Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

So it isn’t telepathy. Color me dejected.

I’ve experienced this all my life. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in a library or a classroom with people reading all around me, books quietly being opened, pages being turned, people whispering what they are reading to themselves, whispering to each other, and this feeling of being tickled in my brain, up and down along my arms and legs, a feeling of static electricity all over my skin surface would occur. It happened a lot.

I could not explain it. I didn’t even dare tell anyone about it for fear of being laughed at or being told I was hallucinating. The feelings persisted though, throughout my life. Anytime I was in a quiet space and these soft, rustling sounds would occur, I would get that familiar feeling.

I wondered about it a lot. I have a very active imagination. I wondered if I was telepathic or empathic or…? Even in my wildest flights of fancy, I couldn’t explain it. I dismissed the telepathic fantasy because I couldn’t actually hear people thinking, try as hard as I might. Dismissed the empathic fantasy because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with a particular emotion or set of emotions.

It was sounds and textures. Touching skin and moving my fingers softly up and down the skin causes the sensations, too. A few years ago I stumbled across the phrase autonomous sensory meridian response or ASMR, and I filed away the fact that there was an explanation for this weird thing I experienced. It was brought back to mind with this episode of Shortwave.

Short Wave – The Squishy Science Behind ASMR – October 17, 2019

It’s an encore episode, yeah I know. This was the video that I first watched way back when. Back when I first ran across the term ASMR and wondered if this was the thing that I experienced.

Accidentally GracefulASMR Unfiltered | Simple Sounds and Soft Whispers – Apr 30, 2015

Last year, when the Shortwave episode first aired, The Wife and I queued up some of the kinds of videos that the episode airs clips from. ASMR Darling, CosmicTingles, JellybeanASMR and others. We established pretty quickly that she did not get a reaction from any of the videos. She also noted the thing that the host of Shortwave first questioned. These are all young women. Is this sexual?

It isn’t sexual, although it might be related to a sexual response. Hard to say. I am not turned on by these young women. I find their crowding the microphones creepy. I understand that they have to be close to the mics in order for the soft sounds to be captured, but still. The mic isn’t the camera. Try backing away from the camera. You might discover that the ASMR response is higher if you aren’t looking at the video but just listening to it.

I haven’t tried playing with floam, the gag that Shortwave ended the episode with. The response can be triggered by tactile sensations, as I mentioned previously. I’m not a big slime enthusiast. It just isn’t my thing. Slime with styrofoam bits in it always struck me as pre-dirtied slime. Really not my thing. But put me in a crowded library with people quietly reading any day. It is an interesting (if slightly distracting) sensation to experience.

Author: RAnthony

I'm a freethinking, unapologetic liberal. I'm a former CAD guru with an architectural fetish. I'm a happily married father. I'm also a disabled Meniere's sufferer.

3 thoughts on “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response”

  1. This is interesting. I’ve have a similar reaction when I “become one” with the music to which I’m listening. It’s become more difficult for me to allow that to happen over the past two decades due to depression and other factors. For me, it’s kind of between a tingle and a chill. I feel it throughout my upper body and head. It definitely happens internally; not from the outside. It radiates outward. I used to also be able to make it happen on demand on particularly hot days and it would give me the sensation of being cooler for a few seconds. I’m not sure that this is ASMR, but I’d say it’s something similar.

    1. Yep. I’ve had it happen to music too. I can sometimes summon the sensation just by remember that time when it happened before, and the conditions that provoked it. I agree. It has gotten harder to experience as I’ve gotten older. I have no idea what that means, either.

      1. It will still happen with me listening to music, but I have to really “let go”. Not focus on the world around me. It helps if I close my eyes. Something you definitely can’t do while driving. Sadly, I listen to music in my car the most these days. However, I’ve made a point of going to a local park ever since the pandemic started. I park the car in the shade, roll the windows down and listen to music for about an hour.

        As for it being more difficult to experience . . . I think its all of the worries of the world.

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