Tickling fetishism is a paraphilia in which participants derive sexual stimulation from tickling, or being tickled by, another person. Knismolagnia is the experience of sexual gratification from the act of tickling. Erotic tickling may involve the physical restraint of a submissive by a dominant. Although some consider it a BDSM activity, tickling is not fully recognised by the community and is relatively unknown in the mainstream.
In domination and submission scenarios, sexual partners may agree upon a safeword to signal that the tickling should stop.
Different individuals may find tickling of virtually any region of the body to be pleasurable, and this fetish can also involve excitement just from watching others being tickled. Popular tickle spots include the feet, navel or belly button, breasts, nipples, armpits, ribs, sides, stomach, and genitals.
Most adults are known to enjoy tickling, either participating or watching. It can play a part in courting rituals, especially among younger people, and can therefore be considered part of foreplay for many partners in the term's broadest sense. However, people who claim to have a tickling fetish are likely to enjoy this activity to the exclusion of other pre-sex activities. For some, the focus is entirely on the tickling, with full intercourse less important or not included at all. People whose sexuality is based almost solely on tickling can be said to have a tickling fixation. This fixation may also exist outside of sexual contexts. The number of people who possess this fetish in its fullest sense is unknown, but since the advent of the internet there has been a growing online community.