AmSci..87..344H. doi:10.1511/1999.4.344. Archived from the original on 2017-05-20. Retrieved 2008-11-09.