ABC has a history of pushing the boundaries between normal and abnormal sexuality - the pregnant man, transgenderism, bisexuality, incest - but the April 8 "Good Morning America" pushed the line to a new level with its report on "objectum sexuals."
"Objectum sexuals," as defined by ABC's Kate Snow, are people whose "intimate life revolves around objects, not people." Erika Eiffel, an "objectum sexual" who changed her last name to Eiffel as a reflection of the commitment ceremony she had with the famous Parisian landmark, further explained "we feel an innate connection with objects. It comes perfectly normal to us, to connect on various levels, emotional, spiritual, and also physical for some."
Eiffel, who believes "she was born this way," told Snow, "when other teenagers were dating each other, I was dating a bridge."
"Sexologist" Amy Marsh represented the medical community in Snow's report. According to her website, Marsh's practice includes dealing with "BDSM and ‘kink' issues, etc," "Hypnotherapy," and "Couples Education ... designed to encompass sexual and cultural diversity." She boasts a "certificate in sexological bodywork."
Snow summed up Marsh's take on "objectum sexuality" as "not a disorder, but possibly a new sexual orientation. She says more study is needed."
Marsh told ABC:
[Objectum sexual relationships] are real. They are complex. And they are no less and no more of value than other romantic relationships. I can tell you that what I'm finding is not much history of sexual abuse. And actually not much in the way of psychiatric diagnosis, either. I'm also finding out that quite a few of them have a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome or autism but not everybody.
Snow at least acknowledged the medical community's reluctance to immediately proclaim a new sexual orientation. "Some were skeptical," Snow reported. "Most said they weren't familiar with O.S. but suggested it could be classified as a paraphilia, a type of sexual disorder. Some psychologists say people with O.S. have been abused or simply have a fetish." None of those psychologists were interviewed for the piece, however.
Yet Snow appeared to redefine normal by only featuring a member of the medical community who equated "objectum sexual" relationships with human-to-human relationships. She also appeared to downplay the other experts' doubt by reporting, "Erika says she doesn't have Asperger's, nor does she believe her abusive childhood, shuffling between foster homes, contributed to O.S."
Snow further spun a positive picture of O.S., highlighting Eiffel's achievements, such as becoming a two-time world champion archer and admittance to the U.S. Air Force Academy. In each case, her accomplishment was attributed to her deep love for her bow and F-15 fighter jets.
Eiffel insisted to Snow, that despite "ridicule by peers, abandonment by her family and a medical discharge from the Air Force," all presumably as a result of her love for inanimate objects, that she's "happy ... not hurting anyone ... not being held back."
Snow's report also appeared to be a plea for research funding for this topic. She made sure to include that Marsh believes "more study is needed." And in the re-cap of the report with GMA host Diane Sawyer, Snow said, "There's no way of knowing exactly how many people there are out there like this. But there is this online community now. The Internet has made it possible for groups to find each other. And they're convinced there's a lot more people like this out there. If they could only find each other."
ABC is certainly doing its part to help "objectum sexuals" find each other and to encourage society's acceptance of object-human relationships.