Gerontophilia: types, symptoms and treatments

Usually, most people tend to be sexually interested in people who are close or similar to their own (up to about a decade above or below is usually the most common). But there are also very discordant age couples. Although not very common today, there is nothing pathological in itself if this union is between consenting adults and in which there is no abuse or exploitation of circumstances which limit the capacity to consent.

However, there are cases of people who have intense sexual fantasies and are drawn exclusively or almost exclusively to stimuli that most societies consider abnormal and usually include unwilling people or animals, inanimate objects, or relationships. of pain / submission between bed mates. When this attraction generates discomfort for oneself or for othersIt is practically the only type of stimulus which generates a sexual attraction and / or generates limitations in the life of the subject or his sexual partner whom we will speak of a paraphilia.

In paraphilias we can find a type which, although rare, is controversial because its inclusion in paraphilias could only lead to discomfort or limitations for the subject himself or for the company: gerontophilia or attraction to the very old. It is her that we are going to talk about in this article.

    Gerontophilia: basic definition

    This is called the sexual attraction of gerontophilia for the elderly or the elderly being the subject who feels this attraction considerably younger. The age difference usually considered is at least 35 years. The person in question has recurring sexual fantasies with the elderly, this characteristic being that which generates exclusively or almost exclusively sexual arousal.

    It is important to note and note that when we talk about gerontophilia, we are not talking about a spontaneous infatuation with a person of advanced age. A person with gerontophilia feels an attraction that does not come so much from knowing a person as from being old. In other words, what awakens the sexual impulse is that it is an old or elderly person, Regardless of how the person himself is.

    As a paraphilia, the interest maintained is in principle purely sexual, although in some cases the gerontophiliac and the object of his desire may come to maintain a loving bond.

    Classification of gerontophilia as paraphilia may be controversialBecause he often confuses paraphilia with a relationship with a much older person. But the truth is, one thing doesn’t imply the other: you can have a relationship with an elderly person, and the person who does doesn’t have to come under the gerontophiliac category. In fact, gerontophilia is only a paraphilia if it generates clinically significant discomfort, if it involves a functional limitation in the daily life of, or if the only stimulus that elicits sexual desire is old age itself.

      basic types

      There are two basic types of managerophilia, or rather we could find mainly two types of attraction towards the elderly.

      1. Alfamegamia

      The first of these is alfamegamy, In which there would be a sexual attraction on the part of a young (male or female) to much older men and in old age.

      2. Matronology

      The other type corresponds to the sexual attraction to older women by much younger men or women, Receiving this case the name of matronolagnia.

      Causes of gerontophilia at the level of paraphilia

      While relationships between people of different ages need not necessarily involve the presence of gerontophilia, in cases where paraphilia is discussed, the issue of which causes this fixation to appear in the elderly. In this sense, many explanations can be found. It should be noted that we are talking about paraphilia, not actually falling in love with someone who happens to be that age.

      One of them tells us about the presence of a precarious personality, dependent or in need of protection, who would see in the fact of being old a stimulus traditionally associated with wisdom, experience, protection and in the heat. This view of old age can cause some people to have a sexual desire for these characteristics, which makes them feel secure.

      It is also possible that this occurs in the context of people who they feel unable to relate success to people their age (This also happens in some cases of pedophilia).

      Another possibility arises from conditioning: it is possible that in a situation of sexual arousal, the image or some kind of stimulus related to old age has arisen by chance, which may have been subsequently positively reinforced (for example by masturbation) .

      Related to this, cases have also been observed in which the existence of this type of attraction it is derived from traumatic experiences, Such as childhood sexual abuse, in which sex with people much older than the subject himself has been somewhat normalized. Sexual arousal has been associated with age difference or old age, generally attracting older people with some compulsive coloring.

      Also, another possible reason can be found in the frailty of the elderly or having someone to care for: the elderly are generally unhealthy people, who may need help and can have some addiction. Some people may find it sexually stimulating being needed and helping the elderly.

      The opposite pole would be found in the search for domination-submission relationships: an elder can be more fragile than his partner, which places the gerontophile in a position of superiority in terms of physical power. In this case, special care must be taken to ensure that there is an attempt to abuse the elderly person in question. there may be vexatious components that seek to overpower the elderly.


      The treatment of any paraphilia is a complex matter, which requires the consideration of a large number of factors and variables.

      In the case of gerontophilia, the first thing to consider is if a paraphilia really exists as such, Which may be more complex than it appears at first glance. First of all and as we have already repeated throughout the article, having a very different age pair from the proper one does not transform the subject into a gerontófilo, being this only a paraphilia when it supposes a clinically significant discomfort, limits the life of the person or causes harm to the couple. In this way, it is necessary to exclude discordant age couples with age difference, as well as interest-based relationships.

      But even if there is discomfort, it is necessary to assess the why, since the experience of the discomfort it can only be generated by social disapproval or the internalization of it.

      In the case of the work on paraphilia proper, it will be necessary to assess what makes seniority the practically exclusive object of the subject’s desire, what aspects he considers relevant and the repercussions that this situation has on him.

      too much aspects such as security and self-esteem will be worked on, As well as social and problem-solving skills, in cases where the attraction is due solely to the inability to deal with people of similar age to the timeline or in the case where what attracts is the need to feel necessary.

      Another type of intervention will be necessary if it arises from the experience of traumatic experiences, which will need to be worked on. Also in the event that this is due to aspects related to power and submission, be particularly vigilant about the existence of possible abuse towards the elderly with whom they have a relationship.

      But all this could only be necessary if it is something that was not chosen and that is experienced with discomfort on the part of the parties involved. In another case, it must be borne in mind that in the end and in the head and when it is so, love has no age.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Ball, HN (2005). Sexual Crimes in Older Women: A Review. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology.
      • Janssen, DF (2014). Gerontophilia: a forensic archaism. Treatment of the sex offender. 9 (1).
      • Kaul, A .; Duffy, S. (1991). “Gerontophilia: A Case Report”. Medicine, science and law. 31: 110-114.

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