Did you ever ask your siblings or friends to draw letters on your back or draw on your arms as a child? Absolutely love story time at school? Like having your hair played with? REALLY enjoy haircuts, eye tests, having your feet measured? Love drifting off to the sound of other school pupils putting their pencils away? Listening to someone in a waiting room flipping the pages of a magazine? Did any of these things make you feel what you thought were shivers down your back or a sparkly feeling in your head? Did they make you feel quite dreamy and sleepy? If so then you are ASMR sensitive.
But the phenomenon has nonetheless burst into the mainstream, thanks to mounting media coverage and a few high-profile references: “Saturday Night Live” alum Molly Shannon gushed to Conan O’Brien about her “head orgasms,” induced by the methodical touch of airport security pat-downs; novelist Andrea Seigel shared her experience with ASMR on the radio program “This American Life” last year; the “Dr. Oz” show has featured ASMR videos as a way to ease insomnia.
I’ve expereienced ASMR since childhood. Listening to Bob Ross was one of the more memorable, but I would also tap my pencils and school supplies, and leaf through books to get the same sensations. When I found ASMR videos on Youtube I first learned it was called “ASMR”. I didn’t know it had a name. Since then, I’ve watched lots of ASMR videos, and I’ve reached “immunity” on some triggers – tapping doesn’t work for me as well as it used to, but it works better after taking long breaks away from it. Slient hand movements in some of the reiki/aura cleansing videos work well. The triggers that affect me most now seem to be more visual now than auditory. Massage ASMR, Free Spirit ASMR, LuneInnate and Rose Harmonics are the Youtubers I follow who do lots of hand movement triggers. I also really like Ephemeral Rift, ASMR Node, and RaphyTaphy (even if their styles tend more to tapping, which doesn’t work as well for me any more).
“I just tried it because I thought it would help out my channel and it did, yeah,” Kelly says of her honeycomb video. When she started her channel in March 2018, Kelly made more traditional YouTube videos – filming herself applying make-up and eating different foreign snacks. “It was exciting,” she says of going viral, “because I was like, this could actually be my dream, I’ve always wanted a lot of subscribers.”
ASMR, or “autonomous sensory meridian response,” is the term for the sensation people get when they watch stimulating videos such as this one. Many people describe the feeling as “tingles” (or “head orgasms“) that run through the back of the head, neck, and, spine. For some, the feeling is deeply relaxing and can even cause them to fall asleep. This is definitely not something I experienced.
While many colloquial and formal terms used and proposed between 2007 and 2010 included reference to orgasm, there was during that time a significant majority objection to its use among those active in online discussions, many of whom have continued to persist in differentiating the euphoric and relaxing nature of ASMR from sexual arousal. However, by 2015, a division had occurred within the ASMR community over the subject of sexual arousal, with some creating videos categorized as ASMRotica (ASMR erotica), which are deliberately designed to be sexually stimulating.