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Hello. Come on in. Now, shhh. Relax. Please take your shoes off and lie on the futon. I don’t know where you should put them. Just in the corner or something. It’s a free country – put them where you want.

Welcome to my ASMR spa. Yes, say each letter. It’s not “azz-mur.” A. S. M. R. I’m an ASMR-tist, you understand. You don’t? R-tist. Like “artist,” OK? Because that’s what I am. If you don’t know what art is, I can’t explain that for you, but I guess I can tell you about ASMR. It stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response” and it refers to… you know, those little tingles you get when someone whispers in your ear. A lot of people find those really calming or enjoyable – before the sensation had an official name, some people even referred to it as a “brain orgasm.” Isn’t that interesting? Stop moving, please. This neck massage is just to start the relaxation process. The lavender fragrance does nothing, but it’s included in my fee.

What was that? Oh, people first started talking about the phenomenon in the early 2010s. No one really knew what to call it at first, and there was an even a blog made about it titled “The Unnamed Feeling.” Jennifer Allen is credited with coming up with the ASMR moniker. There, now stop asking me things. You’re supposed to stay silent and focus on the experience. I did not just stress your muscle. That was an adjustment. I’m the expert here.

From here on out, I will communicate only by whispering directly into your ears. Isn’t this fun? To get this effect, ASMRtists on YouTube use special microphones that allow them to most effectively replicate a three-dimensional situation. The whispering thing is really popular – indeed, the most popular and recognizable ASMRtist goes by the handle of “GentleWhispering” – but people do lots of different kinds of sounds. Tapping on things is popular… how about I try that on the top of your head now? Well, I’m not sure how well that worked. I think all the oil in your scalp might’ve hampered the effect a bit, but I hope you enjoyed that. Let’s call it an extra five bucks.

Anything that gives you tingles can be called an ASMR trigger, and there’s a lot of them. You’re triggering me in a different way right now because you keep moving, and it’s annoying me. I can give you something for those nerves, you know. I know a guy who has a connection. I can’t guarantee street prices, though. Hmm, why don’t you think on it? Maybe this ASMR stuff will do the trick in the meantime. There are lots of different triggers people will present in their videos. I’ve mentioned whispering and tapping, but people do all kinds of stuff, from blowing bubbles to squeezing fabric to chomping on pickles.

I think I have some bongo drums somewhere around here, so we could try that, but some ASMRtists just use their mouths. Did that sound sexual? Well, I don’t do happy endings, but there’s no shortage of ASMRtists who do. Erotic ASMR is plentiful, particularly if you’re a heterosexual male; you’ll find dozens of friendly (very friendly) ladies on YouTube who are willing to indulge your 18+ needs. But don’t worry: whatever your gender or orientation, there’s someone out there willing to talk dirty or moan into a microphone for you. Don’t forget to like, comment, subscribe, and support on Patreon! A few dollars a month might get you a shoutout or even a nudie picture!

Alas, I’m not offering any of that. Sorry. What? You weren’t going to ask, you say? WELL, I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW… what? I am whispering. I’ll have you know I get dozens of matches on Tinder, per day! Do my clapbacks give you tingles? Good to know. What was I saying? Oh, yeah. If you ask me, some of these “erotic” ASMRs aren’t any different from what you’d get on a phone sex line where they charge you by the minute. On YouTube, though, they’re free, so I guess that’s why people like them.

These sexual ASMRs are part of a greater trend among creators to make “roleplay” videos. The ASMRtist assumes a role and talks through a scenario while trying to work some triggers in. A lot of them involve someone taking care of you, like a family member helping you through illness, a salon artist cutting your hair (that’s a big one) or even a dermatologist working on your skin – I’d definitely recommend that last one for you, but more, like, in reality. Sorry, that was kinda mean. Don’t feel too bad; I have my share of skin problems myself. Like the other day, I woke up with my stomach covered in red welts, and– whoops, off-topic. No, I don’t think it was anything contagious. Anyway, more recently, there’s been a trend for humorous ASMR videos, too; sometimes people will make commentary on current events or politics, all while give you those tingles you crave. Like me! Right? Or did you want me to get the bongos? OK, good.

Want to hear something that’s weirder than that growth on your back? Well, a lot of videos labeled ASMR, especially roleplay-themed ones, aren’t ASMR at all. They’re just, like, people talking. I’m not sure if these creators don’t understand what ASMR is and how to do it, or they’re just trying to snag some more views by using a popular label. Don’t ask me. I’m not an expert. I don’t even really know what I’m doing now. I’m kidding, right? Oh, relax. Relax. That’s the whole point of this.

As for the science behind ASMR, you may be surprised to hear that there is… a bit. Researchers at the University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University performed a study in 2018 that supports its existence. By the way you’ve been writhing for the past 20 minutes, I’d say you’re a successful case study all on your own. ASMR really is a science after all – is it also an art? I call myself an artist, but I’m just here to get paid.

Now is the cooldown period, where you lie peacefully and reflect on what you’ve learned while I go have a smoke break. For most people, this is 15 minutes, but for you, I’m gonna say 45.

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