PLEASE HAVE EARBUDS IN BEFORE PROCEEDING
When I was a wee sprig of a girl I noticed that occasionally the vocal tones of certain people, usually women, or noises like pages being turned in a book, would immediately relax me. I got this tingling sensation on the top of my head. It wasn’t an orgasm! I didn’t have one of those until way too late. The sensation is closer to how one feels when someone is lightly tickling their back.
A few years ago a friend of mine asked if I ever felt these tingles and I was surprised to learn it was not just me being classic Tisdale, a real weirdo. He immediately said I “have ASMR,” and sent me some YouTube videos made by ASMRtists (I mean the wordplay alone….). This begs the question…
If you’ve never experienced these tingles (the widely accepted term in the ASMR community and if you’re already feeling creeped out IT ONLY GETS WORSE) you can still enjoy ASMR videos. Here are a few of its many uses that are listed in the above video, and practiced by me…an ASMR aficionado.
- Sleep Aid
- Daily Relaxation
- Study Aid
- Alternative to Music
- Calming Down from Anxiety
- Helping with Depression or Loneliness
- Helps Promote Eye Contact (so much eye contact in ASMR videos)
Once people realized there was a whole world of sensitive folks out there just dying to watch people tap on things (wait for it) ASMRtists emerged, and it has grown into a huge community with a ton of followers. And these ASMRtists had to get incredibly creative to build their fanbase. Hey, if you’ve seen one eye exam roleplaying video you’ve seen them all (you couldn’t possibly see them all, there are so many eye exam roleplaying ASMR videos…I warned you about that eye contact.).
There is no limit to the categories of ASMR videos so I’m going to focus on what I believe are the most popular. If only there was an annual Pornhub style roundup of the most searched ASMR terms. I bet Hentai would always show up in the top 3 of that one as well. Just kidding! That would only happen if the tentacles were like scratching on a wooden brush (this is a real thing) or something. Which brings me to my first category.
Most ASMRtists will tap/scratch on anything wood, glass, boxes (as in gift boxes or when unboxing a new product), or thick paper. The first ASMR video I ever watched featured tapping on a wooden brush. Gentle Whispering ASMR is like the Beyoncé of ASMRtists. Maria is a trailblazer and because she occasionally brings her personal life into her videos we’ve watched her boyfriend become her husband and they’re both about to be parents (because I’m an asshole I was only half happy about this because you try making whisper videos with a baby). Now there are tapping videos that are 100% tapping but as stated this is the first video I watched and it’s how I discovered tapping was a trigger for me. It’s a CLASSIC.
Binaural Ear Whispering
Most good ASMR videos will feature binaural ear whispering which is a mic or mics that allow the ASMRtist to sound like they are whispering from one ear to the other ear. That’s a key component to experiencing tingles. Don’t ask me why that is, but you’ll notice an ASMRtist going from one side of a mic (or from one mic to another) to create the sound traveling from one ear to the other, and back again. Having high quality equipment is important in ASMR. You can definitely tell the difference. If you’re lucky you’ll get someone who has mics with ear attachments. It’s kind of an unnerving visual but then again you’re already listening to a stranger whisper gibberish into your ears. The judgment ship has long sailed.
I actually hate mouth sounds but it’s a very popular ASMR category so it felt wrong to ignore it. In these videos it helps the ASMRtist to have a very dry mouth which increases the volume of the mouth sounds. Are you nauseous yet? I am! As far as eating/chewing goes don’t worry, no one is showing you anything. They just bite into something noisy and get super close to the mic. It’s the worst date you’ll ever go on. Speaking of which I have yet to address the over sexualized elephant in the room when it comes to ASMR videos. This one is for sure gonna be the subject of some weird dudes’ fantasies. Yes, most ASMRtists are women. Yes, most of them are attractive but it’s entertainment so that’s just how that goes. Sadly dudes will jerk off to almost anything so even the most chaste ASMR videos are probably subject to that. Great job bros!
This is where the real creativity comes in. Some folks just use a simple green screen and makeup and some ASMRtists, like Goodnight Moon, go all out. She is out there doing the WORK. Her roleplay videos are top notch, complete with full costumes, makeup, sound effects, props and occasionally music. She actually took cosmetology classes (hell yeah I know too much about these people AND IT SHOWS) which you can see in her videos. Anyway I’m worried that my lizard brain doesn’t know the difference between ASMRtists and my real friends.
These videos are always nice, of course. I don’t think I have to make a case for a (usually) attractive woman whispering positive things into your ears. It’s surprisingly uplifting though, once you get past how weird you feel. Some of these videos have very intense eye contact and hand movements…almost as if they are caressing the sides of your face. It’s very comforting though and I say this having at least one bookshelf filled with self-help books.
I think these videos work for two reasons. One trigger is the sound of scissors cutting hair (this is usually done on a mannequin of course). The other trigger is you being able to identify with the “person” getting the haircut. Unless you hate personal contact (I just hate emotional contact) getting your hair cut is very relaxing, well the washing and the scalp massage part but really anything having to do with your head.
These are great for product placement/ads. Hey, these babies gotta make that money! But they are also perfect for gifts/weird shit. My favorite holiday series is when ASMRtists get together and decide to do a Secret Santa. Not only is it fun to watch (please just let me live out the rest of my life as your weird aunt who has sweatshirts with her dog’s face on them) but you also get a real sense of the ASMRtist friendships (AND THE ARCH NEMESES AS WELL). This video is not my favorite unboxing video but I love Tony Bomboni and there aren’t a ton of male ASMRtists I like. They always manage to make it even more gross and creepy. To no one’s surprise. I was once enjoying a lovely ASMR video that was a camera in a garage with rain on the tin roof and then suddenly from the left side of the screen a man appeared with one of those fake rainmaker things and I screamed. Anyway, here’s “Wonderwall.”
Most ASMR videos are weird. That’s a given. However some are absolutely fucking bonkers. Now, ASMR Darling is adorable (hence the name) but one day she released this goddamn insane video and I sent it to everyone I knew. Please enjoy if your triggers are circus madness.
Nothing in life is sacred, not even the pure world of ASMR. Both Fuse and W Magazine started dipping their toes into the world of ASMR by having celebrities do their interviews ASMR style. Most of the time it’s funny because you can tell they’ve never heard of it and so it’s incredibly awkward. Sometimes you’re lucky and they interview someone who is actually a fan so they know what to do. Insert Cardi B.
I included videos for my all-time favorite ASMRtists but there are some honorable mentions: Hailey Rose, TheOneLilium ASMR, The Lune INNATE, fastASMR, Bluewhisper, AuroraWhispers, Isabel imagination ASMR, Poki ASMR, Fairy Char ASMR, JellybeanASMR, LauraLemurex ASMR, MissASMR, and FantasyASMR.
The best way to listen to ASMR videos is commercial-free so I have a YouTube Premium account. There is nothing more jarring than a relaxing whisper sesh being interrupted by a Casper mattress. Some ASMRtists have their work on Spotify but I’m a purist. I will say that since discovering ASMR I’ve been less anxious and it has even helped me mitigate my emotional reactions to stressful situations. And like I said, I’m not entirely sure where my real friendships end and my ASMRelationships begin.