I read the following article on the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/31/romance-novels_n_869004.html ) After seeing it discussed a lot today on Twitter amongst the romance community. If you haven’t seen it, take a look.
Romance novels can be as addictive as pornography
May 30th, 2011 @ 6:07pm
By Kimberly Sayer-Giles, ksl.com contributor
SALT LAKE CITY -- Romance novels are a booming business. Analysts believe book sales are increasing because romance novels provide a perfect escape during tough times.
Romance novels revenue topped $1.36 billion last year, while religious, self-help and inspirational books combined sold only $770 million. Romance novels accounted for 55 percent of all the popular mass-market fiction sold.
This seemingly harmless pastime, however, is not as harmless as it may seem.
“In fact, some marriage therapists caution that women can become as dangerously unbalanced by these books’ entrancing but distorted messages as men can be by the distorted messages of pornography,” said best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn, who studies the differences between men and women.
“There is a neurochemical element with men and visual porn, but an emotional element with women and these novels," she wrote.
Men are very visual, and viewing pornography produces a euphoric drug in the body. This drug is the reason pornography becomes addictive. When the natural high wears off, a man will crash and feel depressed (as happens with any drug) and crave another hit.
Women are more stimulated by romance than sex, so when they read romantic stories (and they don’t have to be explicit to work) they can experience the same addicting chemical release as men do.
For many women, these romance novels may be more than a necessity; they may be an addiction -- and Slattery said she is seeing more and more women who are clinically addicted to romantic books.
Many women do not see their love for reading romantic books as a problem, while others are admitting dissatisfaction in their marriages that may stem from reading these types of books.
“For many women, these novels really do promote dissatisfaction with their real relationships,” Slattery wrote.
Women may find their standard for intimacy begins to change over time because may not be able to get as satisfied with their partners as they can reading a book.
Pornography addiction counselor Vickie Burress said reading romance novels or viewing pornography may eventually lead to an affair for some women.
"Women involved in pornography have a hard time keeping their family together,” she said.
Help fighting the addiction
If romance novels are a problem for you, there are things you can do.
First, commit to stop reading any books that are contributing to this problem. Recognizing you have a problem and making a firm commitment to quit is the most important step.
Then, commit to working on your real relationship, if you are in one. Spend alone time with your partner on a regular basis. Invest in help to make that time more enjoyable. Read self-help books together or contact a relationship professional or coach, who can help you to rekindle the flame in your marriage.
If you are not in a real relationship, you may want to focus on finding one. Are you spending time reading instead of getting out there making new friends and meeting people? There are many kinds of social groups you could join.
Find a hobby or other activity you could do instead of reading romantic books. Get some exercise, take up a sport, learn to paint or play a musical instrument.
If you love to read, just choose a different type of book. There are many interesting choices that do not include arousing scenes. Try some books on creating healthy relationships or self-improvement.
There is a wonderful real world out there to explore. Get out there and invest in your real life.
Kimberly Sayer Giles is the founder and president of LDS Life Coaching and www.claritypointcoaching.com and was named one of the top 20 Advice Guru's in the country by GMA. She is a popular speaker and life coach who resides in Bountiful Utah.
Okay? We’ve all read the article now? Good. I don’t usually respond to articles by blogging about them. Oh sure, occasionally I rant on Facebook or Twitter. More of then that, I let my family hear me roar until I feel better or they’ve had enough, whichever comes first. But today, I’ve decided to write a blog post about it.
Like everything else in this blog, which is entitled Rebecca’s Random Musings, these are my opinions and should be taken as such. Also, I have been known, on more than one occasion, to change my mind about things. I think most of us, if we are honest, do this a lot. Or at least I hope people do.
Lately, I feel like every time I turn around someone is attacking Romance Writers or Romance Books. Just a few weeks ago, I was hugely impressed by the outcry of the Romance Community on the side of a woman who writes erotic romance novels. Some local people had found out that she wrote for Ellora’s Cave, a publisher whose work I love to read and who publishes some of my favorite authors, and had decided to petition to have her removed from her teaching job because she must be looking at their children in inappropriate ways.
There was so much wrong with their arguments and I really don’t want to rehash the whole thing right now. From what I understand, their witch-hunt didn’t go very far and I am very grateful to hear that.
But here we are today. Romance Novels are helping to destroy marriages. Really? You’re serious about this?
Let me ask you a question. How many of you have heard about a couple that divorced because the husband looked at porn? It might just be me, but I have never heard a friend, colleague, or acquaintance tell me that they divorced because their significant other looked at too much porn.
But I digress. Because the argument here—that Romance Novels are akin to Porn—just doesn’t hold up for me.
Let’s talk about what a Romance Novel really is. It’s a Novel. It is words on a page put together by an author, or sometimes authors, for the purpose of entertainment. For the most part escapism, but I would hasten to say that I have read several highly researched Romance Novels that I would hold up against books I read in college where I graduated with a degree in English.
So why is everyone always up in arms about the Romance Novel? I don’t hear people getting that upset about say Horror Books or Suspense Novels or the books my parents like that usually have an old, worn out former police officer chasing serial killers all over the country? Why decide to blame the Romance Novel for the breaking down of marriages?
Oh yes, I know. Sex. Yes I said it. The three little letters that makes some people really uncomfortable. Sex. Sex. Sex.
If a woman is reading a book that has SEX in it than she must somehow be causing a problem with her marriage. She must somehow be neglecting her husband’s real needs because she is reading about Vampires falling in love. She must not be fulfilling her real life obligations because she is reading about SEX.
Most of the people I know who read Romance Novels do not read them for the sex. Oh sure. They like it in there. It’s fun to read the smutty words telling you about adventurous things you would not or possibly could not get away with in real life.
They read the books because they believe in love. And who believes in love? Mostly its people who are, in fact, in love. People who don’t believe in love are not, in general, reading romance novels. Why would they waste their time? They don’t like the subject.
But all of that aside, I also can’t help but wonder if we spend so much time attacking Romance Novels because women read them. And anything a Woman does, even in 2011, that somehow takes her away from what is considered her essential roles: family, work, responsibility—that must be to blame for the breakup of her marriage. It’s a problem that she spends so much time reading? She should—what was it the article said—take up a hobby? It won’t be a problem for her marriage if she spends too much time collecting stamps? Somehow that won’t break up her marriage?
This self-proclaimed romance writer and reader is rolling her eyes today. Come on, get a life.
“Oh you know John and Jane, their marriage broke up because Jane read too many Romance Novels.”