Romance novels, specifically.
According to this article — this half-assed, non-researched, badly argued piece of self-promotion — women are “more stimulated by romance than sex, so when they read romantic stories… they can experience the same addicting chemical release as men do” when watching pornography.
Romance novels revenue topped $1.36 billion last year, while religious, self-help and inspirational books combined sold only $770 million… 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.
I’d deconstruct the whole lame article point by unsupported, illogical point, but I’m tired, and reading it only makes me more exhausted. One “expert” cited in the piece is associated with a super-conservative Christian fundamentalist organization. A “pornography addiction counselor” says that “reading romance novels or viewing pornography may eventually lead to an affair for some women,” and, ominously, “Women involved in pornography have a hard time keeping their family together.” Got that? Reading romance = “involvement in porn” = broken families.
And then the author warns that to save themselves from slutitude and insanity (I paraphrase), women should basically stop reading.
But she gives the game away at the end. She suggests that if some gals truly can’t rid themselves of the urge to read, “Try some books on creating healthy relationships or self-improvement.”
Yup. Put down those novels and start reading self-help books instead. And oh, what a surprise: the article’s author is a “life coach.”
Before writing this post I asked a romantic novelist her opinion. She said: “Tut, tut — plus ca change and all that — and what a load of rubbish!”
What she said.
IN THE COMMENTS: Patti, for the win.