This column was originally published Dec. 2, 2009 on Carnal Nation.
I've decided to continue my weekly column as Love's Outer Limits, publishing new columns every Thursday on Blogspot. Here on Live Journal, every week I'll repost a column which was originally published on Carnal Nation. I am doing this because I don't know how long Carnal Nation will stay online with the old material and I want to offer new readers a chance to enjoy my previously published columns.
This blog was originally named "Sexologist in the House". I've left some of the old postings up. From time to time I will include new material here too.
Have a great time reading!
However, not being a television watching person (we don't have an HD set, let alone cable - a fact bemoaned by my youngest teenager), I was not very familiar with the Tyra Banks Show, and only vaguely aware of what I was letting myself in for! Don't get me wrong - it was a very pleasant experience and two days later I still bask in a lingering afterglow of delightful memories (plus a need to catch up on my sleep!). It's just that -- how can I say it? - the pace of the experience was more akin to speed dating than of the slow courtship and lingering contact I've come to prefer.
Still, I did my best to keep up. I did fly to New York and back within twenty-four hours. And I did do the show on about three and a half hours of sleep. So it helped that the producer, assistants, make up artists and stylists -- all energetic young people -- did their best to accommodate me, and to accommodate Erika Eiffel too, who was the main attraction on our segment (second only, of course, to Tyra). The staff were all quite wonderful and took care of us very nicely. As did the drivers. They were a high spot in my trip! You just cannot believe how wonderful it is to have a driver, unless you too are a mother who spends a good portion of her life transporting children. It's almost better than a spa!
I have a few favorite memories, including one of Erika while we were in the middle of the hair/makeup/wardrobe flurry. She sighed a little, tugging on a petalled, green silk tunic, and said, "I don't have to dress up for the objects..."
So being a guest on the Tyra Banks Show was a rite of passage, as well as an adventure. The cool part is, now that I've done one national talk show, I feel ready for more! And I will share with you a few valuable lessons from "my first time":
1) Ask for a complete briefing of the stage choreography during your short time on camera. Ask ahead of time for exact instructions about sitting, moving, talking. If I'd known to ask for a full briefing, I wouldn't have committed a very embarrassing guest faux pas. All I can say is, thank heavens the show was taped, not live. I am left with a sort of lingering, post-virginal shame at "not knowing how to do it right."
2) Warn makeup artist about lipstick creep in the upper lips of older women. Refuse advance application of really gooey gloss. If I'd known, I could have avoided a backstage meltdown and panic over getting on camera with smeary lips. Fortunately, the make up artist did show up in the nick of time...
3) Ask the staff person booking the flight to make sure that you're in an aisle seat, round trip. If you're a woman, you understand the importance of this during a long flight.
4) Make sure you do not leave your comfy, ugly, Berkeley-esque sandals behind. No one who finds them will love them like you do, and they are more likely to chuck them out with a pair of tweezers than Fed Ex 'em back.
I realize now that just as with good sex, a good talk show encounter depends on a critical skill -- knowing what you want and need, and asking for it!
Oh, the show will air sometime in September. In the meantime, check out this article on Objectum Sexuality in the Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail. I'm in it too.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a PDF file of my copyrighted "meem." You can also download it from links on three of my websites.
Catch my act! I'm talking about Native Hawaiian sacred sexual traditions on Francesca Gentille's show, "Sex-Tantra and Kama Sutra." The episode will be available from now on, in the podcast archives. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Plus, I had fun! Francesca was a wonderful interviewer.
He played an edited sound clip from the Good Morning America show, which had aired the day before, and then after introducing me, launched straight into a tirade about "values" and how dare I suggest that the OS folks weren't sick. He also had a beef with ABC news running the Objectum Sexuality story at breakfast time but managed to ignore the stunning hypocrisy of his own program running the same OS story in the evening! I mean, he was so worried about the rival network contaminating good American homes with news of this dangerous new sexual orientation, that of course he felt compelled to bring news of this contagion into even more American homes.
And this is what seemed to be so threatening - that I claimed that OS was very possibly an orientation, not a disorder. The sexological subtlety of that distinction is somewhat lost on him, and others, and I hadn't realized that "orientation" is a political "button" that can be felt and pushed.
At one point I had to tell him, "Dom, I don't think you need to worry about Object Sexuals overrunning the country - there aren't that many of them." Or something to that effect. (And I loved calling him "Dom," because in these here parts, that word has a rather exotic, frolicksome meaning...)
But it got boring pretty quickly. Dom merely wanted to spew. At another point I said, "it sounds like this is scary for you, would you like to talk about it?" He didn't keep me on for long...
Perhaps he was ticked at ABC as the Miley Cyrus segment was, frankly, a bit upstaged by Erika La Tour Eiffel's story. Miley, of course, is wholesome American fare...
My dear, departed friend and Tantra practitioner, Michael Rossman of Free Speech Movement fame, used to listen to hours of right wing talk radio. He felt honor bound to keep tabs on his political adversaries. (He had a stronger stomach than most.) He'd be laughing his head off right now, at my predicament - poor little Amy Marsh, Clinical Sexologist, innocently inciting hundreds of right wing blogs and media sites to a frenzy of self-righteous indignation. (And I do wish he were here to laugh - among other things!)
I turned down Laura Ingraham of Fox Network earlier in the day, but maybe I should have done it after all. It might have been the same kind of fun. And Michael would have appreciated the superb irony of it all.
My comments on my research into Objectum Sexuality are included in both the filmed segment and the printed news story.
EMOTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH OBJECTS
Objectum Sexuality (OS) refers to a rare emotional and/or sexual attraction to objects that seems to be qualitatively different from a fetishistic use of objects or from the use of sex toys. OS people say they experience their relationships with beloved objects as interactive and reciprocal, to varying degrees. OS attachments may encompass feelings that are emotional, romantic, and/or sexual. Beloved objects may include large structures, machines, smaller objects, tools, statues, cars, and so on.
For OS people, their relationships with objects feels normal and natural. However they are aware that their relationships are often misunderstood or ridiculed. Some people in the OS community - but not all - have been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome or Autism.
IS OBJECTUM SEXUALITY ANOTHER TYPE OF SEXUAL OR INTIMATE ORIENTATION?
According the people who love objects, the answer is "yes." They object to being referred to as "fetishists" or being told they are simply "obsessed." A key point for OS people is that they experience and feel emotions for the "being" of an object.
So what is "sexual orientation?" The definition of "sexual orientation" found on the website of the American Psychological Association comes close to the ways in which OS people experience and describe themselves and their relationships. The APA definition (with references to heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality deleted) is as follows:
"Sexual orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction toward others. It is easily distinguished from other components of sexuality including biological sex, gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female), and the social gender role (adherence to cultural norms for feminine and masculine behavior). Sexual orientation exists along a continuum... Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Individuals may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors."
MORE RESEARCH NEEDED
With regard to Objectum Sexuality, sexological understanding is in its infancy. Likewise with the psychological and medical communities. A key difference is that sexology is less concerned with pathologizing sexual behavior. Sexologists do not feel that having a unique sexual orientation or preference automatically indicates the presence of mental illness.
However, whatever our training, we can all begin by respecting the ways in which Objectum Sexuality people define themselves, their experiences and their community. OS people deserve decent treatment and consideration.
More research is needed. Dr. Marsh has created the first sexological survey of English speaking people in the international OS community. Results will soon be available.
For more information, please go to the Objectum-Sexuality website: http://www.objectum-sexuality.o
It's an interesting thing to be on the air promoting a study and consideration of Objectum Sexuality, a unique form of human sexuality and intimacy. On the one hand, I am bracing for some interest (clients!) and on the other, hoping that I can avoid the hate mail and crank calls.