I noticed this story and thought it strange too. If in the privacy of his own home he should be entitled to shag what he likes.
I think it is different from sex-industry paraphernalia, which is popular i guess, if not mainstream, in that sexual attraction to a bicycle is at the extreme end of the spectrum of sexual behaviour. In terms of mental health, the behaviour of the majority of the population counts as 'healthy' and deviances too far from this norm 'pathological'.
It is indeed different from the mainstream sex-industry paraphernalia, mostly because the case involves the use of an object for a purpose that is not the original/intended/designed function of the object. So, if you were to take the same object, and modify it slightly, and re-market it within the scope of one of the businesses that relies on sex-related products, would it then be deemed acceptable? Would the guy in question no longer be regarded as a criminal? I think it is the inappropriateness/unexpectedness of the use of the object outside of its normal context that makes this case unique, but then the prosecuting must ask of themselves, why aren’t all sex-related objects inherently inappropriate?
This opens another interesting topic about the nature of laws themselves. Do we implement laws to minimize potential harm to others and their property or do we implement laws to impose our own personal morality and subjective values on to society as a whole?
In this case, I can see no case of harm being inflicted upon others, although the man in question may be inadvertently self-harming and in need of psychiatric help. Ultimately, though, I think it is a case of a knee-jerk reaction against anyone and anything that does not fit into the ‘normal’ category within the distribution curve. Behavioural cleansing.
It is tricky. I could make a case that this guy is missing out big time by sexualising bikes when there are plenty of beautiful women around - and sex with them is probably far better. So it's for his own good, right? But isn't this the argument some anti-gay people use to get gay people into 'therapy'?
Then consider incest - if people should be allowed to do as they like this should be OK. They are not harming others. Until offspring start developing health problems?
So in answer to your question, you have to draw the line somewhere, and no matter where it is drawn, it is going to cut someone off.
But then you risk one-way, or mutual, objectification for the purposes of sexual intercourse which is dehumanising and not conducive to intimacy which is essentially the bedrock of life meaning. There is a very clear distinction here between the misuse of objects and the abuse of humans – the former is benign and the latter malign. The line can be drawn at the point at which people external to the person in question are involved. In this case, the man was engaging in a behaviour that is extremely odd by most people’s standards, but he was not harming anyone else, so there is no criminality as far as I can tell?