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This week a man was filmed having sex with his car. While this might seem newsworthy in fact it’s a common enough happening that it has it’s own name. Mechanophilia is a subset of paraphilia. It’s all about loving objects sexually and many times emotionally too.

Paraphilia (also known as sexual perversion and sexual deviation) is the experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects, fetishes, situations, fantasies, behaviors, or individuals. No consensus has been found for any precise border between unusual sexual interests and paraphilic ones. There is debate over which, if any, of the paraphilias should be listed in diagnostic manuals, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Take this lady, a paraphilic, is in love with the Eiffel Tower.

But cars are an American fetish. The American car is an expression of power over practicality. We need and want to feel like we’re the most powerful thing on the road. But the leap to having sex with it is a complex one. Is it a disease or simply a fetish? There is case of the man who banged 1000 cars. He explains that car sex was a part of his sexual awakening. Now, each of us has surely had some association with our sexual coming of age that now informs our sex life. The question is really about whether or not the action is destructive or not. For this man, it has relieved as much sexual frustration as it causes.

Fucking your car is an apt metaphor for our moment in American history. The psycosexual fulfillment of late capitalism. The writer Harry Crews took it one step farther in his novel Car, loving the car so much that a character eats it.

“Why would I want . . . to . . . eat . . . a . . . car?” Herman said the words very slowly as though he might be tasting them.  “I can tell you.  The car is where we are in America.”  He paused again and said slowly, “I’m going to eat a car because it’s there.”

As we drift toward a more somber future people will no longer desire the machine, they will become the machine. Then we’re really in for a ride.