Orgasms for your brain? An interview about the world of ASMR

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On Youtube there are countless of communities with specific themes, like gaming videos, beauty videos or even political and philosophical videos. There is however a large and very specific community on Youtube that I think not a lot of people know about yet and that has to put up with a lot of misconceptions. This community is the ASMR community.

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and it is basically that tingly feeling down your spine when someone scratches your back or you hear a pleasing sound. Right now you can either think ‘What the hell is that?’ or you think ‘Yes! I can so relate to this!’. People who make ASMR videos try to ‘trigger’ that tingly by making all sorts of sounds using a microphone. They can do this by tapping, scratching, whispering, anything is possible! ASMR is meant to relax you and helps you fall asleep better, although other people love studying whilst listening to ASMR. A lot of misconceptions exist about ASMR, claiming that is some sort of sexual thing or just over all really creepy. To help you make up your own mind about this very popular Youtube community, I reached out to an actual ‘ASMR-tist’ called Tiaraasmr, to answer some questions about her own experience with the making of and listening to ASMR.

What or who has inspired you to start listening to ASMR videos and how long did it take before you decided you wanted to make your own videos?
I discovered the ASMR community through the Youtube account of Masha (Beautygloss), a Dutch beauty vlogger. Even before she made real ASMR videos, she posted other kinds of videos where you saw that she got a face-treatment or a massage. I thought this kind of content was very interesting and it really appealed to me, I was really intrigued, because the videos made me very relaxed and I could always fall asleep easily when watching them.
When Masha started making actual ASMR content, I started to dive into the subject and do more and more research on it. That is how I ended up at all these kinds of video and started to understand what ASMR was. I wanted to make some videos myself too!

So why did you decide to make Dutch ASMR? You mostly hear English spoken ASMR.
What occured to me, was that there was actually hardly any Dutch spoken ASMR. Some ASMRtists were Dutch, but they speak English in their videos anyways. That is why I decided to make Dutch spoken ASMR. I already had a camera, so I just started recording for fun. When I uploaded, I got a lot of positive feedback and I decided I wanted to make more of this.

In the ASMR community, everyone has some personal favourites when it comes to the types of videos they like to watch. What kind of videos do you like to record and what kind of videos might be a little less interesting to record?
I really enjoy making chatty/whispering videos, where I tell my subscribers and viewers about the things that I have experienced or answer questions. Quite often I hear from my viewers that they love watching these kind of videos because I can just be myself and it looks like I am talking to them as a friend who is sitting in front of them.  I don’t really prefer making mouth sound videos (videos where you make noises with your mind, not really saying words but just combinations of vowels and consonants.

What do your surroundings think of you making ASMR? Was it hard to explain what it was to your family and friends?
In the beginning, a lot of people didn’t know what I was making. My parents and brother knew about my ASMR channel. My family really encourages me to make more content and they even help me think of new ideas for a video. When I start recording, they try to be as quiet as possible in the house, which is very sweet of them. But besides them I really did not feel the need for everyone else in my surroundings to know about it.

And why was that?
I don’t really like to show off and talk about myself too much. I had just rather that people find out by themselves. That’s actually how a lot of friends of mine found out about my channel. A classmate of mine even admitted that she had been watching my videos for a while, but just did not dare to tell me.

People that don’t know about ASMR may find it a little strange, or think it’s got something to do with sexual preferences. How do you cope with these kinds of misconceptions?
I understand them honestly, and I don’t think it’s weird that some people think this. Personally, I never found ASMR something strange and I never had any kind of judgement about it. Sadly, lots of people do not deepen their knowledge about something they do not know, even though you can’t judge something you hardly know anything about. But ASMR is simply not everyone’s cup of tea and I am completely fine with that!

How do you cope with feedback, through the comment section or other kinds of messages.
Luckily, I get a lot of great responses. I think that the ASMR community is one of the funniest and sweetest communities on Youtube. Some of my viewers can answer other people’s questions about me in the comments section, because they have been watching my videos for a while. I think that’s great!

And do you receive any kind of negative feedback as well?
Of course there are always some negative reactions, but honestly they don’t really affect me in any way. Although that did take some getting used to, you always know that there are some people who love to complain a lot or are simply jealous of you for one reason or another. My whole spambox of inappropriate reactions is full, it’s very convenient that you can approve reactions on Youtube first because they have certain words in them!

What has making ASMR videos brought you personally? Do you have a lot of contact with other ASMRtists?
Making ASMR has brought me lots of very sweet viewers, that give me a very nice and pleasant feeling. I do have contact with some other Youtubers, but not as much since I want to spend more time on school and my own channel. I once got featured in the Nieuwe Revu (Dutch magazine) in a big interview with other ASMRtists and I got to participate in an episode of Club Hub BNNVARA.

Thank you very much for your time!

Whether you listen to it every night before you go to sleep, or watch it once and don’t get the point at all, ASMR is a very large online community which might have a lot to offer for you. Why not explore something new and give it a try! It might bring you more relaxation, or focus, than you think…

By Lucky van Eck

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