Criminal Minds Wiki

Hybristophilia (also known as the Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome) is a form of paraphilia (or perversion) involving sexual attraction to people who have committed some sort of "outrage". The term is usually associated with fans of notorious criminals.


The motives of hybristophiliacs vary depending on the person, ranging from an enthusiastic, uncritical fascination over the criminal (akin to a fan with a celebrity) to downright infatuation. In the latter instance, there have been cases where such hybristophiliacs managed to marry the objects of their obsession.

Forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland created a list of motives, based on her study of women who dated or even married serial killers:

  • A belief that they can "change" the criminal they obsess over
  • They see the child the criminal once was and try to "nurture" that part of his personality
  • A hope to gain public attention
  • A desire to live out a fantasy in which they are dating "the perfect boyfriend"
  • They are unable to find love in normal ways
  • They seek relationships that cannot traditionally be consummated

Another psychologist, Leon F. Saltzer, also hypothesized that women tend to be attracted by notorious male criminals like serial killers, even despite their awareness that it is morally wrong, because serial killers are a modern form of the alpha male (from an evolutionary psychological and historical standpoint), which has always been efficient in protecting females and their offspring from danger.

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