Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 3–22 | Cite as

The Puzzle of Male Chronophilias

  • Michael C. SetoEmail author
Target Article


In this article, I return to the idea that pedophilia, a sexual interest in prepubescent children, can be considered a sexual orientation for age, in conjunction with the much more widely acknowledged and discussed sexual orientation for gender. Here, I broaden the scope to consider other chronophilias, referring to paraphilias for age/maturity categories other than young sexually mature adults. The puzzle of chronophilias includes questions about etiology and course, how chronophilias are related to each other, and what they can tell us about how human (male) sexuality is organized. In this article, I briefly review research on nepiophilia (infant/toddlers), pedophilia (prepubescent children), hebephilia (pubescent children), ephebophilia (postpubescent, sexually maturing adolescents), teleiophilia (young sexually mature adults, typically 20s and 30s), mesophilia (middle-aged adults, typically 40s and 50s), and gerontophilia (elderly adults, typically 60s and older) in the context of a multidimensional sexual orientations framework. Relevant research, limitations, and testable hypotheses for future work are identified.


Age preferences Chronophilias Paraphilias Sexual orientation 



This article began as a talk given at the 2015 Puzzle of Sexual Orientation meeting held at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, in July 2015. A Storify of live tweets from this meeting is available at: I am grateful for travel support from the Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. My deep thanks to Kelly Babchishin, Ray Blanchard, James Cantor, Meredith Chivers, Martin Lalumière, and Skye Stephens for their very helpful feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript. This article builds directly on Seto (2012), an article I wrote after my presentation at the 2010 Puzzle of Sexual Orientation meeting that was part of a previous special issue in this journal.


Travel to attend the Puzzle of Sexual Orientation meeting was provided by the Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research and a meeting grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Ottawa Health Care GroupOttawaCanada

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