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.