According to the Pew Research Center, 25% of American adults didn’t read one book in 2013.
That means, not even a quarter of the United States adult population bothered to flip open the cover of a book or download an e-book to their e-reader or other device.
Authors and librarians may start to worry, as the non-reading rate has tripled within the last three decades!
All looks doom and gloom until we go to the romance section.
And it’s doing phenomenally!
In 2012, romance fiction accounted for $1.48 billion in profits. It doubled the next reading genre — religious and inspirational.
According to the Romance Writers of America (RWA), romance fiction makes up 34% of the U.S. fiction market, with 61% of romance fiction being consumed via e-books.
Some may attribute this to the advent of E.L. James’ 50 Shades erotic fiction series. Others may state it’s a sign of the times, as we have (as a nation) become more tolerant and open about sexuality and romance.
Or maybe it’s that women have become more comfortable claiming their own sexuality.
The RWA states that the primary romance reader is 84% female (and 16% male).
A Psychology Today article boasts that a whopping 74% of women who read romantic fiction has sex with their partners more often than women who don’t.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to pick up a Nora Robert’s novel, here are 10 more reasons why women enjoy indulging in erotic literature.
It’s book porn (or borno)
Erotic literature for women is the equivalent of visual pornography for men.
Borno equals porno. Enough said.
There’s actually science that supports this.
Psychologist and author, Dr. Julia Slattery points out in this article that there is a neurochemical element between men and visual porn, while there’s an emotional connection with women and romantic literature.
Slattery goes on to say that the same euphoric high occurs in women with romance novels as men with the typical porno.
(It’s not surprising then that the romance readership consists largely of women.)
Slattery continues by saying the books don’t have to even be that explicitly sexual for arousal.—(We’d say it doesn’t hurt.)
So, the next time you see a romantic novel in the grocery store or at your local book store, flip through some of the pages.
Notice that the content isn’t about the physicality of the characters, but revolves around the emotion.
Erotic fiction increases a woman’s sex drive
Just 30-40 minutes of erotic reading gets the majority of women aroused, according to a study.
In fact, a lot of sex therapists (therapists who specialize in sexuality) advise women to invest in bibliotherapy.
Bibliotherapy means utilizing books to help with treatment, or, as Dr. Susan Kellog states in this article,”Bibliotherapy is a fancy name for something simple: promoting sexual behavior through reading.”
The human brain is a library of information.
Research implies that spontaneous female arousal and desire can occur much more frequently if women access the erotic images in their “libraries.”
Erotic literature can help insert some of those images in the libraries, as well as access them.
When women read erotic literature, the images are accessed and come up, causing physical responses such as the release of sexual chemicals (testosterone and dopamine), increasing arousal.
Bibliotherapy is especially essential for women who suffer from lower sex drives and require some help in boosting it up a bit.
It’s a healthy way to explore sex
Kay Jaybee, an erotica author known for her BDSM (bondage and discipline, and submission and masochism) stories, states that a sizeable portion (50%) of her readers are young women, ages 15-26 years old.
For a lot of these women, romantic literature is a safe avenue for them to learn about sex.
Responsible erotic fiction can accurately teach young women what “experimental” sex actually is, and debunk a lot of the stereotypes surrounding it in society.
They can learn about types of sex such as BDSM without directly partaking in it. BDSM can also be a lifestyle choice, not just a sexual activity. And those who partake in it aren’t “bad” or “weird”, which may not be a viewpoint you’d learn from your friends.
Addressing stereotypes aside, erotic literature makes it ok for young women to explore sexual topics and fantasies they don’t feel comfortable discussing with family and even their friends. Some women may not want to discuss submissive sex with their best friend. Others are curious about a threesome and that’s why erotic literature is a safe way to have their questions and curiosities met.
And, let’s not forget about safe sexual health. Responsible erotic fiction can be a great way for young women to learn that having sex with a condom is hot and both partners continually keeping an open conversation about consent is sexy.
Pertaining to that, Kay Jaybee states, “There’s never any question about consent. There’s never anybody underage. There’s never anything illegal. There is no blood loss. Even when things get rough in the BDSM stories, everyone is always allowed a get-out.”
Sexual fantasy exploration
Sexual fantasy is a huge part of erotic literature.
Just like romantic fiction gives permission for young women to explore sex for the first time in a safe environment, this genre also gives women of all ages permission to safely explore their sexual fantasies without the fear of being found out, judged, or embarrassed. If gang bang workplace scenes really turn a woman on, she can safely explore that in fiction. In reality, some of these fantasies have a very slim percentage of actually happening and could have the potential of being very dangerous.
Fantasy is far different from reality. Just because a woman may fantasize about a bunch of men (or women) having sex with her on a deserted tropical beach (that somehow has clean, healthy water and an all-you-can-eat buffet?) doesn’t mean she actually wants to go out and do it. The fantasy may just be enough.
Questioning sexual orientation
Erotica can also be a safe place for women who are questioning their sexual orientation and want to have some privacy to do that. Erotica may provide curious women that gentle touch to accept who they are and what their sexual orientation is. Again, it’s safe space, free of criticism, and non-judgmental.
Remember all of those feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine, testosterone, and endorphins? Well, those same neurochemicals are responsible for making you feel better. So, reading erotic literature helps improve mood, which is why a lot of women enjoy it.
Pure and simple hedonist escapism
Like men, women have many roles: mother, daughter, sister, employer, boss.
With these roles comes a ton of responsibilities. Sometimes, a woman just needs to sit down on the couch, prop her feet up, and open an erotic novel to temporarily take her to another place. While there’s some hedonistic pleasure that may be dangerous or illegal, fantasizing about a muscle-bound protagonist named Jack taking his shirt off is certainly not one of them.
What about just enjoying some free time?
Or you’re on a beach and want something easy and pain-free to read? Yes, this does go along with the whole hedonist escapism, but the reason for escapism isn’t always to provide relief from the hassles of everyday life. It can be just for entertainment’s sake. Some people may pop a Lord of the Rings DVD in or stream How I Met Your Mother. Others play soccer in the park. And then some people open up an Aleatha Romig novel and browse through it for a half hour (or a couple hours).
Erotic literature is generally very digestible. A book can generally be finished in just a few hours. and they typically don’t involve deep intellectual discussions, which is a part of their appeal.
Go on a plane ride, sit on a beach, or wait for your kid’s basketball practice to let out. Erotic literature makes the hours fly by (enjoyably).
We mentioned a stat in the beginning that 74% of women who consume erotica have more frequent sex than those who didn’t. Let’s go more in-depth with this:
We already know that erotica helps provide women access to their mental libraries and retrieve arousing images that are stored in there. This helps to increase their arousal, which leads to more sex. That is awesome!
Now, remember how erotic literature helps release those feel-good hormones? Well, sex does the same thing. So people who have sex more should feel better more potentially—right? Couples who engage in sex more tend to feel happier about their relationships. In fact, a Psychology Today article states that couples who are the happiest tend to be those who have the best sex lives.
So, putting this all together, erotica can be a great tool to help promote more frequent sex between couples and strengthen relationships.
(They might even want to act out some of the ideas in the novel!)
Can’t forget the other physical benefits of erotic literature (ahem)
Erotic literature gets women’s libidos going. And chances are, they do something about it.
Either by having sex with a partner or having flying solo or both, which leads them to the big O. (Orgasm.)
Orgasms help in a lot of ways such as stress relief, pain relief, improving memory, and burning those calories. So, what are you waiting for?!
Grab some erotic thrillers and enjoy their rewards! And make sure you read our blog regularly, there’s always something new on the shelf!