Object sexuality or objectophilia is a group of paraphilias characterized by sexual or romantic attraction focused on particular inanimate objects. Individuals with this attraction may have strong feelings of love and commitment to certain items or structures of their fixation. For some, sexual or 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. Questions of its legality or ethical provenance have not arisen, given that inanimate objects are inert and are not 'harmed' through this specific paraphilia. Public sexual consummation of object sexual desires may be dealt with through public nudity or anti-exhibitionism legislation.
In 2009 Amy Marsh, a clinical sexologist, surveyed the twenty-one English-speaking members of Erika Eiffel's 40-strong OS Internationale about their experiences. About half reported autism spectrum disorders: six had been diagnosed, four were affected but not diagnosed, and three of the remaining nine reported having "some traits." According to Marsh, "The emotions and experiences reported by OS people correspond to general definitions of sexual orientation," such as that in an APA article "on sexual orientation and homosexuality ... [which] refers to sexual orientation as involving 'feelings and self-concept.'"
Sociolinguistic researcher Heiko Motschenbacher has developed the concept of humanonormativity to describe the marginalization of objectum sexuality. Humanonormativity is "the belief that people normally and naturally engage in sexual practices and romantic relationships with other human beings." It arises as a discourse that pathologizes objectum sexuality. This concept has been referenced in relevant academic fields, including research on fictosexuality.
In 2009, Erika Eiffel appeared on Good Morning America and The Tyra Banks Show with Amy Marsh to discuss her "marriage" to the Eiffel Tower and how her object love helped her become a world champion archer. Marsh shared the results of her survey and her belief that OS could be a genuine sexual orientation, and reasoned that if childhood trauma were a factor, that there would be more OS individuals. Eiffel, who had adopted her surname after a 2007 "marriage" to the Eiffel Tower, founded OS Internationale, an educational website and international online community for those identifying or researching the condition to love objects.
Marsh sees OS-like behavior in classic literature. 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.
Describing his passion for sculptures, Horace Walpole commented in 1791 that "Sir William Hamilton had actually married his Gallery of Statues".
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