Object sexuality or objectum sexuality, in German Objektophilie (OS), is a pronounced emotional and often romantic desire towards developing significant relationships with particular inanimate objects. Those individuals with this expressed preference may feel strong feelings of attraction, love, and commitment to certain items or structures of their fixation. For some, sexual or even close emotional relationships with humans are incomprehensible. Some object-sexual individuals also often believe in animism, and sense reciprocation based on the belief that objects have souls, intelligence, and feelings, and are able to communicate. Contrary to sexual fetishism, the object to an OS person is viewed as their partner and not as a means to an end to enhance a human sexual relationship.
In February 2008, Erika Eiffel, an object-sexual living near San Francisco, California founded OS Internationale, an educational website and international online community for those identifying or researching the condition to love objects. The website generated a flood of international media interest.
Eiffel, whose name derives from her marriage to the Eiffel Tower in 2007, has been featured as a spokesperson in a variety of international articles, radio talk shows, and television programs and documentaries worldwide.
The logo for the OS Internationale is the Swedish Red Fence, Röda Staketet, and represents the fence of Mrs. Eklöf Berliner-Mauer who was the first acknowledged OS person to go public. The fence symbolizes transparency and division.
Prior to 2009, object-sexual relationships were treated as curiosities and sensationalized in the media. Medical, psychological, and sexological professionals categorized OS as a paraphilia, though without specific data or inquiry into this condition.
In February 2009, Dr. Amy Marsh, a clinical sexologist, contacted OS Internationale with questions about objectum sexuality. With the consent and cooperation of Erika Eiffel and twenty-one English-speaking members of the OS Internationale organization, Dr. Marsh conducted a survey designed to provide the membership with data which could be given to interested professionals and media representatives. This is the first known instance of quantitative and qualitative data collected from this community, and provided insights which encouraged Dr. Marsh to accept object sexuality as an orientation, not a paraphilia. The research results were published as "Love Among the Objectum Sexuals" in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality.
Objectum Sexuality flashed into mainstream and has been the subject in a wide variety of international media stemming from ABC News Good Morning America and the Tyra Banks Show where they featured Erika Eiffel and her marriage to the Eiffel Tower discussing how her object love empowered her to become a two time world champion in archery and her role as a spokesperson for OS.
Also featured was clinical sexologist, Dr. Amy Marsh to whom ABC News raised the question about objectum orientation versus paraphilia. Dr. Marsh shared insights from her recent survey research and revealed that she supported OS as a legitimate orientation with further study required.
When questioned by Tyra Banks regarding childhood trauma being a factor in being objectum-sexual, Dr. Marsh revealed that her research does not indicate trauma being a factor. She stated there would be more OS individuals if that was indeed the case.
In the summer of 2009, Erika Eiffel was invited to give a one-hour presentation to sexology students and sex therapists and educators at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, California. The presentation took place during the eight-day Sexual Attitude Restructuring (SAR) program given annually at the Institute. The presentation was moderated by Dr. Amy Marsh and it was taped and is now preserved in the Institute's library archives.
Dr. Marsh, writing a weekly column called "Love's Outer Limits" for Carnal Nation, began with three columns called "People Who Love Objects". She has also published "Love Among the Objectum Sexuals" in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, March 2010.
'She is my long-distance lover and I am blown away by how stunning she is. Other people might be shocked to think I can have romantic feelings for an object, but I am not the same as them.'
In the same month, 40 year old Reighner Deleighnie was interviewed by the Daily Mail newspaper regarding her romantic relationship with a three-foot marble statue of the Greek God Adonis that she bought for £395, and which she had nicknamed "Hans". A later example involved Val Theroux, a 64 year old Canadian woman who flew thousands of miles from Kamloops to the UK every year to see an Oak tree which she had fallen in love with. During the summer of 2012, Babylonia Aivaz, a Seattle woman, married a 107 year old warehouse, however, this particular relationship is not being described as object sexuality, due to the political protest nature of her marriage demonstration
In her research “Love Among the Objectum Sexuals” Amy Marsh argues that OS is not necessarily a new phenomenon and, on the contrary, may have existed for much longer than the general public might guess. There are examples of OS-like behavior in famous literature, most notably the passages about the cathedral bells in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
[Quasimodo] loved [the bells], caressed them, talked to them, understood them. From the carillon in the steeple of the transept to the great bell over the doorway, they all shared his love.
Claude Frollo had made him the bell ringer of Notre-Dame, and to give the great bell in marriage to Quasimodo was to give Juliet to Romeo.
In the first passage, it is worth noting that Quasimodo seems to have an object “type” – in that, the bells, in general, share and are his love – which follows typical OS behavior.
Another example of this type of behavior might be found between Pygmalion and his statue.
Richard Burgi made a guest appearance on Nip/Tuck portraying a plastic surgeon with a strong sexual and emotional attraction to furniture (couches in particular), referring to himself as someone with object sexuality and quoting text from the OS Internationale website.
In July 2010, The Music Theatre Company produced a musical stage play titled "Erika's Wall" telling the love story of Erika Eiffel and her long-time relationship with the Berlin Wall.
In March 2012, TLC had a segment of "My Strange Addiction" In which a man was emotionally and sexually attracted to his car. Similarly, the song "I'm in love with my car" from Queen's fourth album "A Night At The Opera" refers to being attracted to your car.
In 2012 CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed Nathaniel, the man featured on the TLC segment of "My Strange Addiction," mentioned above, who was in a romantic relationship with his car. On the show Nathaniel says that he is not attracted to just cars but also to jet skis and airplanes and more. Source: http://www.andersoncooper.com/2012/02/10/a-man-in-a-relationship-with-his-car/
Discovery Channel's Forbidden 2013 series features a man, from the Netherlands, who professes his love for bicycles.
Anna Calvi's 2013 song "Bleed Into Me" from her album One Breath was described by Calvi as "falling in love with a river, instead of a human- which I find very romantic- the idea of being consumed and carried away, of having absolute trust in a force which is so much bigger than you, and could kill you."
- "Objectum-Sexuality Internationale - Homepage for Objectum-Sexuals & Objectum Sexuality info with Objectum sexual history". Objectum-sexuality.org. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- "Gateway to the Berlin Wall: Objectum-sexuality and Animism".
- Snow, Kate; Brady, Janann (2009-04-08). "Woman Proves Love for Eiffel Tower With Commitment Ceremony".
- http://objectum-sexuality.org Objectùm-Sexuality Internationale
- Marsh, Amy (2010-03-01). "Love Among the Objectum Sexuals". Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality Volume 13.
- "Amy Marsh's Web Page".
- "Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality".
- "Love's Outer Limits".
- Marsh, Amy (2009-10-14). "People Who Love Objects: Part I".
- Marsh, Amy (2009-10-21). "People Who Love Objects: Part II".
- Marsh, Amy (2009-10-28). "People Who Love Object: Part III".
- Baker, David (2012-03-04). "'I'm head over heels in love with the Statue of Liberty': Shop assistant has got a new flame!". Daily Mail (London).
- "I'm in love with a three-foot statue of Adonis: Carer, 40, spends every day with £400 moulding of the Greek god of desire she has dubbed 'Hans'". Daily Mail (London). 2012-03-23.
- Hanlon, Chris (2012-05-20). "Barking mad for a tree: Canadian mother who is in love with an Oak flies 7,000 miles every year so she can be with it". Daily Mail (London).
- "Woman set to marry building undeterred by demolition work | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News". KOMO News. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- Emma Reynolds (2012-07-03). "Babylonia Aivaz: Woman whose warehouse spouse was demolished finds love again... with a NEIGHBOURHOOD | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- Marsh, Amy. "Love Among the Objectum Sexuals". Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Marsh, Amy. "People Who Love Objects". Carnal Nation. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- "Themusictheatrecompany.Org". Themusictheatrecompany.Org. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- Caffrey, Dan (2012-12-12). "Big Boi's Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is Visionary Hip-Hop". Music Section (Time). Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- Anna Calvi. "ANNA CALVI - my answers to your questions part 2". Annacalvi.tumblr.com. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- The OS Internationale website
- Interviews of Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer and Erika Eiffel
- Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauers website