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Gynephilia (or gynophilia) (From Greek gunē, "women," + -philia, "love") is the romantic and/or sexual attraction to adult females, and its counterpart androphilia (from Greek andro-, "male," + -philia, "love") is attraction to adult males. There are two main reasons why these terms have been used: to describe either the age or the sex/gender of the object of an individual's sexual orientation.

Sex and/or gender

The terms gynephilia and androphilia are occasionally (but increasingly)[citation needed] 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, we are not only saying something about the sex/gender of their object choice, 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.

Other uses

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 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, cf. gynaecology/gynecology (From Greek gynaiko-, "female," + logos)


  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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