So many things in today’s society determine who is allowed to marry whom. Being able to marry who you want is still a new and ever-changing concept in the modern world. And now, not only is “who” an important matter — so is “what.” Objectum sexuality is a relatively new term to describe what exactly is coming into play, and for those that identify as this sexual orientation, it is redefining what love and marriage look like.
Objectum sexuality is a term used for those who are attracted to inanimate objects, on a romantic, sexual or emotional level. The term itself, however, is not new; it first appeared in the 1970s to identify a woman whose strong feelings for the Berlin Wall prompted her to marry the concrete barrier. However, it wasn’t until Erika Eiffel “married” the Eiffel Tower in 2007 and appeared on talk shows in 2009 that the strong attraction to inanimate things became known worldwide.
Objectum sexuality is also, but not always, associated with a belief in animism. Animism, in anthropology, is defined as a religious or spiritual belief that nearly all aspects of life — from nature to words to weather to human creations — all possess some form of spiritual essence. Moreover, Amy Marsh, a sexologist, has done many surveys since she came across Eiffel and has conducted many studies to show that most people who are attracted to objects either have autistic traits or are on the autism spectrum, although not all.
In 2008, the documentary “Married to the Eiffel Tower” was released, exploiting both Eiffel and those who identify with object sexuality. With the help of Marsh, Eiffel was able to reach out to the public and talk more about what it means to identify with the sexual orientation. Eiffel appeared on shows such as “Good Morning America” and “The Tyra Banks Show,” and is now known in the community as an advocate.
Eiffel “married” the world-renowned monument when she held a commitment ceremony and changed her last name. Eiffel has explained that when she first saw the Parisian landmark, she felt an instant attraction, as many others do in their own object relationships. The famous tower is however not the first inanimate object to be in a relationship with Eiffel. Eiffel has also formed relationships with her Japanese sword, her fighter jet, the crane she operates, and an archery bow named Lance, which she states helped her become a world-class archer. Eiffel had also been in a relationship with the Berlin Wall before her marriage to the Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel is not the only woman to have had relations with the Berlin Wall either. In 1979, a Swedish woman by the name of Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer held a commitment ceremony and took on the wall’s name. This moment is also considered to be the first documented case of objectum sexuality. Berliner-Mauer is also the woman said to have named the sexual orientation in order to give a name to what she feels.
Some have noted that this new sexuality may be a disorder instead. Medical experts have classified it as a form of paraphilia, a condition in which a person has unusual sexual interests. However, after doing research on the community, Marsh argues otherwise.
National Geographic’s documentary series “Taboo” once covered a story on Eiffel and her love for the Berlin Wall along with Edward Smith, who makes love to cars. By mixing the two, the program fostered misconceptions about the term and the relationships of those who identify with objectum sexuality. By talking about feelings of love and admiration for objects in the same breath as those who only feel sexual desire for objects, the documentary created a false sense of equivalence. In reality, as advocates have insisted through the years, the difference between the two is immense.
Carol Santa Fe, another person in the objectum sexuality (OS) community, married the Santa Fe train station in 2015 after the two had been in love for 36 years. Santa Fe has stated the station is a female named Diadra. Linda DurCharme met Bruce, a Ferris wheel in 1982, but did not marry the ride until 2012 after a reunion. A woman who married a snake in an East Indian state is considered an OS because her ceremony was not held with the snake present but a brass replica instead. While these are only a few of the known cases of OS relationships, many are still left undocumented.
When we consider where the people are from, laws are also taken into account. Many of the marriages and ceremonies held for these individuals and their selected object are not always legally binding — take Santa Fe for example. In other regions, however, other individuals and their OS marriages are recognized by their culture. The woman who married the snake was accepted because it was believed the union would bring about good fortune — as a result, 2,000 people showed up in celebration. Another man by the name of Chang Hsi-hsum, who married a Barbie doll, believed his deceased wife’s soul resided in the doll and so her family gave their blessing.
With the help of Berliner-Mauer, Eiffel has been able to become the face of the objectum sexuality community. Eiffel and Berliner-Mauer have founded OS Internationale in order to help spread information and support for the community. Eiffel is no longer married to the French landmark but still defends her community from the stigma that follows it. Marsh still receives inquiries from media in regards to the OS community and when asked for information about an OS individual, Marsh points them to the OS Internationale. However, the community is now much more guarded and aware of how the media may exploit the lives of individuals in the OS community — perhaps rightfully so.