Image Source: Jeffrey Anderson

3D Sound and ‘Brain Tingles’ Make Cybersex Feel Real

Hear and feel your long-distance lover with cutting-edge microphones.

Erotic video makers and recording artists are combining two experimental technologies, 3D microphones and a phenomenon called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), to convince the viewer’s brain it’s being touched.

ASMR is the warm, tingly feeling that most people get from triggers like whispering or a head massage. In recent years, adult entertainment viewers have welcomed more tender scenes, which have many such cues.

While ASMR has only begun to gain scientific attention, adult entertainment company Girl Candy Films already uses the technology to send pleasure.

Image Source: Jeffrey Anderson

Regular 2D microphones have just one mouthpiece that detects sound. But the most common 3D mics use binaural audio—two microphones, one for each ear, that realistically record sound. When played back, it gives the impression of subtle movement from one side of the listener’s head to the other.

Other binaural mics have eight smaller microphones placed in a 360-degree circle around the upright mouthpiece. This captures the sensation of someone such as a sex partner moving toward, away from, and around the listener. American company 3Dio even attach silicone ears to their mics.

As early as 2008, ASMR had a non-sexual online community, while erotic hypnotist Isabella Valentine [NSFW] uses binaural sound and a soft voice to allegedly make people orgasm just by listening.

Here’s a more recent, not safe for work [NSFW], attempt by Fiona Clearwater:

Combined, they make the brain assume the person making sound is there with them, and the brain creates a sense of touch to go with it. This is called psychoacoustics and with video it’s a powerful illusion.

Academics are exploring ASMR’s potential to pleasure viewers.

Last April, researchers at Dartmouth College in the U.S. finished a study in which they scanned the brains of people experiencing ASMR. Results are in, but not yet publicly available. The original thesis by Bryson C. Lochte, which preceded the study, is published with a promising title: “Touched Through a Screen: Putative Neural Correlates of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.”

So how does it feel?

The voice and footsteps move around you. A voice whispers that they missed you, that you will obey them, or that you can do anything to them. When the voice comes close to one ear, electricity buzzes under your skin and down your spine. It’s part comfort, part surprise when you experience how real it feels. While ASMR has a sexual subgenre, most videos recreate non-sexual feelings like a haircut.

3D microphone makers want to create sound from above and below. Currently, they can only record around, in front, and behind. This would allow 100% immersive cybersex, rather than the horizontal ring of sound they have now.

One option is Ambisonics, an audio technique used by video games and theme parks. At SXSW 2014, leading experts mentioned that several technologies are close to above-and-below recording. The breakthrough invention will probably be binaural.

3D sound is set to be used with virtual reality like Oculus Rift, something that already has the attention of adult entertainment companies like SugarDVD.

Socially, 3D ASMR begins to look like the future when you see the video creators who are not companies but amateurs—almost all women—with expensive microphones. One woman kisses the viewer’s ears amid whispers in Japanese, and another describes the sex scene between you and her. Apart from the occasional financial dominatrix, most don’t ask for anything in return.

Despite adult entertainment’s rough, lusty reputation, viewers are choosing to watch real couples express real feelings. Erotic 3D sound artists have known this since they began recording. Wherever sound technology goes, it seems sexual entertainers will be ready.

Is 3D sound the future of cybersex or is this new technology too out of the box to catch on?

Feature Image Source: Jeffrey Anderson