It’s hard to explain why you like it. “It gives me tingles,” makes it sound creepy, almost sexual, but it’s not. It’s perfectly innocent. You watch these videos because they relax you, because the sounds of soft voices and gentle taps of fingers calm you down, among other things.
Crinkling sheets of plastic paper.
Hot water pouring into a tea cup.
Nails caressing a wooden table.
Your whole body practically goes limp as each sound makes your hair stand on end and goosebumps rise on your arms. But the more you listen, the less sensitive you become. Your favorite whispers no longer give you that precious sense of euphoria. The taps can’t bring out those gorgeous tingles. You search YouTube high and low for anything that will get you that feeling again, but nothing works.
You decide to take a break from it for a while. Maybe if you don’t listen for a few days, the sensation will return. But as you lay in bed, you don’t know how to fall asleep without it anymore. Your muscles are tight and your nerves hum with tension. You know it’s going to be a long night.
The wooden floorboards of your bedroom creak when slight pressure is applied. Your heart thumps in your chest, but you don’t move. There’s another creak as another step is taken, and it’s just what you’ve been looking for. Your body doesn’t quite relax like it should, but the sensation in your scalp is too perfect to care.
A few more steps closer, and you can hear them breathing. That wonderful silky sound wraps around you like a blanket. The bed dips and shifts as they crawl over you. You know you’re not going to make it to the morning, but as tingles run down your neck and through your spine, going deep, deep into your bones, you can’t remember why it matters anymore.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a term used to describe a sensory experience characterized by a tingling sensation in the head and scalp, which can be triggered by sounds like whispering or brushing, and visual stimulus like painting or drawing. On YouTube, the phenomenon inspired the creation of “whisperer” videos, in which people attempt to trigger the viewer’s ASMR by speaking in a soft voice and making various sounds with inanimate objects.