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Gerontophilia is a sexual preference for people that are much older. People with gerontophilia, known as gerontophiles, may fantasize about older people and choose them as sexual partners.
The term gerontophilia was first used by the German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in 1901. It comes from the Greek word geron, meaning elderly person, and philia, or love.
Gerontophiles may spend a seemingly abnormal time having sexual thoughts and recurring fantasies about older people. They may also pursue sexual relationships with elderly people.
Gerontophiles are not motivated by factors such as the money an older person may have accumulated. Instead they are aroused by the physical presence of an older person and the attributes they have, such as wrinkles, a stooped posture, white hair, and a sense of fragility for example.
While there have been limited studies on gerontophilia, there’s some evidence to suggest the condition may stem from sexual contact with a much older people during youth. While gerontophilia is regarded as the opposite of pedophilia, this sexual preference can be enacted in a healthy, legal context.
Sexual offenders charged with crimes against the elderly do not necessarily suffer from gerontophilia. Studies suggest roughly one third of these crimes are committed by gerontophiles.
Typically gerontophiles accept their sexual preference as part of their sexual identity, and act on these preferences in a healthy fashion. However, if a person worries that gerontophilia is becoming problematic for them, they may seek treatment such as psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, or hypnosis.