I’m obsessed with reading romance novels. Yep. There I said it.
It’s probably pretty obvious since I run a book blog devoted to romance books but I wasn’t always so upfront with my love of reading romance.
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Reading romance is often described as a guilty pleasure but even that description insinuates that there’s something wrong with reading this genre or that it’s not appropriate literature. Forget that.
Because I used to hold that belief, I was embarrassed by my obsession with reading romance, and I definitely didn’t shout it from the rooftops that I actually blogged about romance books online.
But then I realized, why am I feeling ashamed about something that gives me such joy?
And clearly, I’m not the only one given the romance book industry publishes thousands of titles each year, makes billions of dollars, and my blog’s viewership is constantly growing and growing.
Just look at 2022’s best-selling books and you’ll see romance book titles at the top thanks to Colleen Hoovers books!
Plus, let’s not forget about a book whose title is well-known across the globe because of its success among millions of readers (Yes, I’m looking at you Fifty Shades of Grey!).
I cannot tell you how excited and happy it makes me when I hear from people who find my blog and say things like “thank you so much for your lists. These are exactly what I needed.” Or “OMG, I’m so glad I found you because we have such similar tastes in books. Keep the lists coming.” 😊
So, I wanted to take a deep dive into looking at why I love reading romance so much, and why I believe others should too.
If someone else feels the same embarrassment that I used to, maybe I can help them reconcile those feelings.
Or, maybe someone who’s been curious about checking out the genre may decide to finally jump in.
In fact, I know there are clearly some people still embarrassed or maybe hesitant to share their own love of romance books because we’ve recently seen romance authors coming out with “discreet covers” so that people don’t have to broadcast that they are reading romance or a certain spicy book.
Well, I love a great romance book cover but this trend toward graphic art covers and now discreet romance book covers may only add to the feeling that there’s something wrong with reading a “bodice ripper” or erotic read when really that is so far from the truth.
Even if my reasons don’t compel you to stop by your local bookstore and grab a title, then I hope they open your eyes to understanding why someone does love reading romance.
And my reasons aren’t meant to only inspire the female readership out there.
Men make up 18 percent of romance readers and there are several reasons why men should read romance novels as well. Those looking to explore the genre can check out my list of best romance novels for men for recommendations!
So, if you need some compelling reasons to pick up a romance book, check out mine below and then maybe give one a try and see what you think.
You’ll find several romance book suggestions throughout this post but if you’re looking for some recommendations to dip your feet into the genre, I offer some great titles in my romance book starter guide.
Reasons Why I Read Romance Books (and You Should Too!):
1. To Increase My Joy and Happiness
I read romance books for the simple reason that they bring me joy.
My romance book reading habit really took off when I became a mom. With kids of my own to take care of, I became overwhelmed with anxiety reading negative news stories, especially about women and children.
I just couldn’t take reading or listening to this negativity in the world. But then to go on and read a New York Times bestseller that had those same themes would just put me over the edge.
Turning to romance, however, I knew that I was guaranteed a happy ending to the story because that’s the very definition of a romance book – a story with a central plotline around a love story that ends with a happily ever after or happily for now ending.
Of course, there are romance books with darker themes and subjects such as abuse and trauma, but I can usually steer clear of those with the book description or trigger warnings.
But in general, reading romance brings me such joy because I get to experience “falling in love” over and over again right along with the characters I meet.
A book doesn’t have to be sad or challenging or literary fiction to be deemed worthy reading material.
I firmly believe that life is better with a love story!
2. To Escape the Real World
Picking up a book, no matter what the genre, lets you escape into a different world or even time travel to a different world.
In real life, I’m juggling many hats – wife, mother, business owner, and healer in my personal life and professional life as an acupuncturist.
While I love my family and my work, I love being able to pick up a romance book at the end of the day and just immerse myself into someone else’s world and experience their emotions and quest for love right along with them.
I can travel to another part of the world, experience a new job or simply escape into someone else’s experience that is completely separate from my own and give me a reprieve from the daily stressors and responsibilities that pull on my time and attention.
Reading romance gives me that chance to tune out and just escape and it’s been a lifesaver.
3. To See Examples of Healthy Relationships
Everyone has their ups and downs in relationships – no one is perfect, which is why I love to read romance for examples of what a healthy relationship can look like.
It’s not a romance book (or maybe not an exciting romance book) without that moment of conflict for the couple or main characters.
They ALL have one and it’s perhaps the best part of romance book reading seeing how they make it through that tough time.
It’s reading about the communication, the trust, the commitment, the support, and the love that sustains a healthy relationship and what that may look like for different couples.
4. To Support Female Empowerment
Throw out the stigma of the historical bodice ripper where the damsel in distress throws herself at her hero’s feet.
I love reading romance books because they are increasingly female positive in which the woman’s pleasure is front and center and does not take a backseat to the man’s pleasure.
Romance books are also great examples of consent in the bedroom and the use of protection. These things don’t have to be ignored or discarded to have a steamy good time.
I also love reading romance books for the way heroines are presented within the pages – as strong, intelligent, and capable women.
Romance heroines are not just sidekicks for the hero’s transformation or pleasure. They have their own story arcs, emotional and personal transformations, and successes along the way.
And yet, these strong heroines aren’t perfect either, which might be my most favorite thing about them.
5. To See Heroines Like Me
Romance books are increasingly inclusive and diverse where you can read about characters of all shapes, sizes, abilities, occupations, and orientation finding their happily ever after.
You get the shy woman, the career-driven woman, the single mom, the party girl. It doesn’t matter. They all get their happily ever after whatever that may look like for them.
6. To Increase Your Libido
Well let’s address this one head-on, shall we? Of course, romance books turn me on. At least the super steamy ones 😊.
What I love most about the romance book genre is that there really is something for everyone.
You can have very clean romance books with little to no physical intimacy, you can have implied intimacy with closed-door romance books, or you can have explicit, erotic, open-door romance books and anything and everything in between.
While what turns a person on varies widely from person to person, reading romance can also help you figure out what turns you on (or in some cases what turns you off too) which leads me to my next reason…
7. To Help Identify and Communicate Your Pleasure
Romance books can help you identify what turns you on or what gives you pleasure because sometimes you just don’t know until you read about it.
Doing a buddy read with a partner may also spice up your relationship as well.
Or simply highlight passages and then pass the book to your partner so that he/she can learn more about what you like if you can’t necessarily voice it yourself.
Kandi Steiner’s heroine in her book Blind Side is a voracious romance reader and the hero in the story just so happens to notice that she has a lot of passages highlighted in her books and actually reads them to better understand what she may like in the bedroom:
8. To Play Out Fantasies
Reading romance books, you can also safely explore what a fantasy may look like in real life by first “experiencing” it in the pages of a novel.
Or if the fantasies you have aren’t ones you see yourself actually acting out in real life, reading about them in romance books still gives you that opportunity to envision them.
9. To Experience Intimacy
Reading romance books also gives readers an opportunity to experience intimacy.
One of my readers shared with me that she reads romance to experience feelings that she may not normally feel because she’s an introvert.
Let’s face it. Finding a partner can be hard. It’s not easy to trust someone with your thoughts and feelings let alone physical intimacy.
Romance books can at least offer that experience of intimacy within the pages if physical intimacy in real life is difficult.
10. To Re-live the Feelings of Early Love and Experience the Endorphins That Go Along With It
Falling in love feels good. Science tells us so. You got to hand it to the feel-good endorphins that flood our brains when we fall in lust or love with someone.
I’ve been happily married for years but it never gets old falling in love again with the characters on the page and reliving those memories and feelings of early love.
11. To Accumulate Book Boyfriends
Even though I’m married, I happily accumulate many book boyfriends that I gush over.
My favorite book boyfriends all bring something different to the table.
Book boyfriends can also help my single friends and readers learn what they may like or not like in a partner.
12. To Learn from Strong Heroines
While I love my book boyfriends, I also love my heroines too.
I love reading romance to be inspired by female characters who are doing or saying or being all that I imagine and want for myself.
I may not be running an empire while raising a family but there are characters doing it and maybe even struggling with it but they are an inspiration that it’s possible and that I can do it if I want to.
Women are astrophysicists, female billionaires, top sports agents, and amazing single parents because authors aren’t afraid to show that women can be anything they truly want to be and thrive no matter their circumstances.
#OwnVoices books are especially inspiring because the characters are based on an author’s own personal experience.
They also show how a marginalized character can rise above and earn success in whatever way that may look for that person.
13. To Improve Your Relationships
I definitely describe myself as a lifelong learner, and romance books have been some of my greatest teachers.
Of course, I’m always looking for ways to improve my marriage and friendships and romance books are full of helpful nuggets that I’ve learned or that are reinforced.
They also have helped me with relationships with my kids – particularly how to be there for them without judgement.
How to give them space to be themselves as I’ve read too many characters who are scarred from parents who constantly pushed them to be someone they aren’t or never took them for who and what they are.
14. To Learn from Others’ Mistakes
Romance books offer great learning experiences, especially from others’ mistakes.
Communication breakdowns, miscommunications, poor choices, missed opportunities – we all experience them but seeing how a character confronts these issues can teach you something and influence how you may address a similar setback in your own life.
15. To Learn Something New
It ruffles my feathers whenever someone suggests that it’s beneath me to read romance or that someone intelligent wouldn’t read romance.
As someone who holds two Masters degrees, I don’t agree with that statement at all or feel like intelligent people should only be reading literature.
That also assumes that romance books are just “fluff” when really, I’ve learned so many new things reading romance.
Penny Reid is a romance book author who’s out to write smart romances and boy does she do it well with her own works and those she supports through her romance book publishing incubator, Smartypants Romance.
Reading her books, I’ve learned about bitcoin, AI intelligence, and what one’s experience may look like living on the autism spectrum.
Other authors have taught me about important mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, OCD, depression, and anxiety.
I’m all about learning something new and it’s an added bonus to pick up things up from my romance books.
16. To Become More Woke and Improve Empathy
Variety is the spice of life and difference is what makes the world go round. If we were all the same, what a boring, boring world this would be.
That’s why I love reading about characters who are completely different from me or from anyone I’ve met.
Romance books have helped me to better understand prejudice, white privilege, differences in gender, gender identities, sexual preferences, and more.
Who am I to judge someone who prefers an open relationship or a polyamorous one for instance.
Love is love in my book and I love exploring it in every combination through romance books.
17. To Inspire Travel
After reading The Romantic Pact, I vowed to travel to Germany at Christmas time for the holiday markets. It’s now on my bucket list of things to do thanks to author Meghan Quinn.
Romance books have also taken me to Alaska, the Galapagos Islands, the Scottish Highlands, and many, many other amazing and beautiful places that I want to explore one day.
Romance novels inspire the best travel opportunities and offer some of the best staycations around!
18. For an Immersive Experience with All The Feels
Let me tell you that some romance book authors are not satisfied with just giving you a story with a happy ending. Oh no.
I’m talking about the authors that want to give you an EXPERIENCE. I’m looking at you, Kate Stewart.
Whenever I pick up a Kate Stewart romance, I know that I’m in for an immersive experience that is going to shake me to my core.
Am a being a bit exaggerated? Read one of her books and then you can answer that for yourself (but the answer is no 😊).
Reading romance is a true experience because authors won’t shy away from ripping your heart out and then patching it up again.
These are the authors whose stories give you ALL the feels, ranging from heartache to anger to shock to elation to awe – you name it.
Not only do Stewart’s words give me all the feels, but she creates a true immersive experience with her books by creating epic playlists to listening to while reading her books.
With her book, Reverse, for example, Stewart gives a song title with every chapter to listen to while reading.
When I say that these songs add to this reading experience like nothing else, I’m not joking.
I can only imagine the amount of time she puts into making these amazing playlists that go along with each of her books but they are such a gift and totally enhance the reading experience like nothing else.
While it takes me DAYS or maybe weeks to recover from reading a Stewart romance because of all the emotions that I go through, I welcome, no crave, that experience because it makes me feel alive.
19. For the Variety
I love reading romance for the great variety it offers.
With so many different romance book tropes and categories, there is always a different story for me to find no matter what mood I’m in.
Do I want to imagine myself center stage with a rock star? I’ll dive into a rock star romance.
20. To Support Amazing Women Writers
I would remiss if I didn’t say that one reason that I like to read romance books is to support the many incredibly gifted women writers who pen these amazing works.
Many of my favorite authors independently publish their own romance novels, and I cannot imagine all of the work that goes into releasing a book beyond writing words on a page.
I’m happy that my voracious reading habit can somehow contribute to another woman’s success! So keep the books coming ladies. You are all rock stars in my book.
While I’m sure that I can come up with many more reasons for reading romance, I hope that these may have already inspired you to give it a go.
Have a reason of your own you’d like to share? Please do in the comments below. I’d love to hear it.
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