Category: Events

Reminder-Tuesday-September 18-The Erotic Literary Salon / Adult Sex-Ed live, Objectum Sexuals

Heartbreak Is Hard Even When Your Lover Is The Eiffel Tower

Objectum sexuals are people who fall in love with objects, but that doesn’t mean their relationships are free from drama and pain.

Loss, grief, heartache: Breakups are no less painful when you’re doing it with a bridge. Or a pylon. Or a wooden fence. Or the Eiffel Tower.

So argues Erika Eiffel, the tower crane operator and former award-winning archer made famous by the documentary Married to the Eiffel Tower. Erika is one of the few public objectum sexuals—people with a love orientation toward objects—and, in addition to holding a commitment ceremony with the 186-year-old French iron tower, has fallen for fighter jets, fencing, and is currently in a relationship with a crane. She also runs the support website Object Sexuality Internationale.

We don’t know how many objectum sexuals there are in the world—not enough data has been gathered and people are, understandably, reluctant to identify their orientation in such a climate of distrust and misinformation. We do, however, know that objectum sexuality is found in both men and women across the world. In 2010, the clinical sexologist Dr. Amy Marsh wrote in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality that, while it is often assumed that OS is “a pathology” or related to “a history of sexual trauma,” there is, in fact, no data to support such a claim and that “OS appears to be a genuine—though rare—sexual orientation.”

There is very little data on the subject altogether—the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t even carry a definition of objectum sexuality. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that so many non-OS people lump a love orientation toward objects in with autism and sexual trauma at one end and fetishism and paraphilia at the other.

The hot tang of heartache was no less real for Erika Eiffel when she broke up with her “greatest love” because, for her, objectum sexuality is “not an affliction or an addiction; it’s an orientation, the way we are inclined.” And while it is one thing to have your heart broken by something as unruly, as unpredictable, and as flawed as a person, it must be quite another to lose something as stable, as unmoving, as apparently constant as the Eiffel Tower.

Of course, objectum sexuality is viewed by most as a kink, at best. The image of someone getting sweaty-palmed over a balustrade, a wall, a fairground ride, or a semi truck is ludicrous, laughable. At worst it’s a dangerous perversion—a symptom of mental illness. And yet, as someone who once dreamed her baby was an orange plastic extractor fan or can be brought to tears just by thinking of my grandparents’ old, paint-peeling garage doors, I can well understand the capacity objects have to evoke in us very human emotional reactions.

“I believe that everyone is animus as a child, that it’s innate,” says Erika on the phone from her apartment in Berlin. “Children are picking up on all these sensations from everything around them. But as they get older that is unlearned. They’re told, ‘This is an it.‘ As a child I was always very connected to objects. I used to carry this little plank of wood with me everywhere I went and as a kid people think that’s cute. But as you get older, their view changes.” For many OS people, their particular love orientation isn’t something that comes on during the trauma of adolescence—it’s something that the world around them grows out of.

Playwright Chloe Mashiter interviewed eight objectum sexuals to write Object Love, which opens at London’s Vault Festival this month. While each interviewee had their own private relationship to the objects of their affection, Mashiter did pick out certain common themes: “Not really liking plastics was something that came up a lot. Also, not liking medical objects or objects associated with death or hospitals.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Mashiter wrote to people who’d fallen in love with cars, bridges, even the folding armrest of a desk chair. “There’s an English woman who’s in a relationship with the Statue of Liberty, who also has a human boyfriend, and he seems very supportive,” she says. “But there are cases of families trying to get OS people to have counseling or even get [committed to a mental hospital].”

For non-OS people the sticking point with objectum sexuality is, often, sex. “I understand that people are going to get visuals in their head and they are going to have questions about sex,” says Erika. “When you see a building and a person you have questions, just like when you see a very tall person and a very short person together. You wonder how the mechanics work. But you wouldn’t go up to those people and ask, ‘How do you do it when you’re so tall and she’s so short?’ The fact that people ask us those questions just shows how little they respect us.”

Erika was disowned by her mother for her objectum sexuality, lost almost all her archery sponsors after admitting to a relationship to her bow, and is has been publicly vilified for her sexual orientation. “The greatest heartbreak that I ever experienced was due to the media,” she tells me. “A year after my commitment ceremony with the Eiffel Tower, a British documentary maker approached me saying they wanted to cover it. I thought she was kind, but she kept pushing the sexual aspect.”

Erika in her archery days. Image via Wikimedia Commons

In one pivotal scene Erika is seen sitting astride one of the tower’s great iron girders, euphoric in her proximity to her partner. The scene cuts to a shot of Erika adjusting a stocking; we see her naked leg and infer that she’s consummating her commitment. “It was horrifying,” says Erika. Once the documentary aired in France, the staff at the Eiffel Tower “wanted nothing to do with me.” Erika felt torn from her partner, estranged. “I don’t even know how to articulate a heartbreak like that. It just wrecked me. It was this final blow, and I just had to withdraw.”

Erika, like lots of broken-hearted people, retreated to the comfort and security of an old companion. Only in this case, that companion was—somewhat controversially—the Berlin Wall.

“The Berlin Wall picked me up off my feet,” she explains. “It was an object that was hated for being who he is. In the 1980s I felt empathy for him; he can’t help where he was built. They focused their hatred on the wall, rather than the politics behind it. I felt like I was suffering in the same way. I went through a lot of rejection when I was younger because of my orientation.”

“People think I can just point at an object and decide to love it. They think I can’t develop relationships with people so I choose objects so I can have control. But I had no control over my relationship to the Eiffel Tower. If this was all about control, I’d love my toaster, you know?” —Erika Eiffel

This animosity, argues Erika, is a specifically Western phenomena. “I lived in Japan for ten years and was very open in how I interacted with objects. People just accepted me. Shinto is an animist religion—if you have a headache, you’ll rub the Buddha’s head and then rub your own; it’s an exchange of energy. Here in Germany, I’ll refer to my partner as ‘my big love.’ The only places where I have problems are the USA, England, and Australia. It’s the puritanical basis of the way people think in these countries that’s made me suffer a great deal. I’ve lost jobs, I’ve lost family, and I lost my greatest love.”

During the course of research, Mashiter heard a lot of breakup stories. “There have been instances where people have started to fall for another object. There are relationships where the communication breaks down. I’ve also heard of cases where the object ended the relationship; where the person feels like they’re doing everything that they can but aren’t getting anything back. And there are cases where the object is destroyed.”

Even when you invest your affection in bricks and mortar, iron and steel, wood and hinges, that love is, it seems, far from secure. “People think I can just point at an object and decide to love it,” says Erika. “They think I can’t develop relationships with people so I choose objects so I can have control. But I had no control over my relationship to the Eiffel Tower. If this was all about control, I’d love my toaster, you know?”

Erika is now working as a tower crane operator and, hundreds of feet in the air, is slowly building a new relationship with her crane. “It took me a very long time to accept that maybe it’s OK to start another relationship,” she explains, echoing the sentiments of widows and divorcees across the world. “I thought I’d never fall in love again. But being a tower crane operator, no one can question or bar me from getting to know this object. I feel like the buildings we’re creating together are almost like children.”

Of course, a German tower crane is never going to replace the world’s most famous monument to romance. But maybe that all right. “Everyone has an ideal in their head, but if you only look for that ideal then you’ll probably end up being very lonely. It’s like always lusting after a blond with blue eyes, but you end up with a redhead who has green eyes. I’m still in a cautious stage with tower cranes because my heart is still broken. I can’t have the perfect relationship. I have to accept that.”

I can’t pretend to share Erika’s orientation. I am from a family that constructs buildings—not kisses them. I’ve nailed down plenty of rafters without once losing myself in a reverie of affection. Submarines may evoke terror, cooling towers may make my bowels tremble, and I may stand back and admire the engineering of a well-built key stone bridge, but it feels a stretch to call that a persuasion.

And yet, when it comes to her descriptions of love, attachment, and heartbreak—of losing intimacy and seeking comfort in old companions—maybe we’re closer than you think.

 

Reminder-This Tuesday-Aug 21-The Erotic Literary Salon / Adult Sex-Ed, Why Ancient Greek Sculptures Have Small Penises

Article on penis size-below.

Once again at TIME location-1315 Sansom St. Philadelphia, they have recovered from the watermain break.

Featured featured reader I.J. Miller reading from his Wuthering Nights explicit version of Wuthering Heights.

 

“They (the Ancient Greeks) used the penis as an index of character”

I found the following article most interesting, since present day thoughts on penises are the bigger the better. In Ancient Greece quite the opposite.

Why Ancient Greek Sculptures Have Small Penises

By: Alexxa Gotthardt

The ancient Greeks famously fetishized the male body in sculptures that represent powerful, illustrious men as hulking figures with taut, rippling muscles. Sometimes these figures appear partially clothed in drapery or cloth; often, they are stark naked.

To the contemporary eye, their bodies are ideal—except for one, ahem, seminal detail. “They have small to very small penises, compared to the average of humanity,” art historian Andrew Lear, a specialist in ancient

and sexuality, says. “And they’re usually flaccid.”

Countless contemporary art lovers and historians have been struck by the modest nature of the phalluses that feature in classical sculptures of gods, emperors, and other elite men—from Zeus to celebrated athletes. The small members seem at odds with the massive bodies and mythically large personalities they accompany. But the ancient Greeks had their reasons for this aesthetic choice.
Rewind to the ancient Greek world of around 400 BC, and you’ll find that large, erect penises were not considered desirable, nor were they a sign of power or strength. In his play The Clouds (c. 419–423 BC), ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes summed up the ideal traits of his male peers as “a gleaming chest, bright skin, broad shoulders, tiny tongue, strong buttocks, and a little prick.”
Historian Paul Chrystal has also conducted research into this ancient ideal. “The small penis was consonant with Greek ideals of male beauty,” he writes in his book In Bed with the Ancient Greeks (2016). “It was a badge of the highest culture and a paragon of civilization.”
In ancient Greek art, most of a great man’s features were represented as ample, firm, and shiny—so why weren’t these same aesthetic principles applied to the penis? As Lear and other historians suggest, part of the answer lies in how the phalluses of less admirable men were portrayed.
Lustful, depraved satyrs, in particular, were rendered with very large, erect genitals, sometimes almost as tall as their torsos. According to mythology, these creatures were part-man, part-animal, and totally lacked restraint—a quality reviled by Greek high society. “Big penises were vulgar and outside the cultural norm, something sported by the barbarians of the world,” writes Chrystal. Indeed, across many an amphora pot and frieze, well-endowed satyrs can be seen drinking and pleasuring themselves with abandon.
In Greek comedy, fools also routinely sported large genitals—“the sign of stupidity, more of a beast than a man,” according to Chrystal. So, too, did artistic representations of the Egyptians, says Lear, who were long-time enemies of the Greeks.
In this way, satyrs, fools, and foes served as foils to male gods and heroes, who were honored for their self-control and intelligence (along with other qualities requiring restraint, like loyalty and prudence). If large phalluses represented gluttonous appetites, then “the conclusion can be drawn that the small, flaccid penis represented self-control,” explains Lear.
While today, being well-endowed is often equated with power and even sound leadership, “the penis was never a badge or virility or manliness in ancient Greece as it was in other cultures,” Chrystal writes. “Potency came from the intellect needed to power man’s responsibility to father children, prolong the family line and the oikos [the family unit or household], and sustain the polis [the city-state].”
There is no doubt that across ancient Greek art, the representation of the phallus—and its varying size—was symbolic. As Lear suggests, this might hint at why artists of the age depicted male nudes so often, even when a character or narrative might not require it. “They used the penis as an index of character,” explains Lear. “It said something.”
Back then, it indicated whether or not a man was upstanding. But while the cultural symbolism of the penis has since shifted, some things haven’t changed. Then, as now, the male sex was seen to be the distillation of a man’s ability to dominate.

Press Release-June 19-The Erotic Literary Salon/Adult Sex-Ed-Featured Reader Lola LePaon

Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon-Live and the Adult Sex-Ed Salon, Featured Reader Lola LePaon Reading From Her New Book “Flick,”Tuesday, June 19.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 PCSalons@gmail.com- contact: Susana Mayer, Ph.D., Salonnière,

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com– guidelines for reading.

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com– blog: events, Salon notices, erotica, and guidelines.

The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, June 19.  The evening will start with the Adult Sex-Ed Salon a one-hour program devoted to sex and sexuality. The audience will have the opportunity to pose any questions regarding sex and sexuality anonymously.Sexologist Susana Mayer, PhD, along with co-host Walter will facilitate the Adult Sex-Ed Salon and attendees interested in sharing their knowledge and experiences will join in the discussion. This is always an extremely lively, audience driven Q & A period.

Featured reader Lola LePaon is a published erotica author. She will read the first story in her recently released book, “Flick,” based on the split decision moment when you decide to refrain or give in to something definitively; whether it is cheating, or revenge, or experimentation. Each story builds up to a decision, and the reader selects the direction. The word “flick” by definition means a sudden movement or to propel as such. In this instance the reader is propelled into fantasy. “Flick” is erotica framed as a choose your own adventure story. Instagram: @FLICK_by_Lola; Twitter: @Author_Lola

YouTube: YouTube.com/LolaLePaon; Facebook: Facebook.com/LolaLePaonFans

PHILADELPHIA: The Erotic Literary Salon, unique in the English-speaking world has launched a growing movement mainstreaming erotica. Salons attract a supportive audience of 60 or more individuals. Approximately 10-15 attendees participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken-word performers of original works. The audience has the opportunity to participate reading sexuality quotes from various books or they can just listen, enjoy and applaud. Sign-up to read at the door; guidelines can be found at the Salon’s website.

Salons gather the 3rd Tuesday of every month at TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., for cocktails, food and conversation. Adult Sex-Ed between 7:00-8:00, readings begin at approximately8:30. Admission is $12, discounted for students and seniors to $10. Salon attendees must be 21.

Creator of this event, Dr. Susana, is Philadelphia’s best-known sexologist. She lends her voice to the Salon by offering relevant information to support the discussions that arise in the Salon and blog.

…surprisingly comfortable….Salon devotees praise her for the space she has created….”

“I think Susana is doing a very brave thing.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2010

“There are laughter and tears along with the hot rush of blood – to the face.

Daily News, March 15, 2010 

“I never knew such a life of honesty could exist. I finally found a home I can be comfortable in…this event changed my life.

First-time attendee and reader 2013

 

 

Tonight-May 15-The Erotic Literary Salon/Adult Sex-Ed live, FREE video-Lewd & Lascivious Documentary

Come celebrate 10 years of “safe & comfortable” space to share verbal sexual expressions. Who knew after 10 years the Salon would still be going strong. Please come and show your support. Also –

FREE video:

‘Lewd & Lascivious’ Documentary Tells Forgotten Chapter Of San Francisco Gay History By Christopher Rudolph

San Francisco during the 1960s could be a dangerous place for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

It was much different than the swinging ‘70s and violence and brutality towards LGBT people were not uncommon occurrences, often times coming from the police officers who were supposed to be serving and protecting the community.

In the new documentary: “Lewd & Lascivious,” director Jallen Rix tells the forgotten story of how a group of straight ministers, drag queens and queer people stood up to the San Francisco Police Department when it sought to raid a dance that had been organized by the ministers for the community.

Most LGBT people know about the Stonewall Riots and other major events in queer history, but many don’t know about this chapter and Rix is hoping to help rectify that with his documentary.

While production on “Lewd & Lascivious” is finished, Rix has brought his film to Kickstarter to help it reach a larger audience once the film completes its festival circuit. The archival footage currently being used in the film only has a short term contract, and if there’s any hope of using that footage outside of the film festival scene, the team behind the documentary needs to secure more funds. They also plan to use the additional funding to finish the post-production on the film such as color correction and to secure international distribution.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/lewd-and-lascivious-documentary_n_3616942.html

 

From Dr. Jallen Rix’s website: “Who would have guessed that the dawn of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement in San Francisco was jump-started by straight ministers at a dance? This little-known, yet pivotal event happened the first day of 1965, and it was an occasion like never before. For the first time, all the fledgling “homophile” organizations came together as one to put on a costume ball, publicly revealing their community in a thoroughly respectable, yet overtly political, and queerly fabulous fashion! The twist was they were rallied by progressive straight ministers who had seen, firsthand, the brutal police violence against this community and they were determined to do something about it. So when the SFPD showed up to try and shut the party down, the results were explosively historic! The event has been known as the 1965 Police Raid on California Hall, but it was almost lost to history.

Jallen Rix heard the story on his first day of graduate school and it had such an impact on him, the Police Raid became his area of research for his dissertation. When Coproducer Chris Sinton heard the story and realized that a number of the key dance instigators were not long for this world, he knew they had to do something about it. The result of their efforts is the documentary, Lewd and Lascivious which recovers for today’s and future audiences the landmark event in American history when just being perceived as homosexual was reason enough to discriminate, and being caught in gay sexual activity was “Lewd and Lascivious Conduct” and could result in years-long prison sentences.

Cinema Diverse 2013: Festival FavoriteThe movie appeared in a few LGBTQ festivals, most notably the world premiere in the city where it all began, San Francisco, at the 37th Frameline Festival. Several of the cast members were able to attend. During the Q&A just after the film, the cast was asked to stand which resulted in the sold-out crowd jumping to their feet and going crazy with applause, and applause, and more applause. 50 years after the actual event, those people who sacrificed so much for everyone’s civil rights were being appreciated like never before. It was a moment never to be forgotten! With this film, we hope their work will never be forgotten.”

Watch trailer and film: http://doctorrix.com/lewd-lascivious-movie/

Dr. Jallen Rix was a featured presenter when his book, “Ex-Gay No Way: Survival and Recovery from Religious Abuse” was first published in 2010. I met Jallen at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, when we were graduate students. His book is a must read.  https://www.amazon.com/Ex-Gay-No-Way-Survival-Religious/dp/1844091872/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1526332807&sr=8-4&keywords=jallen+rix