The Controversial World of ASMR

At times controversial, ASMR videos have become one of the biggest trends on YouTube. But what are is its origin and why do so many people have split opinions on it?

ASMR, a term coined in 2010, stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. With the goal of relaxing the listeners first and foremost, ASMR has become a very popular trend on YouTube and further. The people who make these types of videos typically refer to themselves as ‘ASMRtists’. You can find tens, if not hundreds, of videos from these creators uploaded on YouTube every hour. Though at first, very few people seemed open to the idea and concept of what such a video could be, nowadays it seems like it’s gotten more acceptable to admit that you watch ASMR videos from time to time. 


The Love and the Hatred for ASMR

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New Africa/Shutterstock

There was a time during the early 2010s when people were a bit embarrassed to admit they watched ASMR videos for any reason. Although they’ve proven to be quite effective for people struggling with anxiety or with some level of insomnia, the talk around the creators of this type of content wasn’t always pretty. In fact, there are still plenty of misconceptions as to what ASMR even is. One of the biggest reasons people are put off by it is the constant sexualization of the concept. The NSFW content as a branch is certainly out there but it’s most definitely not even remotely what it’s about overall.  

Creators make these videos with all kinds of new and interesting ideas. If you look ASMR up at any point, you can find titles such as ‘ASMR to help you sleep’, ‘Brain Massage for Relaxation’, and such. Naturally, though, quite a number of people just don’t vibe with it. They have every right to feel that way. It can be off-putting and counter-effective when it comes to the promise of relaxation if you’re not enjoying it at all. One thing’s for sure though, you’ll know quite immediately whether you’re into ASMR or not. As soon as you play any video and if you’re already feeling off within the first few minutes then it might just not be for you. 

ASMR likely had its biggest peak around 2018. By that point, a lot of the early hatred had died down. With YouTube making it possible for anyone to be able to upload from anywhere, the number of creators who wish to delve into this field has grown exponentially. There have been studies into ASMR but it really is kind of difficult to distinguish why it works for some people and why for others it can be repulsive. It may very well just completely depend on the person. Unequivocally, there are infinite videos that you can try to see in which category you fall into. Strangely, there seems to be barely any middle ground when it comes to either liking or despising ASMR. 

Many different triggers are often used in videos trying to ignite a unique sensory experience. Again, which one may be right for you, if any, seems to be entirely up to chance. The largest line of such videos is the ones that concentrate on helping people sleep faster. Though the fact that ASMR works much better (at times solely) with headphones on is a bit counterproductive to the whole sleeping idea. 

All in all, this is simply something that’s not for everyone. However, with so many videos getting millions and millions of views consistently you can’t help but think that there is still a large number of people who are enjoying ASMR for one reason or another. Hate it or love it, creators are rising in numbers and the videos are endless, so the idea isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 



Photo: New Africa/Shutterstock

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