Why Some People Marry Inanimate Objects

Speaking with RTE, former university lecturer Dr. Heinz Lechleiter recalled the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as "just a very, very joyful time. Full of tears also because everybody cried with joy." But Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer decried it as a crime. "What they did was awful," she lamented. "They mutilated my husband." In case it wasn't clear, Mrs. Berliner-Mauer's surname means "Berlin-Wall" in German. She first fell for the wall as a 7-year-old girl after seeing it on television. Over the years, she gathered images of her beloved and started seeing it in person, which presumably counts as dating.

Berliner-Mauer claimed she wedded the wall in 1979 and even had guests attend the ceremony. She didn't just love her hubby; she lusted after it: "I find long, slim things with horizontal lines very sexy...The Great Wall of China's attractive, but he's too thick. My husband is sexier." Ignoring the fact that she low-key fat-shamed the Great Wall of China, her words captured a fascinating psychological phenomenon. Per Psychology Today, Berliner-Mauer coined the term "Objectum Sexuality" to describe her feelings. Turns out other people felt the same way.

The inanimate object of affection

Erika Labrie tied the knot with the Eiffel Tower during a 2007 ceremony, according to the New Zealand Herald. In a way, saying, "Oui oui" to the most famous symbol of the City of Love sounds like the height of romance, or 1,063 feet. But most people don't see what Labrie sees in the Eiffel Tower, and not just because love is blind. "I find my type is an object that's misunderstood by the world," she said. "The Eiffel Tower is surrounded by millions of tourists who are in love with each other, not with her."

Labrie's Objectum Sexuality (OS) became the subject of the documentary Married to the Eiffel Tower. But the Wife-el Tower didn't feel like the spotlight shed light on her unusual sexual orientation: "This documentary raised misconceptions that OS people were inclined towards objects for the sake of control due to factors such as abuse and mental illness." According to Psychology Todayresearch by sexologist Amy Marsh suggests that people who form romantic attachments with inanimate objects don't do so because of trauma. One of the people she studied fell in love with their mother's car and expressed that affection through cuddling and self-diddling. The subject realized it was a "one-sided affair" and acknowledged an element of role-play was involved.

German sexologist Volkmar Sigusch has suggested that Erika Labrie, Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, and others like them have a "neo-sexuality" which echoes the social isolation of the modern zeitgeist. "More and more people either openly declare or can be seen to live without any intimate or trusting relationship with another person," Sigusch observed. Labrie, who effectively divorced the Eiffel tower after 10 years, had a far simpler take: "Everyone has a type they are drawn to. That includes OS people."