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Gynephilia (or gynophilia or gynaecophilia) (From Greek gunē, "women," + -philia, "love") is the erotic attraction to adult females and/or femininity, and its counterpart androphilia (from Greek andro-, "male," + -philia, "love") is attraction to adult males and/or masculinity.

The term "androphilia" was originally coined to describe age aspect of erotic orientation of male homosexuals. The terms "androphilia" and "gynephilia" are also used to distinguish attractions to adults from pederasty and pedophilia. These describe types of chronophilia and within that, androphilia and gynephilia collectively refer to two variable forms of teleiophilia.

Later the words "androphilia" and "gynephilia" ("gynaekophilia") become terms to describe one's sex/gender orientation independently of his/her sex/gender; this usage is useful especially for talking about orientation of trans people, as well as for generally studies of attraction to men or attraction to women.


Androphilia (from Greek andro-, adjective/adverbial form of "male," + -philia, "love") is attraction to adult males.

It is believed that the term originated from Hirschfeld's systematics of homosexual males.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Magnus Hirschfeld, writing in the early 20th century, offered a threefold age classification system for homosexual males: [How to reference and link to summary or text]

  • Ephebophiles, "who are attracted to youths from puberty to the early 20s."
  • Androphiles, who prefer men from age 20 to 50s
  • Gerontophiles, who prefer older men.

The term androphilia has been useful in describing societies where pederasty was the norm, but where homosexual attraction to adult men was frowned upon.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

A book by Jack Malebranche uses the term androphilia in its title: Androphilia, A Manifesto: Rejecting the Gay Identity, Reclaiming Masculinity (ISBN 0-9764035-8-7). The author uses the term to emphasise masculinity in both the object and the subject of male homosexual desire, and reject the gender nonconformity that he sees in gay identity.


Gynephilia (from Greek gunē, "women," + -philia, "love") or (or gynophilia or gynaecophilia from adjective/adverbial form) is the erotic attraction to adult females.

Gynephilia is philologically inconsequent, as it takes the nominative instead of the root, and would have as its counterpart anerphilia (From Greek anēr, "men," + -philia), not androphilia ; while gynophilia is formed in violation of Greek word formation rules,[How to reference and link to summary or text] cf. gynaecology/gynecology (From Greek gynaiko-, "female," + logos)

It isn't known to authors of this article who and when was coined this term and who brought in this incorrect form.

The term gynophilia is used to mean "attraction to adult women", in contrast with pedophilia, with the aim of therapy usually being to replace pedophilic desires with teleiophilic ones.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

The age zone of gynephile interests is defined likewise as in case of androphilia.

Use for trans people[]

The terms gynephilia and androphilia are occasionally (but increasingly)[How to reference and link to summary or text] used when referring to the sexual orientation of transgender, intersex, and other genderqueer or intergender people,[1] since the terms homosexual (same-sex) and heterosexual (different-sex) can be unclear. In describing an individual's sexual orientation as homosexual or heterosexual, one is not only saying something about the sex/gender that person desires, but also something about their own sex/gender — specifically, that their sex and/or gender is the same as, or different from, that of those they desire. Difficulties in making these judgements can be seen, for example, in debates about whether female-attracted transmen are a part of the lesbian community. Androphilia and gynephilia are often preferred, because rather than focusing on the sex or gender of the subject, they only describe that of the object of their attraction. The third common term that describes sexual orientation, bisexuality, makes no claim about the subject's sex or gender identity.


  1. For example: "Fa’afafine are a heterogeneous group of androphilic males, some of whom are unremarkably masculine, but most of whom behave in a feminine manner in adulthood.", Bartlett, Nancy H. and Vasey, Paul L. (2006), A Retrospective Study of Childhood Gender-Atypical Behavior in Samoan Fa’afafine, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Springer Netherlands, ISSN 0004-0002 (Print) 1573-2800 (Online), Volume 35, Number 6, December 2006, Pages 659-666

See also[]


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