Yes, it’s a very real thing.
It’s no longer a big secret that the majority of women have had a rape fantasy or two over the course of their lives, but unless you regularly frequent Reddit and other such underground-ish message boards, you may be surprised to learn about a growing trend of women getting turned on and experiencing “braingasms” while watching a niche trend of ASMR role play videos featuring the whispers of a possessive, jealous, ‘psycho’ boyfriend as he talks about abusing, threatening, and possibly even kidnapping them.
All of which raises multiple good questions.
In particular, what is ASMR, why would a woman enjoy hearing a jealous man whispering about the ways he intends to harm her … and could watching be a way for you to have orgasms, too?
To begin, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is defined as “an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.”
The concept can be better understood when the term is broken down as follows:
- Autonomous: spontaneous, self-governing, with or without control
- Sensory: pertaining to senses or sensation
- Meridian: a peak, climax or highest point
- Response: experience triggered by something external or internal
Most commonly, this phenomenon produces a state of relaxation, and so most ASMR videos are intended to soothe, with many people saying they find their favorite videos so compelling that they often find themselves lulled into a sort of trance.
People describe the ASMR response as feeling like the “tingles” you receive when you get shocked by a mild electrical current, and it appears to results from having your senses and/of sight or sound triggered by various types of outside stimulation.
Some common triggers leading to an ASMR reaction include:
- Listening to a whispering voice, particularly near your ear or where you must strain to hear.
- Listening to repetitive, usually quiet sounds, such as keys clicking as someone types or pages turning in a book.
- Watching someone do a mundane task a central focus point.
- Listening to someone explain a concept or describe an object.
Little “formal” research has been done ASMR to date, but a study conducted in 2015 identified four prominent categories of triggers.
According to the findings of a study conducted by Emma L. Barratt and Nick J. Davis of the Department of Psychology at Swansea University in the UK, more than 50% of the 475 participants reported to feel an ASMR reaction triggered by whispering (75%), personal attention (69%), crisp sounds such as metallic foil or tapping fingernails (64%), and slow movements (53%).
And while 98 percent of the study’s participants reported seeking out ASMR as an opportunity for relaxation, 5 percent also reported using ASMR for sexual stimulation.
Thus, a new genre of erotica has emerged, known as ASMR or whisper porn.
“Barrat and Davis also found that several ‘whisper porn’ lovers had synesthesia (the neurological phenomenon commonly associated with seeing numbers or words as colours), leading them to believe that rather than simply being relaxing, ‘ASMR seems to be a very multisensory experience’.
So people watching those YouTube videos aren’t just getting off to a pretty girl speaking softly (well, some might be), their brains are actually converting the sounds into a physical feeling.”
But, lest you believe it’s only men wanting to hear “a pretty girl speaking softly” turning to ASMR for sexual excitement, one of the most quickly growing categories within the genre is that of possessive, jealous and abusive boyfriend ASMR videos.
These boyfriend role play videos, which have been steadily gaining in popularity since 2017, are part of a larger category of ASMR videos known as “altruistic role-play care,” featuring YouTubers — or as they prefer to be called, ASMRtists — “posing as doctors, hairdressers, masseuses and increasingly as boyfriends and girlfriends.”
In these videos, the virtual boyfriend whose voice you hear calls the woman listening all sorts of degrading names, while sometimes telling her of his plans to kidnap her, while other times threatening to separate her from her family or to cause her physical harm.
Fascinatingly, the idea for these “psycho” boyfriend videos originated not with angry, misogynistic men, as one might understandably expect, but grew out of requests from female viewers.
ASMRtist CJ Lennox, host of YouTube channel CJ & Chill, told OZY he noticed a growing pattern of requests from women for more violent scenarios in the comments sections of his more typically sweet boyfriend role plays.
Explaining the inspiration behind his most popular video, titled “ASMR Jealous Boyfriend,” CJ said, “Someone had commented [on one of my other videos] saying, ‘Snap my neck, hit me with your car, *** down my throat and hide my body,’ with a love heart face.”
To date, that video has been viewed more than 330,000 times, making it three times more popular than his second most viewed video, “ASMR Boyfriend Treats You To A Massage & A Surprise.”
Rape and ravishment fantasies have long been one of the most popular sexual fantasy categories for women, and for those who find a narrative of dominance and submission incredibly exciting in their own imagination, as well as in books and movies, the multi-sensory experience of watching and listening to an ASMR video makes the arousal that fantasy elicits all the more intense.
It’s important to recognize being sexually aroused by rape fantasies and thoughts of being abducted or dominated in some other way does NOT mean that you or any other person of any gender wants to experience actual rape or ravishment.
When you act out a rape fantasy with a partner you trust and know to have your best interests at heart, as well as with whom you’ve negotiated the parameters and boundaries ahead of time, you retain a meaningful level of control.
Women who watch violent or abusive boyfriend role play ASMR videos are simply experiencing a new medium through which they can safely indulge in exploring these fantasies.
Plus, ASMR videos come with the added bonus of triggers which have been purposely selected and built-in to that elicit a specific physiological response in your body.
Think of how it feels when someone whispers in your ear or touches you softly in just the right spot, leaving you with goosebumps …
As troubling as this trend in YouTube videos may appear at first glance, possessive boyfriend role play in ASMR videos creates a safe space for women to enjoy their kinky BDSM fantasies about being overpowered while, ironically, remaining in complete control. Since the “bad boyfriend” in question is safely contained in the video, you can simply turn him off if things become too hairy.
Some women who are particularly susceptible to intense physiological responses to stimuli and triggers may experience a negative reaction as a result of watching these types of violent boyfriend ASMR videos, but they represent a small minority of potential viewers.
You’re more likely to either find these videos sexually stimulating than you are to find them frightening or triggering, but truthfully, most people find them quite boring.
You’ll never know how you feel about ASMR videos until you try one, of course, so if the idea appeals to you and you dare to give it a go, you just might find a new source of erotica to fuel your sexual fantasies.
Dr. Lori Beth is a sex and intimacy coach, psychologist, public speaker and author who works with individuals, couples and polyamorous groups to help them create and sustain healthy exciting relationships. She hosts two podcasts, The A to Z of Sex and Sex Spoken Here, every week. Book a discovery session to see how she can help you.