Saturday, December 26, 2009


Platzangst is a German word, combining "platz" for "place" with "angst" for "fear" -- literally, "place fear."

It's a delicious word for us at LoS, with our obsessions over place and meaning. "Place fear" in English sounds like a reference to a haunting--a specific place that is feared or that generates fear--but Platzangst is more generalized. Plaztangst originally fell along the line of agoraphobia, and it has curiously grown even broader in usage, now encompasing claustrophobia as well. Somehow, though, agoraphobia and claustrophobia are both probably even more specific than Platzangst. There are many place fears that are not quite named in English: some people suffer panic attacks when passing others on sidewalks; others cannot cross an empty road; and then there are those who grow uneasy, increasingly uneasy, if they sense something near their head just out of the line of sight unless they are wearing a hat or touching their foreheads. This list of place fears is only limited by the number of people on Earth. Platzangst captures all of these and more--much better than any term I know in English.

I wonder, though, what is the opposite of Platzangst--what is the word for Place Love? I don't mean "place love" as in, "Hey I really dig this place! What a great view! Feels like home! I love it here!"

I mean dirty love--pure raunch. I mean a person who gets off on "place"--perhaps open or closed, or perhaps something even more specifically situated in space. I'm sure that there are plenty of claustrophiles--are there also agroraphiles? What sort of culture would require such words?


  1. There are a handful of people who get sexually aroused by monuments and stuff. One woman married the Eiffel Tower. There's a good documentary around about it, but I can't remember the name.

  2. A quick comment, in that this reminds me a bit of the Feng Shui concept, good and bad energies in certain places. The house next to where I live, where I used to rent, gives everyone the willies for some reason or other. It's a bit dark and cold, so that may be all. Or not.

    Also, I have in the past been (mildly) turned on by sculptures or paintings. I don't think that is so uncommon. But buildings?

    I guess for the woman that married the Eiffel Tower, size really does matter!

  3. According to the BBC documentary referred to by The Telegraph Erika La Tour Eiffel (as she's now legally known) is one of +/- 40 people in the world who've declared themselves "OS": Objectum-Sexual.

    All are women and many have Asperger's Syndrome.

    The documentary is called--ta-da, "The Woman Who Married the Eiffel Tower".

    You can see pt 1 here and pt 2 here.

    Q: "What sort of culture would require such words?"
    A: Ours.

  4. Very interesting documentary, from what I saw, but apparently the OS community is pretty unhappy with it:

    "You can see the difference because I am choppy and uptight in the UK film like I am reading my lines. I didn't like the director nor did I like the woman I was being filmed with because she was too overt about her sex with little regard to consequence.

    In [a different film], I completely respected and trusted the director and I was free to speak with no pressure and no incessant questions about sex, nor staged sex scenes."

    The OS community has a website.

    Also, the BBC doc is wrong....not all members of the OS community are women....

  5. Thanks for bringing this documentary to our attention, chronic.

    I hope that it won't scare you off if I were to be overly forthright by noting that your blogger profile photois a totally hot statue? :)


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