Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome (Hybristophilia)

Hybristophilia is a paraphilia involving being sexually aroused or attracted to people who have committed an outrage or a gruesome crime. In popular culture, this phenomenon is also known as the Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome.

Many high-profile criminals, particularly those who have committed atrocious crimes, receive fan mail in prison, presumably as a result of this phenomenon. In some cases, admirers of these criminals have gone on to marry the object of their affections in prison.

Hybristophilia is accepted as potentially lethal, other such paraphilias including, but not being limited to asphyxiophilia, autassassinophilia, biastophilia, kleptophilia and chremastistophilia[1].

Examples of Hybristophilia:

Doreen Lioy sent fan letters and fell in love with serial killer Richard Ramirez after he was convicted on 13 charges of murder. They were married in California's San Quentin State Prison. Lioy has stated that she will commit suicide when Ramírez is executed.

Carole Ann Boone married serial killer Ted Bundy during his murder trial. He was found guilty of 30 charges of murder, although the actual total of victims remains unknown. Estimates range from 29 to over 100. Bundy proposed to former coworker Boone in the courtroom while questioning her on the stand. Following numerous conjugal visits between Bundy and his new wife, Boone gave birth to a girl she named "Tina" in October 1982. Eventually, however, Boone moved away, divorced Bundy, and changed her last name and that of her daughter. Their current whereabouts are unknown. This may not be a true example of hybristophilia, as Boone professed a belief in Bundy's innocence up until shortly before his execution, when he finally confessed to his crimes.

The phenomenon of Charles Manson and Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold groupies are also an example of hybristophilia [2]


1. ^ Gordon, Jr., Wilbert Anthony and James E. Elias. 2005. "Potentially Lethal Modes of Sexual Expression". Paper presented at the 2005 Western Region Annual Conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.
2. ^ Raymond Joseph Corsini. 1999. The Dictionary of Psychology. Psychology Press. ISBN 158391028X. p692.

Further reading

  • * Sheila Isenberg: Women Who Love Men Who Kill, 3 edition, 2000, ISBN 978-0595003990
  • * Jacquelynne Willcox-Bailey: Dream Lovers: Women Who Marry Men Behind Bars, Wakefield Press 1999, ISBN 978-1862543812
  • * Why are women drawn to men behind bars?, The Guardian, Monday 13 January, 2003
  • * Women who have killer instincts, The Independent, 27 January 2005
  • * Liz O'Keefe: The partners of prisoners: Their reality, how they contribute to the criminal justice system and prisoner rehabilitation and how we can assist (PDF), paper presented at the Women in Corrections: Staff and Clients conference convened by the Australian Institute of Criminology in conjunction with the Department for Correctional Services South Australia, 31 October-1 November 2000, Adelaide, Australia

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