In case you haven’t run across it, there’s a whole subgenre of streaming videos called ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, designed to sooth and relax viewers with sound. Some of the videos feature whispery women’s voices. Some videos are just fingernails tapping on a hard surface. Others feature ASMR actors giving medical or dental checkups. Different sounds work for different people, and the effect is a pleasing sensation ASMR fans call the “tingles.”
Not surprisingly, some ASMR videos venture over into the sensual/sexual side of things, and that’s where Chinese officials have become concerned. The Chinese government’s Office of Pornography sent a letter to Chinese video streaming sites telling them to “thoroughly clean up vulgar and pornographic ASMR content.” The streaming sites apparently thought it would be easier, or safer, to just remove all ASMR videos rather than try to figure out which ones were sexual. So they did. Naturally, Chinese ASMR fans are unhappy, and for good reason.
A 2015 research paper said relatively few ASMR fans use the videos for sexual stimulation. Most people, the study said, use the videos for relaxation, or as a sleep aid. But as ASMR has gotten more popular, so has the genre’s steamier side. Search for “ASMR” on YouTube and it’ll return 13.5 million results. Search for “sexy ASMR” and the site returns almost a million results.
Read the whole story over at The Verge.