Oh Joy Sex Toy: A Pleasing, Tingling Sensation

Erika Moen
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I’ve been producing webcomics since I was 15 and doing it full-time as a professional since the age of 25 at Periscope Studio in Portland, OR. My work has been published by Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, Image Comics, Fantagraphics, Last Gasp and Villard, among my many self-published projects as well.

Oh Joy Sex Toy is a weekly comics series that graphically explores sex and sexuality. This week, artist Grace Allison discusses a little-known phenomenon called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. 

a comic details a sensory condition called ASMR

Read a bunch more Oh Joy Sex Toy comics, including one about how to sext like a boss

Want more from Erika Moen? Oh Joy, Sex Toy: Volume One is 268 pages of sex tips, interviews, sex toy reviews, and more! Get your autographed copy at BitchMart.

Here is a text transcription of the comic to make it more accessible for people using screen readers. Transcription by Morgan Kelly.     

Erika introduces this comic, “Dearest Perverts! Please welcome my friend and talented studiomate, Grace Allison as your spectacular guest cartoonist today! Enjoy!” A person with wavy purple hair waves and says, “Hi there! I’m Grace, and I experience ASMR.” Grace is then joined by two people, they ask, “What’s ASMR? Is it some kind of bondage gear?” Grace responds, “It does kinda sound like that, but nope! It’s a sensory phenomenon known as the…” Then in large bolded letters, “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.”

“This is very fancy acronym refers to a pleasant tingly feeling around the head and neck. It’s a response to certain visual and auditory stimuli, which we’ll cover a bit later! These tingles can creep down your spine and out to your extremities, and make you feel relaxed, sleepy, or even mildly euphoric. It’s often compared to the sensation of using a head massager.”

Grace explains, “I first noticed ASMR tingles while getting my hair cut as a kid. I never understood why other kids didn’t like it!” The illustration depicts two young children sitting in a barbershop. One child is smiling contently as they get their hair cut while the other child is screaming in a tantrum. The next frame depicts a young child watching a television; captions explain that the child is “strangely compelled” with a hair brushing scene on the television while a bored cat looks on. Grace says, “Some movie scenes would trigger it, too.”

One person speaking with Grace says, “I don’t recall feeling anything like that…” Grace explains, “Not everyone seems to be able to experience ASMR. Just because you haven’t felt it before doesn’t mean that you can’t though!”

The next frame reads, “The trick is finding the right triggers for you. It’s highly individualized, but some common ones are…” Grace includes illustrations with captions of these examples: “Whispers, also accented voices or unusual speech patterns, clicking or tapping, brushing sounds or sensations, pages turning, rustling or crinkling, close personal attention, tutorials (Bob Ross is suuuper popular for ASMR), writing sounds, gentle touch.”

The person asks Grace, “How have I never heard of this before?” Grace responds, “ASMR’s classification is new, and somewhat controversial. There’s no published scientific research on it, though that’s likely to change soon.” Grace shrugs and continues, “There’s also no record of ASMR in history, which makes sense to me… after all, it’s kind of bizarre to describe!”

Grace explains with an illustration of a historical scene. One person wearing a colonial style dress is explaining, “It puts me into a kind of trance—” as another person holding a flaming torch yells, “WITCH!”

Grace narrates, “Before the anonymity of the Internet, it may have been challenging to discuss.”

Grace returns to her conversation with the two people, they ask Grace, “Okay, but how am I supposed to encounter someone whispering and crinkling paper?” “The Internet, of course!”

Grace continues, “One YouTube, there are ASMRtists who create videos filled with popular ASMR triggers. They’ll often roleplay situations with close personal attention and some use 3D (or binaural) microphones to make it more immersive. Reddit also has an ASMR community that makes it easy to track down resources!”

Grace looks concerned and forewarns, “Go easy on those videos, though! You can get over stimulated, and those ASMR tingles will lessen dramatically. However, if you take a break for a few days, sensitivity will return.” One of the people talking to Grace says, “That sounds like what Erika described with a Hitachi Magic Wand.” Grace responds, “It’s a similar concept! But in spite of the parallels, ASMR isn’t related to the sexual response.”

Grace continues in the next frame, “It’s a common (and understandable) misconception. ASMR is sensual experience, and the videos can seem very intimate. Plus, the sensation is often describes as a braingasm. Still for most ASMR-ers, sex takes them out of the right head space to enjoy those tingles!” Accompanying this explanation there is an illustration of a person sitting at a computer while another person embraces them from behind. The person sitting has raised eyebrows and looks distracted as they say, “Do you mind? I’m trying to enjoy this towel-folding tutorial!”

Grace continues, “Still it’s very pleasurable and can give you a similar natural high. It’s even possible to experience with a partner! By exploring yours and/or your partner’s triggers, you can use ASMR to…” Grace then provides some illustrated suggestions “(just to list a few!)”: “Relax and de-stress,” two people are sitting close together watching The Joy of Painting. “Experiment with sensations,” one person is tracing designs on another person’s nude back. “Enjoy physical intimacy,” one person is whispering softly into their partner’s ear.

Grace concludes this comic by saying, “ASMR is full of possibilities, so give it a try and see what works for you. Happy head tingles!” Grace holds out a head massager to two people, “And don’t worry if you just don’t seem to feel it. That’s what these are for!”



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9 Comments Have Been Posted

This may sound kind of

This may sound kind of strange but I think I can make this happen to myself without any stimulation. I just think about it and it happens and it feels like an orgasm that starts and the top of my head and goes to my chest and I shiver and stuff. I never knew what it was or why it happened but wow if this is an actual thing and I'm not crazy then that's freaking awesome cause I can literally do it to myself without stimulation any time and that's freaking neat.

me too! as i read your

me too! as i read your comment, it happened! for me it can start anywhere but it's most common in my biceps, my face, my neck, or my thighs. weird. happens on a daily basis.

I'm honestly kinda surprised

I'm honestly kinda surprised to learn this doesn't happen to everyone. I've just always gotten this feeling at seemingly random stimuli. I think I'll pay more attention to what I'm doing when they happen.


Awesome! Thanks for covering this! ASMR RULES!!

So excited to see this

So excited to see this covered, here! I experience ASMR and have talked about "the tingle" since I was a child. Recently discovering the scientific name ASMR was life-changing. So fascinating!

For me:

For me, I think it's the sensation of someone "drawing" on my skin, especially my back and neck, or playing with my hair. I never knew it had a classification before, that's kind of cool!

Brushing a steel brush across a cymbal during a key change


Gets me every time.

wow I never knew this had a

wow I never knew this had a name or that other people felt it too!!

I experience it especially strongly when listening to Christian evangelists! (I'm not religious at all)

Cats purring in my ear

So now i know what this is called.... I get this when cats purr into my right ear (but only the right ear). some other sounds do this as well...

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