WHAT IS ASMR AND WHY DOES IT FEEL SO AMAZING?
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and is described as a tingling feeling usually triggered by certain sounds. The sensations can resemble a rushing or the feeling that your nerves are being stimulated. It begins in the scalp and cascades up and down the body—resulting in delicious feelings of euphoria. ASMR is most usually triggered by audio recordings, sometimes with accompanying visuals. It can be as simple as someone whispering, stroking velvet or even pouring out dried rice onto a tray.
ASMR has been used for calming the mind in relaxation for many years—think of the gentle lulling of waves lapping at the shore or the soft whisper of wind rustling through trees during meditation.
It can hone in on our deep senses, making our mouth water and our body shudder.
Of course in some instances it can cause very unpleasant feelings, if you’re not sure if you’ve ever been affected by ASMR think back to time when your knife slipped and skated across your plate making a horrible screeching sound—or the way you hunch your shoulders in horror if you hear nails being dragged down a blackboard.
So if you have felt those feelings before you can most certainly aim for the pleasurable ones!
It is a beautiful way to trigger the pleasure nerve endings and show that our senses are combined and heightened by the others. It can work for visual stimulus too, watching a knife sink satisfyingly into a spongey cake or a brush smoothing down long silky hair.
Scent can trigger ASMR responses in some people—so get that olfactory pleasure factory sniffing out some of your favourite scents and take a long luxurious whiff. Does it cause you to liquefy and your knees to tremble?
Certainly, the sensation of inhaling a lover’s scent, holding their t-shirt close to your face after they’ve left, is a powerful drug indeed. But can these be put together to make one almighty immersive experience?
During sex, we engage our erogenous zones using everything at our disposal to amp up the erotic experience. Someone whispering what they want to do with you can be highly arousing.
Watching someone simply tug at their clothing hinting that they might pull down their top to bare a shoulder.
ASMR reaches deep into our psychology drawing us in—you will find videos where you are given complete personal attention. The actor will speak in a soft whispering voice giving you their complete concentration, listening for your response before whispering a reply. Deliberately moving around the microphone to make the sounds travel, they catch and hold your attention as you almost strain to hear them.
It is a strangely intimate encounter; you know you are simply watching a screen but you can feel so connected. There are many types of sensual ASMR experiences on the internet and we are delighted to show that we have Jasmine Lau in the wonderful film SEXUAL FANTASY who engages you with her whispered naughty words to thrill and elicit that all-important sensual response.
There’s something so beautifully seductive about the static electricity that seems to surround the experience.
Not everyone can feel the sensations triggered by ASMR but surely nothing beats a bit of practise. Think of a time when you remember a sound that comforted or excited you. Like the crunch and squeeze of fresh snow underfoot. The ricochet of a ball hitting a wall in an empty street or one my favourites, sharp scissors slicing through cotton. All these things can cause sensations in some people, it’s surely just a case of finding yours.
Previously, before any research had been done and ASMR hadn’t even been given a name yet, it was commonly referred to as a ‘brain orgasm’. This was then changed to Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response to separate it from a sexual response. The most popular feeling during and after the experience was that of calmness and wellbeing, which makes it wonderful for relaxation. But there is also a real intimacy there. The feelings are akin to the physical sensations of frission—also known as a skin orgasm—and similar to physical stimulation. Think of having fingertips trailing across the sensitive parts of your skin; the inside of an elbow or neck and shoulders causing a bristling flutter of electricity. If you’ve ever tried an Orgasmatron a device invented in the 1990s that resembles a whisk made from wire coat hangers, you may recognise these sensations. The Orgasmatron was placed over your head and pulsed around your scalp—you’ll remember it inducing extreme pleasurable rushing feelings in the head, running down through the back and limbs—a purely physical way to conjure a very similar feeling to sensual ASMR.
Part of the effectiveness of ASMR is the intimacy surrounding the situation—especially during whispering, a sound just for you, surrounding and cocooning you as your nerve endings begin to tingle.
ASMR and its uses and causes have really only just begun to be studied in depth.
In fact, ASMR is currently being studied with a view to being used for therapeutic reasons—the relaxing immersive quality of the interaction, the feeling of being the focus of someone’s complete attention is a very potent mix to soothe and calm.
Here at FrolicMe, we prefer the phrase ‘brain orgasm’! And we know that the brain is one of the most powerful erogenous zones.
One of the studies carried out, found that 75% of respondents recorded whispering as a strong trigger for the ASMR tingling sensation, with personal attention and crisp sounds coming close second.
During our own research, we saw that this whispering indeed causes a response with a third of people reporting that they find it sexually arousing on its own too. We suspect that it all depends on what kind of language is being used. You can watch videos where you attend a hair appointment, the hairdresser focussing all their attention on you. The snip and slice of scissors as the stylist gently asks about you and your holidays may lead the experience into a relaxing one where your cares fall away along with the strands of discarded hair. However, change that to someone declaring their fantasies and whispering all the saucy things they want to do with you while perhaps revealing a shoulder or hinting at how turned on they are themselves, well, I think we can predict a sexier response.
Sex toy reviewer and blogger Petra Pan experiences general ASMR regularly and shared her thoughts:
“I do body scan meditations which make my whole body tingle and feel warm and relaxed. But in terms of a sexual response, sounds really do it for me as I’m predominantly auditory. Accents are a big thing; if I shut my eyes and listen to a sexy voice or accent, I can feel so turned on! Listening to dirty words in bed does the same to me. Imagining hearing my lover’s voice can tip me over the edge into orgasm.”
It is almost as if erogenous zones can be triggered in your other senses as well as touch. Perhaps it is confusing to think that only touch causes the stimulating sensations alone. Like a nibble on the inner elbow producing a shot of pleasure to the clitoris, a sexy whisper to the nape of your neck or watching your lover lick their lips slowly, can give the same feeling.
Kirsty Jennings advertising executive for the Erotic Trade Only magazine reports that she can conjure the sensations of ASMR at will… imagine!
“It is quite an erotic feeling, it’s just like the tingles I get when someone bites, kisses or licks my neck or ears,” she explains. “And very occasionally it has happened when kissing someone amazing. But I don’t tend to actively use it erotically if that makes sense?” Kirsty also uses it to combat the ‘bite’ of insomnia. “I use it to unwind as it’s hard being tense while tingly.”
I believe the sensual ASMR experience is very like massages or other intimate actions that can be used for relaxation and sexual stimulation too.
Even scent is in on the secret—one respondent, AM Harding, reported that he can’t even use a certain brand of coconut car wax as the icy tingly sensations it brings cause him to zone out and renders him incapable of completing the task.
What about taste? Can certain flavours give you the goosebumps?
And what other noises might trigger a sexual response do you think? The click and slide of a leather belt being pulled free of trousers? The groan and sigh of someone experiencing orgasms? What about visual stimulation? Watching a close up of tiny hairs rising on an arm, imagining goosebumps from a feather being trailed across sensitive skin…
For Missy From Focussed And Filthy her ASMR experiences are very auditory based.
“I don’t think I get it much for visual stimuli; the most obvious reaction for me is from music.” Missy describes the experience of being in the audience during a concert. “I was seated within a metre of a full symphonic orchestra (practically on the first violinist lap) as they played Greig’s Morning and it had such a physical effect on me—full body tingling and tears. Not sad tears. Not even really happy tears but such a deep down reaction, they just flowed. But sometimes the music goes straight to my groin. The goosebumps, the hairs on the back of my neck but then also the throb deep inside.”
It’s not just classical music for Missy, she tells me the album, Dummy by Portishead, elicits a similar response. “It doesn’t matter if I’m listening at home or hear it while walking through the shops. My body reacts and it makes me instantly tingly but also immediately horny.”
For Missy, accents also play their part. “I’m not sure if this is the same but Russian does it for me. And lately my husband has been learning polish on Duolingo and the female voice speaking to him in Polish does similar things to me. A heated rush to the skin, a tingle down the neck and a clench in my pelvis. I’ve not been to Poland or Russia. I’m wondering if I should plan a trip?”
It certainly sounds like it would be a holiday to remember! It is fascinating to hear about the different sounds and actions that trigger ASMR in some people.
For James who is an energy practitioner, he recalls a very vivid memory of when he first experienced the feelings associated with ASMR while attending an interview with an older woman when he was 18.
“As we finished the interview, we shook hands and then it fell silent. As I slid the chair back the noise of it dragging already began to arouse my senses, then when she stood up, the way she firmly gripped her little suit jacket and repositioned it sharply into place was another jolt into awareness.” James talks about the effect that the sounds had on the already intense situation. “But the main reaction was from her shoes. Each step she took as her heel broke the silence, I could feel reverberations up my spine and after she opened the door to lead us out to the library for the second part of the test it got way more intense. As we walked side by side the vibration from her impractically high glossy heel travelled directly up my body, each step bringing my awareness to a stronger focus, my balls started to tingle, this was new, do I have a thing for heels? As I glanced over to my left, we are parallel and my heart starts to pump, this is a whole other level of arousal for my young brain but I feel natural, I like it…”
Apart from brain orgasm, there wasn’t even a name for ASMR prior to 2010, simply being referred to before then as goosebumps or tingles, this could in some part be due to the fact that not everybody experiences ASMR at all and of those who do, the triggers and sensations can vary greatly.
Using sensual ASMR could be conducive to relaxing the body and mind and therefore an improved sex life. We know in sex, one of the things necessary is to have your mind free of every day stresses that can all too often thwart our libido at times. Perhaps drifting off on a wave of neurological pleasure while somebody whispers sweet sexy nothings in your ear, is the perfect way to relax and unwind, putting you in a beautiful open state for some saucy romance.
While there may not be much scientific research on ASMR there’s nothing stopping us from conducting our own sexy experiments!
Combined with massage and deliciously scented oils, you can really layer up your erotic session into a complete sensory and sensual experience. From brain orgasms to full body orgasms, I think it is well worth a bit of experimentation to see if ASMR is something that works for you.