Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Why watch videos where nothing happens?

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I was on my husband's phone recently and saw that he had been watching videos featuring lots of different women: Women who were doing things like folding towels, pretending to give haircuts and sometimes just whispering. Nothing sexual, just long videos of really nothing happening.

I didn't know what to make of it, so I asked my husband, and he told me that the videos are to trigger "ASMR," which he described as "deep relaxation" and "tingling in the head." He said that the soft noises and images help him go to sleep, or calm down. He said he needs them every night or he has trouble going to sleep.

After he told me this, I was honestly concerned about the whole thing; first that it was a form of addiction, and second, that he needed other women to relax him.

The whole thing feels a little bit weird. And I'm not sure if it's healthy to become so dependent on videos made by strangers.

My husband has offered to stop watching the videos if it bothers me. He's got no other problems that I'm aware of. He is healthy and a good husband, so I don't want to demand anything of him, but I'm a little worried about the impact these videos will have long term on both him and our marriage.

What do you think about this?

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-- Wondering Wife

Dear Wondering: ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which is really just a clinical-sounding (but not "officially" clinical) term for that lovely, shivery, slightly "spine tingling" feeling that humans sometimes get when stimulated by gentle sounds, whispers and soft repetitive movements -- sort of the way you feel when a soft summer breeze kicks up and washes over your skin -- pleasant, tingly and soothing.

Social media has helped people to describe and name the sensation, and people are also creating and sharing "triggers" to help others who want to feel this way.

The sound of sand underfoot, the pages of a book being turned, human whispers, the sound (or sight) of someone repetitively ironing or folding towels -- these are all triggers that people say they use to stimulate this lovely, calming and meditative feeling.

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