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Ticklishness - Man's Ultimate Survival Technique

Updated on June 6, 2011
Do NOT search tickling on Google images with the Safe-Search off.
Do NOT search tickling on Google images with the Safe-Search off. | Source

Pretty much everyone in the world is extremely ticklish, which is odd. So many people can endure so much physical contact yet be reduced to tears when touched lightly in specific areas. We all can admit it, (especially me) that we're forced to wet ourselves, cry for help and laugh uncontrollably when tickled for any length of time...Did I say wet ourselves? Oops...

The downside, other than the horrible feeling, of ticklishness is that it makes us look like idiots. You don't see Bruce Willis crying with laughter whilst being man-handled in a fight, but why do we, normal, non-famous humans act like babies when touched? Is it because we're just wusses? Are we secretly big babies? Or are we just awesomely sensitive bad-ass killers?

Actually it's the last one.
Seriously! Ticklishness is one of those evolutionary things that was left inside of us until now, with no viable purpose. But throughout history ticklishness had a major purpose.

Look at dogs. When they play the don't sit around a board and play scrabble, they fight. They grab at the neck and throat, almost killing each other. Whilst in reality they're playing it looks as it they've got serious issues with one another. And whilst they are playing, they're also training.
If the one dog can hold off against the other whilst playing, then (hopefully) the same dog will be able to hold off a predator, who will be going for, you guessed it, the neck of the animal.
But how does this link to ticklishness? Well the most sensitive areas are the neck, ribs and underarms, which just so happen to be the places which a predator will go for when attacking. By tickling others, we were training others to be able to defend themselves whilst being attacked.

Alright so ticklishness was beneficial, but most people are ticklish a little bit. Perhaps being a little ticklish is just as good as being very ticklish. Actually no. Our ancestors who happened to be very sensitive/very ticklish had better reactions and could tell if there were any parasites or predators upon them faster...Because it wasn't just Sabre-Tooth Tigers we were protecting ourselves from, small disease carrying predators were just as dangerous. The most sensitive survived longer than those who were only a little-bit ticklish.
So the next time someone tickles you into a harrowing submission, think, they're not doing it to laugh at you, they're doing it to protect you from wolves, Tigers and Lions...Probably.


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    • Ryan-Palmsy profile image

      Ryan Palmer 6 years ago from In a Galaxy far, far away

      Thanks KK Trainor! It's horrible yes but at least it's doing us good...apparently! LOL

    • KK Trainor profile image

      KK Trainor 6 years ago from Texas

      I love this hub! You're so right about this. My brother used to tickle me when we were little and I would get so mad I would scream. Voted up!

    • Ryan-Palmsy profile image

      Ryan Palmer 6 years ago from In a Galaxy far, far away

      My dog is all old and frail now (she's 14, only 4 years younger than me!) we've grown up together and she's always been there, but I don't give her a spiked collar, to be honest it's purpose, until now, had never occurred to me! She's never been in any trouble though, even though there have been many people who choose to make their dogs aggressive!

      Our village is quite small (about 4 square miles in total), but there are still 18,000 residents! So the Police don't really know everyone. Crime rates are surprisingly low though!!

    • Katharella profile image

      Katharella 6 years ago from Lost in America

      lol I wish I could take credit for my ticklish rat, bu ah, how could I prove it after mine was long gone ya know! :)

      Yeah it's actually a fact, that those are for protection especially for any dog that is prone to people MAKING them aggressive. I would NEVER walk my dog without hers.

      I don't think that it's people ignore that purpose, I think that they too think it's to make their dog look more menacing.. and it works! But once I learned it true nature, there was NO going out without hers on. She's not aggressive in the least! But it would save her in the event she was attacked. In my town a lot of people have Rotts and Pitts. Funny though, because it's small towns and low crime rates. lol, because it's small town IF there's a crime, the police pretty much knows who did what anyway! They just go to their house and pick 'em up lol.

    • Ryan-Palmsy profile image

      Ryan Palmer 6 years ago from In a Galaxy far, far away

      Well Kath, can't say as I had a similar childhood LOL, or maybe I did but just can't remember! The toe is a strange place to be ticklish! To me anyway!

      I didn't know rats were ticklish, maybe you should take credit for the findings!

      True, I can't imagine dogs would wish to bite spikes and things, I've always thought people who made their dogs wear them were doing it purely to make them look mean...Maybe they do serve a purpose but the users choose to ignore that purpose? Hmm...Interesting! LOL

    • Katharella profile image

      Katharella 6 years ago from Lost in America

      I had to vote this funny because just reading it made me laugh. I had a niece when she was little would uncontrollably let gas if we tickled her! So of course... we embarrassed her horribly! lol maybe that's why she don't come around.


      You know, once someone told me it was a mind over matter (that comes up a lot huh) thing.. so I put it to the test! And you know, since then, unless I am in a jovial mood and feeling playful, I cannot be tickled not even to crack a smile!

      I tried to tell my dad this, and he had a thing with his big toe! YOU could NOT TOUCH IS BIG TOE, no matter how mad he was at us as kids, I'd run in his room just as he was going to nap or sleep for work (he did shift work a lot) and I'd grab his toe!! OH my he'd laugh and laugh until I couldn't hold it any longer then I'd RUN out of the room closing the door behind me. The next day, when he got home from work would be "the whisker game".. uh oh. NO CANDY BAR from his lunch box until he'd hold me down and rub that 5 o'clock shadow on my tummy! I'd laugh until I nearly wet myself, then he'd let me up, I had to hug him and get the scratchy neck hug THEN I could have my candy bar!

      Ya know, I used to have a pet rat (I know people find that gross but I love that thing) and it used to run in circles and flop over and I'd tickle it's belly then he'd sit up and I'd give him his tiny peanut butter sandwich! About a year after he died, I saw a newscast that said "new study finds rats to be ticklish" LOL as if I couldn't of told them that huh!

      Yeah one thing people don't know about spiked collars for ANY PET.. they think it's to make Rotts and Pitts look mean, but it's actually for protection! What dog is going to keep biting THAT spiked neck!!! :) Another great hub! :)