Whispering. Nails tapping on the table. Soft scratches. Eating. These are just a few of the most popular triggers that can send folks with ASMR (otherwise known as ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’) into a state of euphoria or deep relaxation.
Only a minority of people actually experience ASMR though, and their triggers usually vary along a wide spectrum. But even if you don’t experience ASMR, the sounds and sensations can still be used to enhance your sex life. Think about how good it feels when your hairstylist runs her fingers through your scalp. That shit is basically orgasmic, right? Sure, it’s not necessarily turning you on (or maybe it is!), but it is chilling you TF out.
So, uh, here’s a lil secret: You can replicate that same zen feeling and incorporate it into your bedroom for some amazing ASMR sex. Allow Mal Harrison, psychologist, clinical sexologist and the founder of the Center for Erotic Intelligence, to explain:
1 What is ASMR?
‘Broadly speaking, ASMR is a physical reaction of tingly, warm, euphoric, relaxing sensations triggered by sound and/or sight. The intensity of tingles and sensations varies from person to person, and what triggers one person with ASMR may not trigger another,’ says Harrison.
If you’ve ever heard of mukbang—the Internet trend where someone eats food on camera—ASMR is often associated with it because of the slurping, sucking, and biting of different foods.
2 What are examples of ASMR triggers?
‘Some people experience tingles and physical sensations by hearing specific sounds, such as the way someone says an “S” sound, while others are only triggered by nails tapping, the sound of brushing, or watching a hand as it paints,’ says Harrison.
Here are a few more:
- Clock Ticking
3 What do those ASMR sensations feel like?
People who have ASMR experience sensations that would be similar to how you feel when you’re getting a massage, or a facial, or that shampoo scalp massage from earlier. ‘For me, it reduces anxiety, helps me fall asleep, combats depression, and essentially puts me in a deep, relaxed trance,’ says Harrison, who also experiences ASMR herself.
‘Science has even shown it slows down the heart rate up to three beats per second.’
4 Can ASMR be considered a kink or a turn-on?
For the majority of people who ~truly~ experience ASMR, it’s not sexual. Pleasurable, yes, but not a turn on necessarily. ‘I’d compare it to how it feels while eating a great dessert,’ says Harrison. The chocolate cake might literally make you say ‘mmm’ out loud, but that doesn’t mean you’re instantly horny AF and ready to masturbate.
BUT! Those sensations can definitely help you relax, and when people are most relaxed, it can easily lead to sex or intimacy, says Harrison.
Now, as for all of you who don’t experience ASMR on a normal, day-to-day basis: It’s still possible for you to get turned on by ASMR triggers too.
‘Someone without ASMR may not experience the physical tingles that those with ASMR feel while watching erotic videos or listening to erotic sounds, but they quite likely can find themselves becoming turned on—especially if the content is made to feel intimate or downright seductive. Then, of course, the viewer can experience arousal,’ says Harrison.
5 How can people without ASMR incorporate ASMR into the bedroom?
If you’re not sure if you have ASMR or you’re not sure what interests you, your best bet is to listen to lots of different sounds, preferably with headphones, to see what, if anything, triggers sensations, suggests Harrison. (PSA: Spotify has tons of ASMR tracks to get you started.)
Then, you can segue into physical sensations: ‘Start by lightly touching your partner all over, like a light tickling. This type of touch has been known to trigger the deep relaxation state that ASMR does. Watching videos of people deliberately moving their mouths and tongues in specific ways could arouse some people, too,’ says Harrison.
6 Okay, what’s the most important thing people should know about ASMR and pleasure?
‘Anything that helps humans experience new sensations heightens our sensory awareness, which is the basis of play in all sexual activity,’ says Harrison. ‘Sex doesn’t just have to be the boring routine of kissing, touching, oral, intercourse, orgasm, done. Incorporating ASMR could bring out human eroticism in a way you’ve never experienced.’
This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com
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