Can reading more romance improve your love Life?
Why are a lot of women drawn to romance novels? Books like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ ‘Mills and Boon’ and our very own Filipino ‘Precious Hearts Romances’ series sell like hotcakes on bookstores because they tell stories of women and the men in their lives who lavish them with attention, love and, yes, sexual satisfaction.
But does reading these lucky women’s stories help improve our own love life?
Before we tackle how romance novels can affect women and their partners, let’s see first what science has unlocked about these books and how they affect women in general.
The science of romance books
According to a study by American bi-monthly magazine Psychology Today, women who read romance novels make love with their partners 74% more than non-readers. Peer-reviewed academic journal Psychological Bulletin gave light to this phenomenon in a separate research which revealed that romance novels help women fantasise more, leading them to want sex more often and experiment.
Romance author Maria Veloso said ‘In most cases, a woman’s libido is directly linked to emotions that revolve around romance and love… when a woman’s emotions are stirred by a romance novel, that’s a recipe for an emotional aphrodisiac.’
Another study by Gothenberg University showed that chick-lit — a genre that talks about modern women and includes light-hearted, romantic elements — is therapeutic and can help women recover when sick. This is because women are able to recognise their own situation in the plot and relate to the characters. It also helps them experience new things and gives them a means of escape.
All these studies explain in part why women swoon to the likes of Mr Darcy or James Bond and find their heart beating fast when Anastasia Steele finally meets Christian Grey. But do these findings have anything to do with how women behave toward the real men in their lives?
From Mr Darcy to Mr Right
Since romance novels have the power to affect a woman’s state of being, they can also have an influence in a woman’s behaviour, especially when it comes to her romantic relationships. Here are just some ways these books can change a woman’s love life:
- As the cheapest form of therapy, the stories in romance novels are said to heal and reawaken a women’s optimism. This means that if a woman is recovering from heartbreak, love stories can inspire her to get back on the dating scene or be more open to renewing a current relationship.
- While the men in romance novels are fictitious, their attitudes and behaviour may not entirely be the stuff of fiction. Books are reflections of real life, and women can use romance novels as a way to understand men. When they deal with their partners, they can tap on the knowledge they have learned through reading books to improve their relationships.
- Since a woman’s sexual appetite is linked to romance, reading novels can serve as a sort of foreplay, turning them on. In addition, these books can give women ideas to add more spice in her relationship, from trying out new twists to a date to experimenting more in bed. Not only can this improve the woman and her partner’s sex life, they can also continuously keep the fire of their relationship burning.
- Reading romance novels can also ruin women’s chances of developing real relationships. Why? The experiences of the heroines in the book can lead women to set unrealistic expectations for their partners and make them fantasise about the perfect man. But men cannot always fulfill these expectations, let alone be perfect for their women. This leads women to feel dissatisfied with their love life and may even force the relationship apart.
- Some women may be left depressed after reading romance novels. This is because they may compare their lives with the perfect life of the heroine. Finding that their lives are disappointing in comparison can lower their self-esteem, fueling thoughts of worthlessness and insecurity.
It is fun to read romance novels as they help women escape from daily stress and give them a moment to escape from life’s problems. However, too much romance novels can fuel desires that are simply impossible to meet.
The key to this is balance. Romance novels do not really do any harm unless we allow fiction to take over the facts of life. Be the author of your love life — the best stories in the world are those we ourselves write.