The term for people who find themselves attracted to inanimate objects is "objectophilia" or "object-sexuals" or OS. Originally considered a paraphilia (an unusual type of sexual attraction), it's more recently been deemed a form of sexuality after research conducted by clinical sexologist Dr. Amy Marsh. OS's tend to also believe in animism, the belief that all objects have souls, feelings and intelligence.
Recently, there has been an increase in recorded cases of OS. No one knows the exact cause of a person's sexual interest being devoted to objects rather than people. However, in 2009 Dr. Marsh appeared on The Tyra Banks Show and stated for the record that research does not indicate that childhood trauma is a factor in OS.
Dr. Marsh is also dubious as to whether this is a new phenomenon at all. In Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame there is a passage that appears to be OS in nature:
[Quasimodo] loved [the bells], caressed them, talked to them, understood them. From the carillon in the steeple of the transept to the great bell over the doorway, they all shared his love
According to Dr. Marsh this scene perfectly represents an OS's attraction. However, whatever the cause and whatever the reason (and all judgement aside) we now know that a lot of people find themselves actually in love with inanimate objects, so let's take a look at some of these interesting couples.
10 Amy Wolfe and a Roller Coaster
Amy Wolfe found herself literally in a rollercoaster of a relationship when she first fell for the amusement park attraction "1001 Nachts" when she was only 13 years old. She vowed to one day marry the Pennsylvania-based rollercoaster. Reports haven't indicated that the marriage has (or can - I'm not sure what the laws are regarding OS) gone ahead, but Wolfe changed her last name to "Weber" after the manufacturer of the ride. According to reports, Amy Weber travels 160 miles, 10 times per year to visit the love of her life and carries around its spare bolts and parts to feel closer to it while they're apart. She also sleeps with a picture of the rollercoaster above her bed.
9 Amanda Whittaker and the Statue of Liberty
The 27-year-old shop assistant Amanda Whittaker from Leeds, England is currently in love with the Statue of Liberty. Having spent her teenage years in a relationship with her drums, Amanda states that she's "attracted to different shapes, geometric shapes". Her home has several monuments of the Statue of Liberty in it and she has visited the statue which she has affectionately nicknamed "Libby" five times since she first fell in love with it in 2007.
8 Doro B. and a Metal Processing System
41-year-old Doro B. fell in love with a metal processing system while she was at work. Doro stated that she felt a female presence from the machine. During the day, she confesses that she has to keep her affection to a minimum of "pecking and caresses" in order to not seem strange, but at night she takes out a model of her partner, stating that it's "not a substitute; it's more like a supplement. That's why it doesn't count as cheating. The model serves as a kind of fax machine that conveys my feelings to my beloved."
7 Val Theroux and the Oak tree
64-year-old retired nurse made a 7,000 mile journey from Canada to England to visit her partner, an Oak tree. The married mother-of-two has flown from Kamloops, British Columbia to New Forest, Hampshire once a year since discovering it in 2008 and stays in touch with the tree by viewing it on Google Earth when they're apart.
6 Edward Smith and Vanilla the Car
Edward Smith, 63, claims he is a "mechaphile," a term that describes someone who is sexually attracted to trains, planes or automobiles. Over the past 48 years, Smith claims that he has had over 1,000 sexual partners, but only one of them was actually human. He describes one of his most exciting sexual encounters as being with the helicopter that was used in the TV series Airwolf. Smith claims that he is not alone in his unusual sexual attraction, and states that there are at least 500 other men who are in relationships with cars. Smith has more recently calmed down his sexual appetites and is now in a 'committed' relationship with a VW Beetle, Vanilla.
5 Lee Jin-gyu and a Dakimakura (Japanese body pillow)
South Korean Lee Jin-gyu fell in love with his body pillow of his favorite animated heroine, Fate Testarossa from the animated TV series Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. The two were dating for six years before Jin-gyu took her to Japan to get married, where Fate-the-pillow even donned her own wedding dress. Jin-gyu later confessed that the wedding was a publicity stunt, although marriage isn't completely out of the question and stated that, "My love for Fate is unchangeable, but I will take more time to think about our marriage." His friends have said that the couple often go out together to parks and fairgrounds and the pillow gets its own seat when they dine together.
4 Bill Rifka and his iBook
The psychology student Bill Rifka is currently in a relationship with an iBook laptop computer. The 35-year-old, however, is not always loyal and confesses that he's “often flirted with many a sweet laptop on eBay and felt true desire". Rifka has stated that he believes that his computer is male and they are in a homosexual relationship.
3 Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer and the Berlin Wall
Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, who's last name literally means "Berlin Wall", married the Berlin wall in 1979. Mauer states that she was just seven years of age when she fell in love with the Berlin Wall after seeing it on television. Mauer, who currently lives in Leiden, in Northern Sweden, said "I find long, slim things with horizontal lines very sexy" but states that the Wall of China is "too thick" for her. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Mauer never returned to see her partner, although she does keep replicas of it in her home. She is said to have a new affection for a garden fence.
2 Joachim A. and a Steam Locomotive
41-year-old Joachim A. realized that he had an unusual sexual attraction when he was just 12 years old. His first relationship was with a Hammond organ in which he shared "an emotionally and physically very complex and deep relationship, which lasted for years." His current partner is now a steam locomotive, and while he admits that he had previous love affairs that were often sparked by an object experiencing a technical issue and the necessary repairs leading to Joachim's sexual attraction to the object, he is adamant that he is now monogamous with the steam locomotive.
1 Erika Eiffel and the Eiffel Tower
Erika Eiffel, who obviously has taken her name from her partner, the Eiffel Tower, is one of the OS community's most vocal representatives. Erika, who is the founder of OS Internationale and who has frequently permitted researchers, psychologists and the media access into her life, married the Eiffel tower in 2007. She fell in love with the Eiffel Tower in 2004 and states that she felt an immediate attraction. Before that, she was in a 20 year relationship with the Berlin Wall (I wonder how Eija-Riita Berliner-Mauer felt about that?)