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Have you heard of, or do you experience ASMR, or Head Orgasms? None
Old 02-26-2011, 09:04 PM   #1
marlique
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I stumbled upon
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and thought, if anyone has this, it must be INTJs.

This has many names, usually in colourful acronyms, ranging from the serious and scientific, like ASRM (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), to the more lighthearted, like AIHO (Attention-Induced Head Orgasm).

It is a sensation described in many ways, namely

 
a strange, but pleasurable feeling that felt like tingles in the head which some described as akin to an orgasm or perhaps being on a high after recreational drug use.

Another description:

 
Some mistake this sensation for heebie-jeebies, chills, goose bumps or pins and needles. But these are all usually associated with generally negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, pain, or just being cold.

ASMR is thought to be a positive feeling, which usually results in bouts of euphoria, with varying degrees of intensity, often described as being similar to a tide sweeping in. It can fade in and out, or can be a more constant feeling all over the cranium, spreading to various other body parts with some people. Naturally, seeing as this sensation seems to originate at the head, its quite something if it can reach all the way down to the legs or even the feet! That would constitute a major hit, especially if its a whole body sensation.

It can be triggered by:

 
  • Listen to specific people talk (usually soft-spoken, well-spoken voices or lispers).
  • Listen to the radio or podcasts when these people are talking.
  • Watch certain TV programs, or YouTube videos, like instructional ones, infomercials, adverts, historical or factual programs.
  • People talking in a foreign or indigenous language.
  • Get tickled lightly, especially on the back or shoulders.
  • When someone strokes or plays with your hair softly.
  • Having your hair washed and cut at a salon.
  • When you listen to certain soft or distant, and usually repetitive, sounds like a bouncing tennis ball, trickling water, or construction noises like tapping hammers.
  • Listen to certain types of music perhaps ambient or industrial, for instance.
  • Watching someone draw a picture, paint, or build something, perhaps like a sculpture or even a card tower.
  • Watch someone write.
  • Someone drawing on your body.
  • People reading a newspaper over your shoulder.
  • People looking for something in their handbags.
  • Someone doing something very slowly and carefully.
  • People working at computers; perhaps the sound of keys being tapped or the click of a mouse.
  • Listening to someone chew gum.
  • Someone using sign language.
  • People whispering.
  • Listening to elderly people talk.
  • Listening to strangers talk, rather than family or friends and more well-known individuals in ones life.
  • From reading various pieces of reading material.
  • Someone showing you how to do something.
  • Someone clipping their nails or using a nail file.

I don't have it, but I find this phenomenon very intriguing. Any "sufferers"?
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:32 PM   #2
Vagrant
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I get chills down my spine when I hear something beautiful, like a well-done song or Morgan Freeman's voice.
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:43 PM   #3
phoboser
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Listen to specific people talk (usually soft-spoken, well-spoken voices or lispers).


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Massage therapist Lita gives me that sensation.

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Old 02-26-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
True Rune
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Not sure. I have "highs" when life is intellectually productive..but there's no "climax" or anything.
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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I am the moderator of the ASMR Facebook group, and the admin of the
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site, as well as the organizer of the research team mentioned on both. I am also an INTJ. I thought I'd chime in after coming across this thread. I've had this sensation for many years, and have not found a satisfactory medical definition. The 700+ members of the FB group and the forum members and blog watchers on the network sites seem to have similar accounts; many have, like myself, looked for an explanation for years. The current likely suspects the team are considering are serotonin - a moderate, consciously or unconsciously controlled burst - or other 'reward' neurotransmitters, (though dopamine seems less likely at this point, based on drug interaction accounts from group members). We're currently conducting online trials to pinpoint psychological aspects of triggers, as well as some remotely testable sensory information (we're soon to have a simple audio test, for instance, to take in data on the common audio triggers such as whispering and ambient clicking or breathing noises).
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:49 PM   #6
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Until tonight I thought I was just weird. The only person I ever tried to explain this to was my wife and she assumed the same thing.

I've had it triggered by many things. The most common is a hair cut. If I go in with a relaxed state of mind I experience at least one of these events if not multiples in waves. This makes me really reluctant to drop in for a trim. It's something I have REALLY need before I give in.

It's not sexual in away but it is deeply stimulating and very personal. I've always felt weird having a complete stranger give me so much pleasure but it is even weirder to have someone you sorta know do it.

And then there is is the whole male female thing and never knowing who you are going to get.

Lately I've taken to keeping my mind so busy and distracted that it doesn't happen.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:17 AM   #7
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  Originally Posted by phoboser
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Massage therapist Lita gives me that sensation.

Listening to her voice is sending me those chills down my spine. Weeeeeird. It feels almost like my neck is getting a massage -- and I'm not even paying attention to the words she's saying. Now I don't want to turn my head because my neck feels good. Also a strange pulse-like feeling in the upper right portion of my head.

Mine always seem to be audio cues.

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Old 02-27-2011, 04:35 AM   #8
Supaslim
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I'm VERY familiar with this phenomena, but I didn't know it had a name.

  Originally Posted by phoboser
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Massage therapist Lita gives me that sensation.

I actually listen to Lita and watch massage videos to help myself get to sleep, and have for a few years now.

Other than that, some music gives the sensation, usually if it has delicate or soaring bits (good modern example is Muse's Exogenesis trio, older example is Debussy's "Images"), being lightly touched (doesn't happen often enough for me to be desensitized to it), and cracking my joints.

  Originally Posted by Vagrant
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It feels almost like my neck is getting a massage

That, by the way, is due to mirror neurons in you brain firing off. Basically, they mimic what you think the massage recipient is feeling, which results in you almost feeling like you're being massaged. Pretty neat stuff.

--

I keep thinking of more to say, now that the idea's in my head. I'm a bit of an obsessive-compulsive, and counting my footsteps, biting/picking my nails, and knitting all do it for me too. And I really would relate the feeling almost to being aroused, but without the physical response in my nether regions. So the comparison to an orgasm in my head is suitable, I think.

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Old 02-27-2011, 06:49 AM   #9
masterpeach
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I wasn't even aware that the majority of people doesn't experience it...

However, people clipping their nails (in public...or meetings!) or chewing gum noisily make me go ballistic.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:38 AM   #10
protean
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I get this all the time with music. Happened at a Pink Floyd concert in the 90s, but may have been helped by the hash and tequila I was ingesting.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:47 AM   #11
Beric
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Chills down my spine, blood or something flowing up my back, arms, etc. It's a warm and pleasurable feeling. As I don't really have much emotion, it's a big thing for me. It mainly occurs with music, movies, communication and thoughts, or feeling sentimental. Been happening for as long as I remember. Sometimes I can even do it on will.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:02 AM   #12
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I have this happen to me, and I can usually make it happen whenever I want... I just assumed it was endorphins being released...
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:35 AM   #13
Arminius
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I've had this happen, typically occurs when listening to music. Typical triggers are either epic choral music, like the Chorus of Soldiers from the Decemberists and certain types of violin sounds.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:41 AM   #14
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I get this, in the rear/top of my head. Suprisingly, I was researching this a few nights ago. The internet said I must be having anxiety issues... It was caused by a Youtube video of someone talking.

It also happens when I become immersed in certain video games.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:09 PM   #15
Vagrant
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That, by the way, is due to mirror neurons in you brain firing off. Basically, they mimic what you think the massage recipient is feeling, which results in you almost feeling like you're being massaged. Pretty neat stuff.

Actually, in this case, I'm not even listening to the words she's saying. It's not mirror neurons, it's simply the sound of her voice causing it.

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Old 02-27-2011, 02:17 PM   #16
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Everybody doesn't get those?

Oh sad.
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:45 PM   #17
marlique
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I knew it! You frickin' INTJs, you're so fascinating. It seems to me like this could be the "T" counterpart to the "F" waves of emotion, which is why I immediately thought I should post about this here when I read the article. What do you think?

Keep the testimonies coming, this is so interesting!
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Old 02-27-2011, 03:36 PM   #18
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I thought this was normal. My experience has been I can trigger it to some extent, but mostly random. Rarely full body (unless it involves some one else interacting with me) and usually just radiating from my head/neck down my spine. I never gave it much thought...
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:40 PM   #19
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At first i was like "what is he talking about"

but then I remembered back in my teens, if people were like playing games where you draw on someones back with your finger, and yeah, that kind of non-sexual playful body contact, especially no back or neck, i'd experience this odd euphoria, but never really understood why or how to replicate it. Hmm. This was actually something I'd always wondered about but didn't want to ask anyone for fear of sounding ridiculous, or explaining it poorly.

Thanks OP, you've filled a gap in my childhood memory.
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:09 PM   #20
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I'm really surprised that not everyone gets this... Here's a description of the sensation:

For me, it comes in waves that radiate from my head, it seems like from the brain stem area, although it's hard to pinpoint.

It feels like a pulse is released into the bloodstream that quickly floods my entire body quickly moving out to my extremities. Each pulse seems to increase the sensation, the first wave is a nice sensation, the second wave feels good, and the third wave gives me goosebumps and feels really good... I just triggered it while writing this post, and had tiny visible goosebumps on my arms and shoulders.

The sensation is the strongest along the top of my head along the skull, my shoulders and upper arms, and my calves... it is also a little "toe curling" for lack of a better description it feels like a good cramping sensation at its most intense. It feels warm inside and cool on my skin.

If I try to trigger the sensation again right away, it doesn't really work as well... I can get a mediocre wave or two, but nothing like the third wave.

It's easy to do when I'm alone, and I imagine it would be harder when I'm around other people... certain music and thoughts cause it to happen automatically, although I can control it to a certain degree it if I'm prepared to stop it from happening.

Seems to reduce my stress level quite a bit after the fact, haven't noticed any other prolonged after effects.
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:23 PM   #21
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I thought everyone had that. I wonder if we're all talking about the same sensation.
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This is why I absolutely loved going to Open Mic at my old community college. The only problem that I've found is that a couple of hours after it is over you can become really depressed. Though, it doesn't last for too long.

I'd say I get it most from hearing people "talk smart". I also get it from hearing accents. I need to start listening to smart people with accents.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:18 PM   #22
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i get this all the time. i always assumed it was just chills. it often happens randomly and i'll sort of twitch or shake it off. which can make me look goofy in school sometimes.. it isn't always random though. people touching my head, or washing my hair will always do it. touching me sometimes does it. something brilliant happening will do it.

and of course:

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this song always triggers several of them in a row starting at exactly two minutes in. if you want to check it out, start at about 1:30 to let it build up. it is metal which i know is not going to be popular with everbody but the feeling it gives me is exactly what everyone has been describing and happens every time. i would be curious to know if it has the same affect on others.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:20 PM   #23
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Yeah, I do pretty frequently actually. It's no orgasm to me, but more like a feeling of peace and just awesomeness. I'd say I get them about once a month. And they're always caused by group things - meaning that I have never them when I'm by myself.

Normal causes include when I'm in a large group and the whole group goes quiet. When I watch someone doing something meticulously. When someone is showing me something.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:22 PM   #24
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  Originally Posted by pistachio
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this song always triggers several of them in a row starting at exactly two minutes in.


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This song is probably one of the strongest for me. I also get it when people wash my hair, especially during the rinse... thinking back, I can remember these happening to me as early as age 2, laying on the carpet and listening to the sound of a shower.

I don't know if it's related, but I'm sensitive to being touched, although people don't really realize that I am.

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Old 02-27-2011, 07:38 PM   #25
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  Originally Posted by Claudus
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I also get it when people wash my hair, especially during the rinse... thinking back, I can remember these happening to me as early as age 2, laying on the carpet and listening to the sound of a shower.

Same for me as well! It's such an odd feeling. I prefer getting my hair washed when I go to get it cut just for this reason.

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