Strangelove

This ground-breaking two-part documentary profiles extreme relationships that have never been portrayed on British TV before. The second instalment looks at women who are sexually and emotionally attracted to objects. These so-called ‘objectum sexuals’ shy away from contact with other humans in favour of structures large and small. The film follows Naisho, an American woman who has ‘married’ the Eiffel Tower and is in love with the Berlin Wall.

In San Francisco, 37-year-old Naisho stands proudly in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. “I am a woman and this is a bridge. And despite our vast differences, we are very much in love,” she declares. For Naisho – whose real name is Erica – being in love with a bridge represents many difficulties, not least the fact that she cannot be alone or intimate with it. “I curse myself for being human,” she tells her lover. “I wish I were an object like you.”

Naisho is part of a small group of people known as ‘objectum sexuals’ or ‘OS’ people. There are only 40 declared OS people in the world and all of them are women. Objectum sexuals exhibit passionate feelings for inanimate objects and project personalities onto their lovers. Many of them are in love with multiple objects; aside from her bridge, Naisho is ‘married’ to the Eiffel Tower and has even changed her surname to ‘Tour Eiffel’. She maintains a physical relationship with a piece of fence in her bedroom and in the past has formed lasting attachments to a sword and a bow. Her affinity with her bow, ‘Lance’, led her to become a world-class archer.

But why do Naisho and other OS people prefer cold, hard objects to living human beings? Naisho suspects her sexuality has its roots in her traumatic childhood, when she was molested by her halfbrother and abandoned by her parents. After living in different foster homes, Naisho endured a difficult spell in the military, and was eventually released from service on psychological grounds. “If I am the way I am today because of everything that happened to me, then I’m all right with it,” she says. “I wouldn’t change who I am now.”

The film follows Naisho as she travels to New York and then Berlin, where she visits another powerful object of her affection – the Berlin Wall. Naisho’s passion for such a controversial structure – a symbol of repression and pain to many Germans – leads to an uncomfortable encounter with a member of staff at the Checkpoint Charlie museum, which is dedicated to chronicling the wall’s bitter history.

Reflecting on the journey she has made, Naisho says that she sees parallels between herself and the Berlin Wall. “I just don’t understand how some people can bring someone into the world like a child – an object – and then not love them,” she says. But the wall, she adds, has taught her how to stand up and be herself. “I am the Berlin Wall. Hate me. Try to break me apart… but I will still be here, standing.” A reinvigorated Naisho completes her trip with a visit to Paris to be reunited with her beloved tower on the first anniversary of their marriage.

Elsewhere, the documentary profiles Amy, an objectum sexual in New York, who currently holds a torch for a fairground ride and a church banister. Like Naisho, Amy has a dysfunctional family history and has turned her back on relationships with men. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome – a type of autism – Amy has had to fight suicidal impulses in a bid to come to terms with her sexuality and the discrimination she faces.

However, with the support of Naisho and other OS people, she is able to express her feelings more openly. “Now that I have you and the rest of the community,” Amy tells Naisho, “the world can’t stop me.”

This ground-breaking two-part documentary profiles extreme relationships that have never been portrayed on British TV before. The first episode follows two self-proclaimed ‘mechaphiles’ – men who have physical and emotional relationships with their cars. The pair talk candidly about the nature of their passion before embarking on a road trip to attend a car show in California. How will these two rather different men react when they meet each other for the first time?

For the last 26 years, Edward has taken care of his lover, a 1974-era VW Beetle named ‘Vanilla’. “The minute I saw this car, I fell in love with her,” he says. “Almost every inch of her body has a certain sense of beauty.” For Edward, this passionate love for cars has its roots deep in his childhood. Over time, his “innocent affection” for automobiles developed into a full-blown obsession. In a very real sense, Vanilla is the love of his life.

The celebration of cars as lustful, sexy machines is nothing new. Car designs have taken on ever more seductive and curvaceous forms, even adopting human characteristics. But a tiny subsection of car fanatics have taken their love of sleek automobile design to the ultimate extreme. Incredible as it seems, Edward is part of a small internet community of ‘mechaphiles’ – men who have sexual relationships with their cars.

In his remote home in Washington state, Edward dedicates his time to caring for Vanilla and composing car-themed love songs on his keyboard. He reveals that his taste for mechanical love extends to a fascination with aircraft – and even claims to have made love to Airwolf, the high-tech helicopter from the 1980s TV series of the same name.

Edward’s unusual proclivity remained secret until 2001, when he bought a computer and plugged himself into the mechaphile collective. He puts the number of declared mechaphiles at 12, and claims that he is one of the best known. His love for Vanilla is something that Edward wears on his sleeve. “I get carried away, I must admit,” he says. “But I love her, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

Nearly two thousand miles away, in Missouri 20-year-old Jordan is another self-confessed mechaphile. Like Edward, Jordan developed his passion for cars in childhood. He too expresses his feelings through music and is in love with a classic VW Beetle. Jordan says that although he is not gay, he has never been attracted to women. “The only things I find attractive in the sexual fashion – or any fashion, really – is just cars and trucks and planes,” he says.

Edward and Jordan have agreed to meet each other for the first time at a huge car show in California. They embark on separate road trips in their vehicles; Edward drives his beloved Vanilla, while Jordan is in a 22-year-old Trans Am named ‘Todd’. Along the way, Edward wastes few opportunities to stop and admire cars that take his fancy – even expressing an interest in the filmmakers’ vehicle. When the unlikely duo finally meet at a motel in Los Angeles, Edward creeps out at night for a tryst with Todd – unaware he has been caught on film.

Once at the swap meet, Edward and Jordan show rather more interest in the vehicles than each other, with the former unable to keep his hands to himself. “I like to look at them,” says Jordan, “but unlike Edward, I’m not so prone to fondle them up and touch them because they’re not mine.” Where Edward displays a lascivious side to his nature, Jordan insists that his sexual desire for a car only blossoms once he gets to know it.

The young man seems unconcerned by the suggestion that, like Edward, his life may become very solitary as he grows older. He hopes that his involvement in the film will give heart to other people with unusual desires. “I just want to make it more comfortable for other people with similar strangeness in their love life,” Jordan concludes. “Maybe it’ll make them feel more comfortable with themselves.”

Coming soon to Five is a ground-breaking twopart documentary that explores the outer reaches of human sexuality. Strange Love profiles two very different types of relationship that have never been portrayed on British TV before.

The first episode, ‘My Car Is My Lover’, follows two men who have sexual relationships with their beloved vehicles. For the last 26 years, Edward has taken care of his lover, a 1974-era VW Beetle named ‘Vanilla’. “The minute I saw this car, I fell in love with her,” he says. “Almost every inch of her body has a certain sense of beauty.” Elsewhere, 20-year-old Jordan enjoys a similar relationship with his own Beetle.

Incredible as it seems, Edward and Jordan are part of a small internet community of ‘mechaphiles’ – men who have taken their love of motors to the ultimate extreme. The film follows Edward and Jordan as they embark on a unique road trip and share their remarkable stories. Their destination is a car show where dozens of shiny cars are on display – but how will they react when confronted with so many objects of desire?

The second programme, ‘I Married the Eiffel Tower’, takes a serious look at the emotional and psychological basis of a very different type of sexual proclivity – an overwhelming attraction to inanimate objects. The film meets one woman who has taken her passion for large public structures to such an extent that she has ‘married’ the Eiffel Tower. This woman is part of an exclusive network of object-lovers – or ‘objectum sexuals’ – who are gradually opening up about the unusual desires that dominate their lives.

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