The New York Times wants you to know ASMR tingles, feels good and has nothing to do with sex…well for most people.
ASMR is a big phenomenon that is soothing, static-like sensations that people feel in response to triggers. These brain tingles pulsate on your scalp or back and can make you feel calm or pleasure that many describe as a brain orgasm. Getting a haircut and/or watching Bob Ross paint can also get you there. The private sensations are now very public.
The acronym ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and started around 2010 with videos created to stimulate a response. It’s exploded on YouTube with “video artists” racking up millions of views by whispering, tapping their fingers, flipping through the pages of a book, slurping noodles, making mouth sounds or even role play—all these things evoke a sensation and in turn a response. Just check out this one below:
For many people, like rapper Cardi B, it’s part of their daily routine to relax and/or fall asleep. Michelob created a Super Bowl Sunday around it. Despite the fact ASMR is becoming part of the norm, it’s getting resistance from those who see it as only something sexual.
In 2018, the Chinese government cracked down on ASMR videos. They viewed it as pornography being released as a genre. YouTube has flagged videos that are nonsexual examples of ASMR as inappropriate for advertisers, even though it’s not against their terms of service. This makes YouTube channel owners with hundreds of thousands of subscribers have to justify what they’re doing, as well as delete sexual comments on their pages.
Some tingle-inducing videos are overtly sexual and used in adult clips on sites like Clips4Sale as a technique. Experts do agree the tingle itself isn’t sexual and not intended to excite (not even the microphone licking videos with over 10 million views).
Little research has been done on ASMR. But in the name of science a study in 2018 found watching these videos reduced heart rate which doesn’t correlate with sexual arousal. Also, people didn’t report any type of feelings that correlated with sexual arousal. A 2015 found that 98 percent of people used ASMR to relax and only 5 percent used it for sexual stimulation. But what about the tingle itself? Experts swear it’s not sexual.
ASMR Darling is a YouTube channel with over 2 million subscribers run by a woman named Taylor. Because of the subject matter of her site, she’s been stalked and doxed. Her first video was as a teenager and it freaked her out that she was immediately sexualized. She feels sexualizing what she makes people not take her seriously. The on the flipside, she has had people tell her they don’t need over-the-counter or prescription sleeping meds and their depression and insomnia have lifted due to her channel.
Many channel owners believe sexual stereotypes have influences YouTube removing or limiting ads on certain videos—YouTube decides if videos meet “community guidelines”. YouTube has even been accused of censorship after cracking down on many types of content that some might find offensive.
This article and a video montage of ASMR videos originally appeared at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/style/asmr-definition-video-women.html