Saying, “It works for me,” is exactly like saying, “I have a tickling fetish.”
I’m a big fan of Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” and his Lovecast. It’s so refreshing to listen to someone who gives practical advice in such a sex-positive (about as sex-positive as you can get really) fashion. I’m currently listening to his new book, “American Savage”, and it’s great (mostly because he narrates it.) At any rate, with so much “advice” out there, the overarching message that has filtered its way through the morass has been “Find what works for you.”
I can’t agree more with this statement. Where I depart is after you’ve found what’s working for you.
Once you’ve found what works for you, saying, “It works for me,” is exactly like saying, “I have a tickling fetish.”
There’s something liberating about discovering and then accepting that you have a fetish or kink. It’s something that belongs to you; it allows you to own your experience. So many of the questions on Savage’s Lovecast pertain to coming to grips with kinks and then finding like-minded people. It is, in fact, not unlike the liberating satisfaction that comes with finding a fitness or nutrition strategy that works for you.
But something interesting happens when some people find out “what works” for them. They start to talk about it like it’s the best thing since sliced bread; and that not only is it what works for them, but it’s going to be what works for everyone. And that’s where it’s also exactly like having a tickling kink.
You see, it’s impossible to invalidate your personal experience. Who am I to say that not eating green string beans doesn’t make you feel better? Can I say that you did not, in fact, lose 40 pounds by putting tofu in your coffee? Or that you couldn’t have possibly gained 20 pounds of lean mass by squatting a slowly growing cow?
The fact is that I can no more deny your personal subjective experiences about your health than I can about whether tickling gets you off.
Where the disagreement would start to surface is if people started spouting off about their tickling kinks like they were THE thing–though truthfully, I have never seen or heard of this happening. If it gets them off, it has to get other people off too; and shouldn’t we all just try it and see? If I managed to feel better by not eating beans, then you should try it too! Maybe you’ll also feel better!
This is where ‘evidence’ (gawd, I am really starting to get sick of the word itself) and ‘anecdote’ part ways. This isn’t to say that _any_ research is better than a really good anecdote–There are SO many studies that I’ve read/reviewed that actually make the situation worse. But, by and large, well-conducted research allows us to see whether, on the whole, there’s anything working behind that anecdote other than what is basically a kink.
What’s funny is that if someone wrote an eBook about how they discovered tickling and how it’s is the best way to get your rocks off, they’d be laughed into a tiny pile of mush. But how many sites have you gotten junk mail/Facebook spam from on how someone felt better after eliminating gluten from their diet, and therefore, it could be the key to your happiness? How many “friends” talk proselytize (
holy crap, I spelled that right the first time no, I didn’t.) about the wonders of their primal lifestyle?
There’s nothing wrong with finding what works for you. Ultimately, you need to do what you need to do to get the job done. If that’s going gluten-free, or interval training, or white rice, or tickling; the job needs to get done. But what gets you off, isn’t necessarily what gets me off. There’s nothing wrong with telling your story; but it’s all about you, and really nothing to do with me; or anyone else for that matter. So let’s stop pretending your kinks are, or should be mine; fitness, nutrition, or sex.
Find your kinks (it’s fun!) But protect your willpower.