Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Please reassure


QUESTION: I used to masturbate to stories involving someone bound and being tickle tortured by kids. Really the idea of like someone like a child dominating someone by only using tickling, something so childish was somehow arousing. I don't masturbate to those stories no more. But those memories make me think that they meant something or I have turned into something. When I think about it, even now it is possible for me to get aroused by something like that. Like for example this sentence. "Gone, too, are the parish stocks, in which 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 their defenseless feet". Please tell me they mean nothing. And have not turned me into anything. Please, don't answer in any way that might aggravate my anxiety. Thx

ANSWER: There's no definitive answer, Wille; you're asking for an opinion, and the answer depends on who you ask. If I were a cleric, I'd likely say that thinking of something wrong is almost as evil as doing it.  

As a psychologist, my opinion is that thoughts are like dreams. We don't know how they arise or what they mean, but if you enjoy them in any way, then good for you. (Thoughts can certainly be troublesome, but the harm comes from not the thoughts but from the worrying about them.)

It has been said that 95% of guys masturbate -- and the other 5% lie about it. The act virtually always includes sexually arousing imagery, and I would say that yours was on the mild side. The issue here may be that you were taught that sexuality is bad, and the guilt over it spilled over to the imagery attached to it.

I hope that does it, but if you are not now totally comfortable with what was a concern, feel free to get back to me with a little bit about yourself, and I'll try to recommend how to get face-to-face help from a mental-health professional as to how to cope with what worries you. Otherwise, you're most welcome, and thanks for asking us.


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QUESTION: Actually I didn't really wish that was happening, those thoughts didn't even involve me. My concern is, if something like that turned me on, does that mean that I am a latent sadist, pedophile etc? I am a straight male with anxiety disorder, OCD. I have always been attracted to girls. But some people were making fun of me by calling me something like fagot, pedophile and then boom I started to worry. And remembered this. Again, since this very anxiety provoking for me, pls avoid writing something that might aggravate anxiety.

ANSWER: Good to hear from you again and you raise a good question.

There are men who never fantasize about any sort of illegal activity but who admit that if they could commit rape with no chance of being found out, they would. There are men who get aroused by whatever illegal activity interests them, but if given the opportunity to act out this activity without repercussion, would never even consider doing so.  Such is the possible divide between imagination and reality. Such is the reason that (unless you have made serious operational plans to carry out some of your imaginings), there is zero cause for any concern. Zero.

Young people degrade others because they have a low self-image, and it makes them feel superior.  Then, if they see it upsets the victim, they find this entertaining. If it happens at school, you can report this. And you might talk with someone local about how to deal with this terrible form of bullying.

Hope that helps.  I think you sent very high ratings from last time -- thank you.


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QUESTION: First of all, thanks for answering. I am sorry but I would like to ask again, if you do not mind. I will try to make this my last. Let me first of all clarify, these thoughts were NOT enjoyable. Actually, being tickle tortured was my fear in childhood. At one point I read about someone being bound and tortured, and recreated this scene and masturbated to it. I DIDN'T like this thought. I WOULD NOT like to tickle anyone. (If someone was bound, tickling them would NOT give me pleasure.) Someone getting tickle tortured gives me NO pleasure. It was just exciting at the time. Not enjoyable or pleasureable. In other words I AM NOT one of those deviant people with paraphilia who find tormenting others or themselves pleasurable. Even in these thoughts I made sure that it had NOTHING to do with sex just torture. Now I don't do that ANYMORE. I am a heterosexual person, I am attracted and have been to opposite sex. I suffer from OCD. I have been obsessed of many things. Now I am obsessed of being pedophile, gay bi or other stuff. I find pedophilia, homosexuality and so on disgusting. But a crazy thought occurred to me. What if I am a latent pedo etc. And these tickle torture thoughts (which I do not do now, and did for a short time long ago) were signs that my brain is configured differently and I will become a child molestor inevitably. I know it's crazy, but I would like to hear a 30 yr psychology teacher tell me this is just OCD. NOTHING ELSE. Thanks

Willie, I would not even say that your thoughts are odd, because they fall within the normal range of behaviour.  What would be considered odd is your worrying about it -- except even that is within the expected experience of someone with OCD.

I can tell you that the fretting associated with this disorder can be helped, usually best by a combination of anti-anxiety medication and psychotherapy. The best for the medication would be a psychiatrist, and usually the most practical for the therapy (which is just talking) is a clinical psychologist.

All the best to you,


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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