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Androphilia refers to attraction (especially sexual attraction) to men, whether it be held by men or women. It is also increasingly used when referring to the sexual orientation of transgender and intersex people, since using homo– or heterosexual is not without problems there. (Compare Homosexuality and transgender)

In the context of male homosexuality, androphilia is the mutual attraction of adult men. It is to be distinguished from ephebophilia, or the attraction of an adult man to an adolescent male. While there is no sharp demarcation point between the two desires, they mark the two different poles between which have swung the accepted forms of homosexual desire at various times in history.

In ancient Greece, androphilic relationships were rare, as sex between males was generally conceived of as intercrural intercourse and the overriding taboo was against a man assuming a “passive” sexual position with a social equal or inferior. The Greek ideal of pederasty remained the dominant conception of homosexuality until the twentieth century.

The gay rights movement distanced itself from these allegedly “exploitive” relationships with youth, and instead emphasized the consensual nature of adult homosexual relationships. The relative social acceptance of these two forms of homosexuality varies greatly from country to country.

The word androphilia is also sometimes used to distinguish male homosexuality from female homosexuality, or lesbianism.

See also