The first time someone sent me an ASMR video, I had no idea what was going on.
“What is this?” I asked my cousin, who had linked me the video, less than a minute in.
“Just watch it,” he’d responded.
The video was 35 minutes long. And though it weirded me out at first, I watched the entire thing. I couldn’t exactly describe the weird sensation I felt in my head as I watched it, or why it relaxed me so much, even though the video consisted of close-ups of a stranger staring straight into the camera, whispering calmly into a microphone. It was utterly bizarre. I started researching ASMR immediately.
Now when I show these kinds of videos to people, I get similar responses. First confusion, then admission that there’s something strangely appealing about what some have dubbed “whisper porn.” Don’t let the label fool you, though — there’s nothing inherently sexual about ASMR videos. Instead, many find them relaxing.
ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is a tingling response that some people get when they’re “triggered” by certain sounds — fingernails tapping lightly against the side of a glass, the crinkle of a potato chip bag, the soft, even sounds of someone breathing. It’s unclear how many people actually experience ASMR or why they might, though some research suggests that the brains of those who do experience it may be wired differently. One study also suggested that many of the people it surveyed who experienced ASMR also had a condition called synesthesia, where one sensory input activates another sense (like people who can taste colors).
So what do these “tingles” feel like? Here’s some answers from people who actually experience ASMR.
It’s really satisfying and stress relieving. It makes me calm down. I guess you could compare it to when you have the first bite of something amazing, just take away the eating factor of it. It’s that nice small euphoric moment lol.
Its like the opposite of getting chills down your spine when you’re cold or anxiety when watching a horror movie.
The cool, tingling sensation is similar, but instead of a bad “feeling”, it feels very relaxing and satisfying. Very euphoric.
For me its often triggered by watching videos with ambient, calm sounds like running / dripping water, gentle tapping noises or whispering. I also get triggers from other things, but those are kind of hard to explain, like the “mood” in a video where its not the sounds that are being made, but the way the person is behaving, if that makes any sense.
[It feels] like one of those whisk-looking scalp massagers.
For me it’s somewhat similar to the feeling that gives me goosebumps, but pleasant. It’s like a nice little shiver that runs from the back of the head down into the upper back.
The trigger for me is really “crisp” sounds. I don’t know how to describe this, but the opposite would be like someone sliding their hands audibly along a metal pole (that’s the worst). The sensation for me is wanting to consume the sound, haha. By analogy, it’s like when you smell really good cooking and you want to eat, except the sensation is aural.
Its something that I’ve experienced my entire life but never knew anyone else did until about 7 years ago thanks to the internet. It doesn’t happen to everyone, and if you don’t get the tingles I guess it’s hard to understand why someone would watch 45 minute videos of people tapping on random objects. Different triggers work for different people which is why there is such a wide range of types of videos.
The response is very similar to the biological response to having an orgasm, apart from the genital specific stuff.
It’s like someone realized the “tingle game” (crack an egg over your head) was real and the tingles are an actual physical response. Some people don’t get it, but if you find a right video then your scalp all the way down ur neck tingles.
I’ve noticed that all my life I get a rather pleasant feeling listening to people whispering, sometimes pausing what I am doing to listen in on people whispering on another side of the room. Nature documentaries with David Attenborough for example were always nice. I could describe the feeling as very relaxing and just enjoyable really but it’s not that intense.
For me, ASMR kind of feels like white noise in my head, kind of like when you see static on a TV. It literally feels like something prickling across your scalp and the back of your neck, except its warm and fuzzy. It’s not, like, something I feel all the time, but I do experience it with soft sounds.