ASMR: Did You Feel That Sound?

Girl laying down with headphones on

What is ASMR?

If you have spent any amount of time on YouTube over the last several years, you have probably seen videos tagged as ASMR. If you haven’t checked them out, you may wonder what exactly ASMR is. It is an acronym that means Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

What does Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response actually mean? It refers to the body’s response to a sensory trigger, typically an auditory or visual trigger and has been compared to auditory-tactile synesthesia. Responses can vary from person to person, but it is typically described as a tingling sensation. We all have varying degrees of sensitivity to triggers. Some people have no response to triggers whatsoever, while other people have described the sensations as euphoric.

The Zoom H4n, bread and butter recorder of ASMRtists
Photo By Hens Zimmerman (originally posted to Flickr as My Zoom H4n) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Why listen to it?

Most people listen to ASMR as a relaxation aid. Many people who are sensitive to triggers find that listening to audio files helps them get to sleep. It can cause feelings of comfort.

Some people listen to ASMR to become aroused. As I mentioned earlier, some people describe the sensations they get as euphoric. Some times triggers can generate physical pleasure.

Is it sexual?

This is one of the biggest debates within the ASMR community. Traditional ASMR artists, or ASMRtists, believe that there is nothing sexual at all about ASMR. However, there are also those ASMRtists that utilize sexual, sensual, and erotic themes in their audios and videos.

Traditional ASMR uses a variety of auditory and visual triggers that have been proven to generate strong responses in people who are sensitive to triggers. These videos and audios typically include sounds such as whispers, tapping or scratching various objects, and even simulating activities like hair brushing and ear cleaning.

If the sound of hair or face brushing gives you tingles, you’re probably ASMR sensitive.

Erotic ASMR typically consists of role-play scenarios that incorporate triggers from traditional ASMR. These scenarios can be as mild as experiences that stimulate the senses. On the other hand, they can be as explicit as role-playing sexual activity.

How sexy is too sexy for ASMR?

Both types of ASMR have their own audiences, although there is also a lot of overlap between their audiences. Many people enjoy both types.

Does negative ASMR exist?

I do think that negative triggers exist. A negative trigger that I experience is the sound of Styrofoam rubbing against Styrofoam, like the opening and closing of a Styrofoam egg carton. Another negative trigger that many people would be familiar with is the sound of nails on a chalkboard.

How can I find out if triggers affect me?

The best way to find out if you are sensitive is to try out different videos and audios. Auditory and visual triggers affect people differently. Peoples’ responses also vary greatly. So go find some ASMR videos or audios, and see if they trigger anything in you.

Where can I find ASMR videos and audios?

Search for videos on YouTube, Reddit, or

As I mentioned previously, you can find a lot of videos on YouTube. Reddit is also a good source, as there are several communities there. Additionally, there are websites, such as that exclusively contains links to ASMR videos.

Housekeeping: Also, this week, I completed revamping my blog posts Jimmy Buffett Studio Albums – Top TenGrieving the Loss of a Loved One, Highly Connected People: Bringing People Together and Influencing Others, and Artist’s Intent: What Is the Meaning In Art. Be sure to check them out.

Teaser: Next time, I’ll be talking about staying focused.

Wayne Cochran

Database Administrator, writer, social media evangelist, and occasional traveler, Wayne writes whatever comes into his head or touches his heart. His interests vary from IT to matters of the heart to the dream of a future beach life.

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