Objectophilia, also known as objectum sexuality, describes a sexual or romantic attraction to inanimate objects: buildings, cars, statues, bridges, furniture, you name it. People with this condition might also believe these objects have personalities and can communicate with them.
It’s a type of paraphilia: an unusual or atypical sexual interest or behavior. But unlike some paraphilias, objectophilia doesn’t involve harming or exploiting anyone, and nothing unethical or illegal is happening, unless it involves public nudity or exhibitionism. Or if you take someone else’s object without permission and use it for adult purposes. Because then you’d be left with the option of either keeping it or returning it, and we’re not really sure which is worse. Of course you can clean it off (or wash it out), but still.
Anyway, this condition is pretty rare, and it’s unclear how many people actually identify as objectophiles. But online communities and websites do exist for it. OS Internationale was founded by Erika Eiffel, a woman who “married” the Eiffel Tower in 2007.
Eiffel also happens to be a former champion archer. According to The Independent, she attributes much of her athletic success to Lance, the bow she had a relationship with before committing herself to the famous structure in Paris.
The exact causes of this bizarre condition are still unknown, and there’s no single theory that can explain it. But some researchers think it may be caused by early childhood trauma or a lack of emotional support. Others think it might simply be a neurological condition and some psychiatrists connect it to autism.
Quite a few of the folks who’ve developed relationships with objects, maybe all of them, have grabbed the attention of the media. Here are just a few:
Eija-Riitta Eklöf-Berliner-Mauer married the Berlin Wall in 1979 (like Eiffel above, none of these are legal marriages). The Swedish woman said the wall first got her attention when she was seven. She saw the tearing down of the wall as a catastrophe and until her 2015 death, she slept with a miniature model of it.
Akihiko Kondo, a man from Japan, married an animated pop-idol character named Hatsune Miku in 2018, though none of his relatives attended the ceremony. Miku is a “Vocaloid” (Yamaha software that lets you make songs with different voices) and is supposed to be a 16-year-old girl with blue hair. She also appears in the form of a hologram at concerts.
Amanda Liberty was Amanda Whittaker until she married the Statue of Liberty in 2010. The woman, from England, first visited the statue in 2008 and felt an instant connection. She has since visited the statue several times and has a collection of replica statues at home. Liberty became Whittaker again when she left the statue for a chandelier.
In 2009, a Pennsylvania woman named Amy Wolfe married 1001 Nacht, an amusement park ride. This is apparently an open relationship, as the Pennsylvania woman claims to have had sexual encounters with church bannisters, spaceship models and a church organ.
A 28-year-old Korean man named Lee Jin-Gyu married his Japanese body pillow, also referred to as a dakimakura, which had an image of his favorite anime character, Fate Testarossa, imprinted on it. At the ceremony, he put the pillow in a wedding dress.
In 2010, a Korean man named Lee Jin-gyu married his ‘dakimakura’ – a large and huggable anime pillow from Japan. pic.twitter.com/o9eE0aDfsv
— SERIOUSLY STRANGE (@SeriousStrange) March 10, 2015