The End of Divorce? Growing Numbers of People Marrying Inanimate Objects

By Rachel Cernansky | April 13, 2009 12:14 pm

eiffel.jpgEija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer is married to the Berlin Wall. Like any couple, they’ve had their ups and downs, but over the years, they’ve been able to meet each other’s spiritual and emotional needs. “We even made it through the terrible disaster of 9 November 1989, when my husband was subjected to frenzied attacks by a mob. But we are still as much in love as the day we met,” Berliner-Mauer said last year.

Berliner-Mauer (the German name for the Berlin Wall, which she has taken as her last name) has since defined her love under the term “objectum sexual,” or OS—in other words, a person who falls in love with inanimate objects. As an animist, she, along with a growing group of others, believe that inanimate objects are sentient, intelligent beings.

Take Erika Eiffel, who is married to the Eiffel Tower. Eiffel says she recalls being attracted to objects even as a child, and realized she was different only when she saw other people at school dating each other, while she was dating a bridge.

Objectum sexuality affects mostly women, who develop affection for objects ranging from computers to national monuments to model space ships. The cause of OS—or the psychology behind it—is not understood: Some medical experts believe it is a type of paraphilia, or unusual sexual interest or disorder; others believe it may be indicative of a history of sexual abuse.

According to certified sexologist Amy Marsh, however, it could be a new sexual orientation. Marsh has surveyed a community of people with OS and said, “What I’m finding is not much history of sexual abuse, and actually not much in the way of psychiatric diagnoses either. I’m finding they’re very happy, and they don’t want to change. I am also finding out that quite a few of them have a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome or autism, but not everybody.”

Eiffel, for example, said she doesn’t have Asperger’s, a syndrome in which people have a difficult time forming relationships with other humans. For her, the tower fulfills her needs. “I know love is being reciprocated,” she said. “I’m not being held back. I love my life.”

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Image: Flickr / aeruginosa

MORE ABOUT: love, relationships, sex, women
  • eduard

    > The cause of OS—or the psychology behind it—is not understood…

    Hmm, maybe the psychology behind it is: do something absurd (like marrying a wall), tell all the media about it (at least the most gullible outlets), and then cash in fast via books, blogs, guest appearances on Oprah, etc…

  • Carman

    Lots of crazy people are very happy and don’t want to change … that doesn’t mean that thinking the Eiffel tower is reciprocating you’re love isn’t fult-tilt bozo.

  • jen

    Being in love with, or married to, the Eiffel Tower or the Berlin Wall does absolutely no one any harm. Life it too short to ever figure any human being out. If these two women are enjoying their lives and are content, then there isn’t a problem to solve. I’m sure the tower and the wall don’t mind the affection.

  • NervaVels

    I’m with Jen. If it harms no one, why fiddle with it? It certainly adds some depth to the adage ‘life is stranger than fiction’!

  • Marie

    Oh Brother… Now I’ve heard everything. They aren’t hurting anyone, or even themselves. If it makes them happy, then who cares?

  • Newrer

    > …realized she was different only when she saw other people at school dating each other, while she was dating a bridge.<

    These women believe they are sexually satisfied dating bridges, marrying walls and towers.

    Are there enough facts to determine safety or state of mind?
    I would not bet the farm on it either way.

  • chris

    I want my 2 minutes of my life back.

  • Rhino

    At least they’ve ‘formed relationships’ with interesting objects, as full-throttle loony as it is. I guess the OS stricken with low standards probably marry garbage cans or lamps & what not. They’re still infinitely better than those who marry a big pile of money – that just happens to have a man attached…

  • http://msn roger

    You think this is wacky? Wait and see – the OS married to the Eiffel Tower will visit Berlin, have an affair with the Wall and the Wall’s wife will sue for alienation of affection.

  • Tanya

    Love Roger’s comment! Interesting how this has been singled out as a female ‘affliction’. Has any research been done into male relationships with computer games or computers in general? I’m certain they won’t want to call it ‘marriage’ though due to commitment issues implied by the word!

  • Bijoou

    What about women who famously “fall in love” and actually choose to marry convicts on death row? Death row inmates are customarily denied conjugal visits and, as with bridges or Eiffel Towers, while the love may not be reciprocated or physically expressed, at least one need have no fear of acquiring an STD.
    I am, however, somewhat concerned about the consequences and the pain of infidelity. It may be just as easy to fall out of love with the sphinx as it is to fall out of love with a real life guy or gal and casually go on to pyramids.

  • Noelle

    In ancient times, many things were believed to have a spirit. And some religions still believe this as well. In Shintoism, the native religion of Japan, shrine priestesses would often “marry” the spirit of the shrine and remain chaste while in service. However, they were allowed to step down as a shrine maiden to marry in the human world and have a family. Some choose to marry, some stay shrine “maidens” their whole lives or at least until they have a successor.

    As long as the women in the article, and any other individuals with similar relationships, are happy and not doing any harm to others, that is all that matters. People should be able to pursue life as they wish when it doesn’t concern others.

  • P.B.Staunton

    Very fine and well so long as no one is hurt. If expansion of understanding of inalienable rights extends to such unions, including but not limited to legal rights with respect to property, consummation, divorce suits, etc. etc., some harm may be done. If these women reach the end of their child-bearing years and wish that they had been steered away from this, as any friend may steer another away from an unhealthy relationship, some harm may be done. We cannot simply exclude these possibilities.

  • Tess Eract

    If these people wind up with regrets, as Staunton suggests, they will simply join a long list of other middle-aged people with regrets over this and that that they wish they’d done differently when young. There’s lots of more picturesque ways to mess up your life, and then there’s some practices that might seem bizarre to an outsider but which actually do not cause harm. Ridiculing them does not seem likely to help prevent harm, especially when it is a phenomenon few of us know anything about.
    I think I read somewhere that the male objectum-sexuals, or many of them anyway, are off having sex with their cars, and not affiliated with the OS people that have been making the news. The curious can do some googling.
    As for the bozo factor, look at all the other crazy stuff folks do…or believe…it blends right in.

  • El Machismo

    i agree random person ive never previously met, thank you for your words of wisdom. now excuse me, i think my wifes having an affair with the pizza guys car again

  • El Machismo

    its so nice how random people who have never met before, and probably never will can come and socialize on social networks like this with no fears of being mol-sdfvbsjhrefeswgsvhefvhewcvh………..im sorry friend tigbitty, my wife had the hots for my personnel computer. im sorry to here about your wife too, i hope she can getthrough the pearly gates before she loves them

  • Tig Bitty

    Indeed, indeed. Websites such as MySpace and FaceBook are just crawling with disgusting 40-year-old’s trying to find a “soul mate” in a 10-year-old boy. The shame. It almost makes we wish I never got rid of my anal beads. Almost. And ah. My wife has had the hots for my electric screwdriver. Well. You can imagine the overwhelming embarrassment I felt while the doctor was removing the pointy end lodged up her “fun-zone.” I will say it again. B*tches be crazy. But I am sorry to hear about your wife. Be careful she doesn’t try to pleasure herself with the mouse. Those things can be impossible to remove once they are lodged in there.

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  • Emily the Vigorous

    Ha Ha. Very funny, Roger, El Machismo, and Tig Bitty. Amazing how something different, especially when it has to do with sexuality, causes so many otherwise adults to revert back to junior-high form. Setting aside for the moment Shinto teachings, what about those of the Buddha regarding compassion?

    Most of us who are OS are not looking for a book deal or an appearance on Oprah, nor do we publicly “marry” our “significant others”. I, personally, am in the closet (I do have a sense of humor, but no jokes here..) save for an inner circle of friends and close co-workers. Interestingly enough, my longest-term friends are guys who started out with conventional male ideas about me and eventually learned I had so much more to offer them instead of a roll in the sack.

    As for “regrets” about letting our child-bearing years pass by, I personally have never had any interest in bearing children. Open any newspaper and you’ll find examples of women who should have had the courage to admit to themselves that bearing children wasn’t for them. I am a structural engineering student at a local university, and say my job will be to create the buildings. Let everyone else fill them. As for others, sexual orientation is not a “phase” one gets through. Adult OS women will either have to accept the infertility that comes with their orientation or find a way around it, like lesbians who visit sperm donors or gays who hire surrogate mothers.

    Above all, please, please, spare us the androcentric sex-toy type fantasy images. We can do without those.

  • Natasha

    mehh.. if their happy their happy. its fine why is anyone that bothered what they do?? x x

  • Confused

    I guess I’m just wondering why it is legal for someone to marry a wall or a tower or a rollercoaster, but a man or woman wanting to marry a same sex partner is forbidden that right. Why isn’t there any public outcry when someone, who is clearly mentally ill marries a boat, but people are outraged if a man falls in love with another man. I find it strange that everyone talks about this being okay because who is it hurting? Can the same thing not be said about a gay or lesbian couple? Who is that hurting. I believe that we have to either decide to stay out of the bedrooms of everyone, or affored EVERYONE the same right and privilege. I find this amazing that this is legal, while loving happy couples everywhere are mourning the loss of a basic human right. Shame.

  • Emily the Vigorous

    Hey, Confused, OS marriages are not afforded any more legal status than homosexual ones. The women mentioned in the stories went through their own expenses and legal processes to change their names.

    IMHO, it is best for government to stay out of everyone’s bedrooms. Marriage should be de-recognized by the state. This would give the term “marriage” back to the people and groups to whom it means the most. Contract law should be sufficient to handle the details for any long-term domestic partners (whether or not there is any sort of romantic relationship) without being discriminatory. Tax law, for example, gives preferential treatment to a husband and wife with two kids, while hurting two single sisters living together with one of the sister’s two kids. And of course, a legal single like myself faces a lifetime of hosing, paying higher taxes while having only one earner instead of two to cover all household expenses.

    What you are really confused about is calling the hypothetical man who marries his boat “clearly mentally ill”. There was a time, not too long ago, that professional psychiatrists would label homosexuals as “clearly mentally ill”. Science has advanced a bit since those days. Let’s take advantage of it. You are worried about “public outcry” over one sexual orientation, and not even considering the pain of public ridicule for another.

  • fairlady68

    I have been reading with interest the intermittent articles and chat threads that appear on this subject. Since my media intake is pretty much limited to National Public Radio and our local newspaper, with occasional peeks at the New York Times online, I never even knew about OS until a counselor finally told me about it a few months ago. I have seen various mental health professionals all my life and have always been told I was the only one they ever heard of with this type of attraction.

    It was nice to find out that there really were others like me. I am in the closet with my OS love too…only those who know me very well know about it. (I have actually been “involved” with at least one of the structures mentioned in the stories.)

    I also have Asperger Syndrome, like some of the women described. (That is another thing I have had to figure out on my own, after years of mostly fruitless therapy with people who were clueless about it.)

    Unlike some of these OS women, my life has not been such a happy one, however, as I could never figure out why, or accept the fact, that I just am not that sexually attracted to human beings. The solution seemed to be to just let my sexual drive dwindle and be grateful that I had an early menopause, which has taken much of the edge off and made things more peaceful. It’s hard to focus on one’s work while at the same time being sexually attracted to the workplace, for example.

    Anyhow, I appreciate the comments of those who argue for empathy and compassion as opposed to those who want to throw stones at people whose mental and sexual life might be different from theirs.

  • Taja

    This isn’t any weirder than nuns marrying Christ.

  • Emily the Vigorous

    Heh, fairlady68, sister, I’ve also had a pretty miserable life..and it had little to nothing to do with my OS. I’ve been through the revolving door of therapists and been diagnosed with clinical depression due to all the hell I’ve been through up until about the last 10 years. They’ve all treated me as an asexual. Considering how romantic relationships have turned out really, really badly for almost everybody I’ve known, I think being attracted to skyscrapers has worked in my favor. Plus, we have a unique perspective on the nature of physical attraction that few others do because they take their attraction for granted.

    In any case, in the end, I’ve learned to work through and solve my own problems. This makes you stronger and cleverer. My sex drive seems to have intermittent power surges. The trick for me is learning how to channel it. If this were known about me, I’d have politicians and priests banging down my door begging me to teach them.

    Hang in there. Google “Objectum Sexuality”. We have our own website.

  • http://www.avoidchristiandivorce.com Tom Smith

    Hah, I’m sure there are better ways about getting around divorce. Why marry a wall, what kind of a conversation is that?!

  • http://pick-3-lottery-system.info rvb

    WOW…i don’t have idea that this kind of thing is happening. All i know is that obsession to a place or thing is something that really hard to get rid, but i can’t believe that some ended up losing the marriage just for that.

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  • Maddy

    I think these woman are just enjoying life while they can and if that includes falling in love with a tower or wall then so be it. Although I do question their state of mind, I see nothing wrong with what they are doing.

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  • Doyley

    I don’t think that this is wrong, but it is certainly strange. I believe they should keep living the way they do because it causes no harm, yet it’s impossible to stop everyone from pointing out how odd and unique this is.

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  • Sunnyblueseas

    I say good on them!
    At least these objects of desire can’t cheat on you,lie to you or give you a mouthful!
    I feel the same about my boats!
    @0cc8500f9dc368b84d99898c91e9fc61:disqus 

  • Maria

    lmfao.. and they don’t allow Gay Unions..

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