Inside The Strange Yet Extremely Relaxing “Brain Orgasm” Cult On YouTube

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PBS Remix-Happy Painter

I have a tough time remembering a lot of things, mainly due to the years of abuse I put my brain through in college, but one thing I vividly remember is the first time I found ASMR videos on YouTube more than three years ago. At the time, there were very few people doing this on the internet, but it was obvious that it was gaining fast traction. The strangest phenomenon behind ASMR videos is that most of the dedicated viewers happened to stumble upon these on their own while venturing through the stranger parts of YouTube like so many of us do on a pretty regular basis. There’s really not even much word-of-mouth going on–I assume most people are embarrassed to talk about it due to the intimate nature of the videos. I’d say about one out of ten people are really going to be into it immediately, two out of ten come around eventually and open up, three out of ten are completely closeted followers, and the rest think that we’re absolutely out of our minds.

The first time I got caught watching one of these, it felt like I’d been caught watching porn, even though it’s nothing like porn at all. Writing an article about this is risky for me, because the people who don’t get it are going to really look at me in a different light–but read on and I think you’ll understand.

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s often described as a “brain orgasm,” although it’s in no way sexual. It’s just a way to slip into an extreme state of relaxation. I really mean EXTREME. The sensation of experiencing ASMR begins at the top of your head and travels down your back and shoulders, repeating itself in a slow, pulsating, almost rhythmic manner. You’ve probably experienced it before.

Did you ever have a time growing up where you had a teacher with an soft-spoken voice who occasionally would make your brain feel like it was tingling? Have you ever watched Bob Ross paint and it felt like he was tickling your brain? Everybody’s different, so it’s hard to make an analogy that’s perfect. One great reference is comparing it to “synaesthesia,” which is the union of the senses, where smell can be seen, or vision can interpret shapes and colors as numbers, and so on. Those with synaesthesia weren’t taken seriously until 1990, when scientists discovered that one’s level of synaesthesia could be measured and only certain people have it. It’s similar to ASMR, because the people who think you’re crazy for watching these videos don’t actually have the same ability to achieve the “tingling” response–as a matter of fact, many people will never have the ability to ever feel it.

Here’s a video by Olivia’s Kissper ASMR that helps explain what ASMR is. It has nearly one MILLION views.

Whether or not you’re into this in any way, shape, or form, you have to admit that it’s pretty impressive for something so underground to have such an enormous following. I expect this to be something everybody has at least heard of in the not too distant future.

Cody Mack Sutton is a born and raised Texan that only took five and a half years to proudly graduate from Texas A&M University. If he had a resume, it would probably be long and distinguished. Often referred to by his family as a "Renaissance Man,” Cody is currently holding out for a Senior level management position with a corner office.

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