Q&A: Too Ticklish

I’m not sure if this is a common issue with women, but I really struggle with being extremely ticklish. I’ve been married to my husband for two years now and I did wait until marriage  to have sex.  I thought that these tickling sensations would eventually wear off.  I am very open to my husband sexually and I try to make him happy in every way that I possibly can, but I feel like my ticklishness is really getting in the way of his pleasure.  The sensations occur while he is touching me in almost every area, especially in private places.  Sometimes the sensations are too strong and he has to stop.  I’ve tried a lot of things to curb my sensitivity like medications and herbs, didn’t help at all.  My husband and I tried to have longer periods of foreplay.  And I even tried digging up my emotional past to see if anything has caused me to be this way.  The only thing I can think of is that when I was growing up, the only physical affection I ever received was tickling.  I don’t know how
to overcome this problem.  Not only does it cause problems for my husband, but sometimes I feel like my sexuality is non-existent and I just have to grit my teeth and bare those overwhelming sensations.  It takes a long time for me to have an orgasm, probably about 30 minutes or more.  Thank God that I have such a patient and loving husband.  I would really like to be able to be free from this problem and enjoy loving my husband the way that he deserves.  Do you know of anything that could help me with this problem?

The following answer was provided by Lauren Jordan, Certified  Sex Therapist:

I can see how the ticklish problem is interfering with both your husband’s and your pleasure.

It has been said that ticklishness takes place when you can’t see the touch coming – and you can’t know or control when and where you will be touched.   So tickling can cause reactions in people because it may be experienced as being under “attack”.  People may take cover by curling up, and trying to cover the body parts that they believe the tickler is going to touch next.  If you don’t perceive the tickling as an attack – even one without any possibility of doing you any bodily harm – you will be less ticklish.

Usually a ticklish person will have a sense of being out of control, so having your partner work with you to give you a feeling of being in control can really help turn things around.    Before you even begin to be sexual, take some time to relax.  You might take a long bubble bath while playing some soft music.  Begin to visualize in your mind while you are in the tub, that you will enjoy your partner’s touch.  Pay attention to your breathing – make sure you are taking long, slow deep breaths in your pre-sex relaxation period.

When you meet your partner, stand together and just bask in the good feelings that come with holding each other fully clothed.  Listen to his heartbeat and his breathing, and continue to try to keep your breathing from being shallow.  You can then lie down – with or without clothes, whichever makes you feel more relaxed and comfortable.  Establish with your partner some predictable ways of touching you – moving slowly and gently.  You may want to talk about a plan.  You, the ticklish one, should pay utmost attention to staying calm, as your husband touches you first on the least ticklish parts of your body.  This is not the time for any jokes – that will slow your progress.  After you can relax while he touches your arms or legs, or both, you might then ask him to touch your breasts in the same way.  You get to choose how fast you move on to the more ticklish areas.   You can try to focus on his touch, saying reassuring things to yourself, like “this is nice.  Keep breathing.  Moving at your own pace through this exercise – which may need to be done over several days or weeks – is the secret to overcoming ticklishness.  Yes, you will need your partner’s patience – and you are worth it.  You will both reap the benefits.

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  • February 2010
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