Thursday, November 13, 2008

Objects of Desire

So, no one wants to argue for the aromantic/romantic divide? I'm surprised by that...

And I don't even know where to begin with this post, but thanks to someone's link to this Wikipedia article from AVEN, I was introduced to Objectum sexuality (or, object sexuality). These are people who are sexually attracted to objects. Based on most definitions of asexuality, these people might be seen as asexual. However, I don't know if they'd view themselves that way. As you might imagine, it's a very small group. The most well-known objectum sexuals are Erika La Tour Eiffel, a San Franciscan who married the Eiffel Tower, and Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, a Swedish woman who married the Berlin Wall (and has a website on the topic). As you can see, both women took on the names of their beloved structures.

Although one article called objectum sexuality a "bizarre fetish", I tried to see where these objectum sexuals were coming from. When I thought about it, I realized that many of us have inanimate objects that set our hearts aflutter in some way. If you love San Francisco, for example, you'll probably have a stronger romantic reaction to the Golden Gate Bridge than you do to a randomly selected human. Look at all the people who drool over assorted cars. And "mountainsexuals" too, which I wrote about previously. As far as I'm concerned, the London Underground is what really lights my fire (I wrote about that here). While I do love scooters as well, they pale in comparison to the tube. One editorial goes further and states that "The thing is, we're all objectum sexuals, really. We might not go as far as promising to love, honour and obey the Thames barrier, but we're all still in love with things: we just lack the carefree confidence and, frankly, the balls, to admit it." (Full article here.) I can't disagree that humans love objects. But most of us, outside of a very small group, don't have sexual feelings for them. Berliner-Mauer says that she actually has sex with the Berlin Wall. Honestly, I'm curious as to how this is physically possible, although I wouldn't press the matter too far.

Objectum sexuality can be related to animism. Wikipedia says: "Animism commonly refers to a religious belief that souls or spirits exist in animals, plants, and other entities, in addition to humans. Animism may also attribute souls to natural phenomena, geographic features, and even manufactured objects. Religions which emphasize animism in this sense include Shinto, Hinduism, and pagain faiths such as folk religions and Neopaganism." On her website, Berliner-Mauer says that her love for the wall does arise from her animist views.

Interestingly, some articles state that a large number of objectum sexuals have Asperger's. Now, I'm aware that this is usually stated in a "they're just crazy" brush-off. However, if you're familiar with the autistic spectrum, it does make sense. I don't know why this is, but a common trait among people on the spectrum is a sense of a life force within inanimate objects. While I'm sure most people wouldn't refer to it as animism per se, autistic people often feel a sympathy and emotional connection towards objects that other people may not. Granted, for the vast majority, this does not lead to a sexual connection with those objects.

Aside from that one editorial in their defense (quoted/linked above), and well, this, objectum sexuality seems to be viewed as absurd. But I disagree with that. When one psychoanalyst called it a "condition", I rankled-- most asexuals have heard that one too many times. Yes, it's unusual, but objectum sexuality doesn't harm anyone, as far as I can see. No, I don't approve of every kind of sexual behavior (I could never condone sex with animals, for example). We try to create objects that are worthy of passion-- at least, I feel that as creative beings, we should. And if, by a small tweak somewhere in the brain, perhaps, some people take that passion a bit further? Is it really that surprising?

1 comment:

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