A guy I know is doing a Masters in Psychology at the moment. His thesis has an incredibly incomprehensible title but what it all boils down to is that he is researching the psychology of sex. He is so interesting to talk to, so naturally I was delighted to discover he was at a party I went to on Saturday night.
Richie is looking at some of the idiosyncratic behaviour that surrounds sex and sexuality. Things like role-playing, phobias and fetishes. It may or may not surprise you to know that I am fascinated by all that stuff. One of my flatmates at University for a short while supplemented her student grant by working part-time as a dominatrix. The stories she told kept me intrigued for weeks. She was a tiny little thing and there she was whipping corporate lawyers and surgeons while telling them they were very naughty boys.
Like Richie I can’t help but wonder what makes someone veer off the path of traditional sexuality. And I don’t mean sexual orientation when I say that; I mean, dressing up as babies, sniffing shoes and things like that.
We were talking about it at the party and so many people had stories of former partners with what was deemed weird or offensive behaviour that I realised I have actually led a very sheltered life. Most people were initially accepting of what they viewed as eccentric sexual behaviour but found that the behaviour became increasingly troublesome as the relationship progressed, which usually ended in a break up.
The sexual behaviour Richie is really interested in is what is known as object or objectum sex. Objectum sexuals are people who believe in an animate world and who love and have sexual relationships with architecture or objects. The most startling part is that they believe the love is reciprocated. There is a great documentary about objectum sexuals called I Married The Eiffel Tower.
If you get the chance to watch it, you should.
Initially, I laughed about it. It is very odd to think that someone could actually be in love with and sexually attracted to, the Eiffel Tower. I was being a bit of a smart arse so I said :Well, they’re not getting Centrepoint Tower. He’s mine.
And then Richie told me to read a bit more about it on this website. It seems there is a psychological basis for being an objectophile ranging from things such as childhood trauma to not being diagnosed as falling within the autism spectrum. Most objectophiles have trouble feeling comfortable with everyday sexuality and/ or relating to other people. They believe buildings and objects can offer them the comfort and stability a person can’t.
So I feel bad for making fun. I won’t call the police if I see someone fondling the lamp post outside my house. In the scheme of odd sexual behaviour being an objectum sexual is a harmless kind of thing, innocent even, particularly when you think of the depraved kind of stuff some of the fetishists get up to.
More than anything it confirms what I believe more strongly every day – that even if you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t. And that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
There was an interesting story line on the show Boston Legal about this a few years back – and the idea I got from it was similar to what your friend said, that it was a safe “place”, so to speak, for people who are uncomfortable around other people or in social situations.
Well that title dragged me out of the woodwork!
How strange! I’ve never come across anyone who has admitted to such a thing.
I did once have a pen that I loved more than anything and people teased me about that. It was a really fat black shiny thing, very phallic in shape and I’d sit there sucking the end of it when I was writing. It was called Fatty. At the same time I had a fan heater called Fanny.
Fanny got very smelly and had to be disposed of but I have no idea what happened to Fatty. I think he disappeared when I went on maternity leave.
Each to their own I always say but for me, a prefer a sexual partner that is actually breathing if possible.
Very interesting post! I would expect that most folks who are objectophiles were probably influenced by an incident (or incidents) from their childhood. Not necessarily traumatic ones – but as children we are open books – sponges that absorb each and every thing around us. We view situations that probably mean one thing, but since we lack the knowledge and maturity to understand said situation, we interpret it in our own ways. It seems harmless enough though, but I am sure that some folks out there will start raging on about how it is “immoral” and “straight from the devil’s workshop” and stuff like that. It seems like there is always someone looking to find fault with your personal choices just because they don’t line up with what they believe!
You’re comment on the Centerpoint Tower cracked me up, as did your description of your physically miniscule flatmate dominating corporate types!!
At the end of the day, each of us have our own sexual preferences. Having said that, as we go through life, and learn more about sex and about ourselves, our preferences may change. That’s not a bad thing. That’s just how we grow.
I bet that was any interesting discussion. It would also seem that the deviant behavior he describes can also contribute to someone who is somewhat unstable to becoming criminal.
One of my best and oldest friends here in California lives a completely different sexual type of life than I do and I’ve always found it fascinating. I love that she is open enough to tell me all about it and doesn’t balk when I ask her “but why?”.
Ah yes, us humans are exceedingly complicated, aren’t we? I took a “sociology of sex” class back in university and it was so interesting.
One nice thing about growing older and more confident has been my ability to identify and explore my own preferences, which makes sex so much more meaningful and satisfying. They’re not really that unusual, (no costumes, no objects, haha), but there are certain things – and when that matches up with a partner’s in the right way it’s pretty amazing. And not just sexually – it’s freeing emotionally.
So I guess whatever floats your boat – but much prefer a warm body to a piece of architecture! (I wonder if there are folks that live here in Toronto just to be nearer the CN tower…? hmm)
I used to know a woman, of whom we said she hangs her husband in the wardrobe at night, and goes to bed with his uniform.
We thought she was just rank-obsessed (honestly, she used to refer to him as ‘my husband, the Wing Commander’)but maybe … ??? 😀
Selma , your post brought to mind a good friend who has a single sentence opinion in regards to sex. It is …”Whatever floats your boat.” That’s it. Simple.
Which brought to mind Farley Mowat, who wrote “The boat that wouldn’t float.”
He tried everything to make his boat float, including sailing up a river at high tide , and letting the hull suck in mud at low tide, then sailing back out. All of the measures he took were only temporary, due to his inability to find the mysterious leak.
I agree with Gypsy! To each his own, and whatever floats your boat! But I prefer a LIVE partner!
That seems to be what drives them to the objects. I’ve been reading about some of the individual cases and it is actually quite sad. I feel bad now for initially making fun of them because they’re just looking for love and comfort like the rest of us. Hey, great to hear from you, hon!
I thought that title might get someone’s attention. Your story of Fatty and Fanny has cracked me up with its double entendre. I can barely type for laughing. Absolute laugh of the week 😆
You have cracked me up too. OMG, it’s not too much to ask to get a partner with a pulse is it? I love your dry wit. You are a character!
The funny thing is my flatmate was training to be a social worker. There she was offering tea and sympathy during the day and whips and chains during the night. I couldn’t get over the contrast. You just never know what goes on behind closed doors and that’s the truth!
Richie is actually looking at that and there does seem to be a correlation between extreme fetishes that are perhaps violent and later criminal behaviour. There seems to be a lot of anger within those people. That side of the research is quite alarming.
I think it’s great when people who are considered ‘different’ in a sexual sense can be open about it. It goes a long way to breaking down people’s prejudices. I know I would enjoy chatting to your friend. So lovely to hear from you!
I bet that tower in Toronto is a hotspot. Much like my Centrepoint Tower. LOL.
You’re right – that is the great thing about getting older. Emotional freedom is what it’s all about!
Now that’s taking ‘Loving a man in uniform’ to another level. That is too funny 😆
If you can’t find the leak, you are sunk. Literally. Hahahaha.
Oh, definitely. To each his own but I would like a fellow human. 😀
ahaha, Selma – love your take on the Centrepoint Tower. There are many splendid objects I have loved and adored over the years, but never fantasised taking to the next level. A friend has become a dominatrix recently – no surprises when someone told me about it. Cath -she has a web page and uses her name, so I can mention it here – was always brazen in talking about and exhibiting her sexuality. She never seemed embarrassed or shy about who she was. You either accepted her or not, your problem, not hers.
Your friend sounds very interesting – I also did a thesis for my masters in psychology (also with an incomprehensible title) but it wasn’t exciting at all. I love reading about all that stuff (except the really sicko necrophilia stuff). If I was to have a man with a fetish I think I would like him to have a shoe fetish (it shows some taste at least). Your photo cracked me up.
Good for Cath. It is incredibly liberating to know who you are and to not be afraid of it. Cath will probably make a fortune (my flatmate did) especially in this economy where all the corporate types are stressed out over their mergers and acquisitions. I hope she does really well.
I had a feeling you had a masters. You are very intelligent and articulate. I love reading about that stuff too but the necrophilia – that is beyond perverted. I can’t rationalise that kind of thing at all.
The shoe fetish guys are funny. Richie interviewed a guy in a bowling alley who took the job just so he could sniff the shoes. There is no way I could bring myself to do that. Ewwww.
Your dominatrix roommate beats out my unusual roomie. As a sophomore in college, I roomed with a divorced “________” geek who stalked me in my sleep and kept an unusual collection of dildos (I’d never seen one) on the bookshelf. I moved out of that room fast.
I, too, am very interested in psychology. I still read extensively about genetics (normal, abnormal, unsolved) , forensics, and just about all areas of psychology from memory theory, sexuality, deviance, etc. This post fascinates me and I’d love to read his paper when he’s done.
Uh, here in the states, there was a TV show called “Boston Legal” and it touched on sexual, or at least romantic attachment” to objects, particularly for those who find it hard to form human connections, like if one was coping with Asperger’s Syndrome.
As long as the difference in sexual tastes doesn’t harm others, like a shoe fetish, I’m ok with it, although I am not a participant. For an adventurous woman, I think I’m rather tame in practice. For other areas, like abuse of children and forcing adult partners to participate in “games” he/she doesn’t want to: that is beyond wrong. Also, as interested as I am, I don’t ask my friends about their practices, nor do I share. They already know I have a good imagination…let them wonder what “fuels the fires” here. ;D
(Photos that are definitely NOT deer are accessible at 1-800-gel-gyrates…only $100/min. $25 extra/”song” if I “sing”…”dancing” costs depend upon the costume, or…er- attire.)
I want to meet Richie! I find all this kind of stuff fascinating, too. I’ve led a fairly vanilla life — well, probably more chocolate than some, but still vanilla comparatively speaking — but would be curious to hear what he’s learned in his studies. I wish talking about sex wasn’t so taboo either. Certainly it’s less taboo than it was when my parents were my age, but I think people (at least here in the States) still get really uncomfortable talking about human sexuality.
I believe we all have something weird about our behaviour, whether related to sexuality or not, that could be defined as “deviant”. As long as it is not too conspicuous and does not disturb others, nobody minds. What I find most intriguing about it is the deeply rooted cause for such types of behaviour. If discovered, even with the most vicious deviations, it often turns out to be something surprisingly logical and understandable which may actually awaken sympathy where abhorrence is expected.
Hahaha. I bet you’ve had a few people try to ring that number. That is hilarious. I agree with you – it is best not to know the ins and outs of other people’s sex lives because if they do something that you perceive as weird then it changes your view of them. Many years ago a friend of mine admitted that her then partner liked to wear a wig with pigtails when they were in the bedroom. I couldn’t look at him afterwards without ‘The Lonely goatherd’ going through my head. Ley-oh-de-lay-oh-de-lay-hay-hooo. It was definitely a TMI moment!
Richie is a cool guy. He really thinks about things. I think talking about sex is still taboo for many people – particularly the emotional side of it – which is a shame. Maybe one day we can all change that. It would get rid of a lot of unhappiness if we did.
“Ins and outs”…You are too funny. So, it’s not just me who “associates.” Yes, that pigtail wig conjures up an image, but you put one in my head that adds spice not found in the kitchen- more like a sandbox I wouldn’t want to delve into. Your friends’ study makes my Masters Degree work look boring in comparison.
A very pertinent point. Unorthodox behaviour very often has a reason for it which makes it quite understandable. And yes, we all have our idiosyncrasies.
Oh yes, we won’t go where the pigtails might take us….
I’m sure your Master’s was just as interesting!
I wonder if Richie has come across The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff. She theorises that many social difficulties and heartaches come about in infancy when a baby’s primitive social blueprint doesn’t match what it actually experiences. It is a fascinating book.
I checked with him and he has read The Continuum Concept and agrees with you that it is fascinating. You are so well read – I am impressed!