Readers of Romance Novels Have Better Sex Lives

May 29, 2020
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According to BusinessWeek, every 5 seconds someone buys a romance novel. For those more mathematically inclined—that makes romance novels a $1.2 billion dollar a year industry.

And it’s no wonder.

Experts agree that readers of romance novels find it easier to “get in the mood” and on average, even have sex with their partners more often. Psychology Today states that women who read romance novels make love with their partners 74% more often than women who don’t. Why? Because, according to a scientific study conducted by Harold Leitenberg of the The Journal of Sex Research and Psychological Bulletin, when women fantasize frequently (as they do when they read romance novels), they have sex more often, have more fun in bed, and engage in a wider variety of erotic activities.

Many therapists now go so far as to recommend reading steamy romance stories to boost a woman’s sex drive. Their reasoning: “taking part in enjoyable activities such as walking with a partner, listening to music, having a glass of wine, taking a bath, or reading a romance novel can help put women in the mood for sex. These activities can help women shift into their “sex self” from their role as mother, wife, employer, or employee,” says Carol Rinkleib Ellison, PhD, a psychologist and author of Women’s Sexualities. Christiane Northrup, M.D. of Women’s Health Wisdom also says: “Consider reading novels or renting movies that contain sexual content to help you get in the mood.”

For those of us that enjoy a steamy romance novel on a regular basis—this is not new news. We’ve been trying to tell mainstream nay-sayers this all along. We women are turned on by “emotional stimulation” the way men are aroused visually. Though more and more romance authors are leaning toward more erotic romance, women don’t always require graphic sex scenes to become aroused. After reading an emotionally intense love scene, a woman feels more open to the “idea” of making love—or “in the mood” for sex.

Maria Veloso, author of Midwinter Turns to Spring states, “Contrary to popular belief, the ability of romance novels to fuel a woman’s sexual desire doesn’t lie in the stereotypical bodice-ripping, sexually explicit scenes so inherent in romance novels – but rather in the realm of emotions. In most cases, a woman’s libido is directly linked to emotions that revolve around romance and love. These emotions are a connected set of processes that involve physiological changes, such as heart rate, blood pressure and hormones circulating throughout the body—and these comprise the cornerstones of a woman’s sexual drive. Therefore, when a woman’s emotions are stirred by a romance novel, that’s a recipe for an emotional aphrodisiac. It’s like giving a woman emotional foreplay.”

She goes on to say that “when women read romance novels, their emotions are stirred. Because a woman’s emotions are directly linked to their libido, romance novels then virtually become aphrodisiac cocktails – or what I call emotional foreplay for women. And that’s a prelude to sex.”

Just as men become aroused while perusing nude magazines, women stimulate their emotional and their libido while reading a satisfying love scene. Some critics of either men’s magazine or steamy romance novels may doubt this activity as an acceptable alternate for couples in a committed relationship for bettering a person’s sex life. Some may believe these habits may actually take away that special something from a sexual relationship rather than enhance it. Based on this current scientific studies, this is, thankfully, not the case.

Women’s sex lives and the level of intimacy they have with their husbands, boyfriends or partners will show a noticeable improvement after reading a romance novel because it simply puts them in a more romantic state of mind.

So what’s the link between romance novel and better sex lives?

Emotional satisfaction.

That’s something to think about when you’re at the counter trying to decide between this month’s Cosmo and the latest steamy romance novel!!!

Bonnie Williams Copyright(C) 2006


BusinessWeek Online – 02/12/2006; Romance Novels: Reading for Love, The Journal of Sex Research – 2/1/2001; Harold Leitenberg – Sexual Fantasies About One’s Partner Versus Someone Else: Gender Differences in Incidence and Frequency, WebMD – 07/26/2004; Dulce Zamora – Revving Up Women’s Sex Drive, Women’s Health Wisdom Online Newsletter – March 2006; Christiane Northrup, M.D. – Turn Up the Heat on Your Desire, Psychology Today  – Sep/Oct 95; Peter Doskoch  – The Safest Sex, The Open Press – 02/02/2006; Maria Veloso  – Romance Novels: Are They the Antidote to a Dreary Sex Life?