(I was asked questions by a media outlet, and as they didn’t post my answers in full, I decided to share them here in case anyone was interested.)
Softlygaloshes is a creator of videos that purposely trigger ASMR, which is described as a pleasant, tingly sensation in the scalp that extend down the back and out through the limbs. You can learn more about ASMR here. You can find Softlygaloshes’ videos here.
When did you start making ASMR videos? And why?
I started making ASMR videos June of 2012. But I’ve been making various kinds of YouTube videos since 2008. I started making ASMR videos because I’ve always had this thing about me where if I see someone doing something that I enjoy, I want to see if I can do it, too. And when I found the ASMR community, I instantly wanted to try it out for myself.
Have you ever used ASMR videos to get to sleep? Have any of your listeners mentioned using your videos to get to sleep?
I definitely have. Many, many times. Sometimes I just use them to relax or calm anxiety, but the majority of my usage of ASMR is to fall asleep. As for my listeners, definitely. While the tingles can feel pleasant to invoke for fun, I think for many, sleep is the goal at least 75% of the time.
Why do you think there’s so little scientific research being done on ASMR currently? What is the state of scientific research on ASMR, that you know of?
Well, from what I’ve talked about with people, most people who experience it don’t give it a second thought that they get this reaction sometimes. It seems common to not ask other people about it or discuss their experience until they happen to come across ASMR on YouTube. Not from embarrassment or shame, but they don’t really think of it as a “thing” until it has a label all of a sudden.
As for the state of scientific research, I know there are a few small groups working to gather information on ASMR, especially through the use of mass surveys.
There appears to be a push to distance ASMR from pornography, even though both tend towards intimacy and are fairly sensation-based. Why the push to distance the two?
I would say that’s because ASMR is not inherently sexual. Just like massages are not inherently sexual. In fact, most places would kick you out of a massage parlor if you tried to make it sexual, and that’s just the same with ASMR. Besides the fact that many of the people who make ASMR videos are underage, there are very, very few who are doing this with that intention. They are making the videos to help people relax, to ease anxiety, to help them sleep. They are not trying to engage sexually with the viewer, and viewers who try to make it this way are very looked down upon in the community.
Do you believe ASMR is unrelated to sexuality? Is it important to keep the intimacy found in so many ASMR videos non-sexual?
I would say that it is unrelated to sexuality. People can sexualize anything, even shoes, but that doesn’t mean shoes are inherently related to sexuality. I think it’s important to keep it non sexual, because as I said, the creators of ASMR are not doing so to be sexual. And making sexual comments or treating it as such is borderline sexual harassment. It’s unwanted sexual behavior and it definitely shouldn’t be tolerated. If there are people who do make videos with that intent, that is their own choice. But as a whole, no. ASMR is not sexual.
How would you describe the ASMR community to someone unaware of it?
The ASMR community is one of the kindest online. It’s one of the seemingly few areas of the internet where people being jerks is the minority. It’s based on kindness and generosity, and providing relaxation for others. Many who start making videos do so because they want to give back to a community that has carried them through dark times and brightened their days and nights. It’s a beautiful thing.
Where to Find Softlygaloshes
Softlygaloshes’ channel can be found here. If you make ASMR videos and wish to be interviewed, just send us a message with your ASMR channel, your email address, and when a good time to talk would be.
Make sure to share with your ASMR friends and leave a comment below if you liked this!