There's a purported "stat" about sexuality and romance reading that goes like this:  Chicks who read romance have more sex than those among their gender who don't read the genre.  Like, 74% more.

I've yet to locate the Psychology Today study the stat's supposed to have come from. But based on the anecdotal evidence I've gleaned from romance readers, I can pretty unequivocally state that partners of chicks who read romance ain't complaining. Or, if I may dance upon the edges of TMI and quote my husband's comment online to erotic romance superstar Emma Holly after his reading a super-hot excerpt from her new book, "Kissing Midnight..."  

"I, and husbands everywhere, really appreciate what you do for us."

To which viewer Lisa K replied, "...I really think most men think like you do but you're sure the first one I've ever heard admitting it. *snicker*"

LisaK and many of we romance readers support guys like my husband who appreciate how much their women dig reading romance, not just because their romance lovers "share the love," but because they're pleased their women are empowered by the reading and often attendant fantasizing experiences.

However, if we assume guys want only the some some that's the end product of the romance-reading equation, maybe we're doing them a disservice, especially because guys are capable of assimilating intimacy and sensual emotions in ways other than physical, perhaps even through -- brace yourself -- reading.

Guys?  Reading romance books?  That's an affirmative hell yeah, and among men the escapist pastime's up, with 22% of ‘em joining the ranks of those buying the largest chunk of genre fiction sold.  Since I'm always happy to recruit for the home team, why not snap up some of these selections for the guys you know, love or hope to love?

"Defender" and "Hotshot   ," from Catherine Mann's Black Ops series. Mann's heroes are scientists, top-gun flyers, war heroes and good guys with rough pasts.  Black Ops books are heavy on suspense, exciting military tech and maneuvers - and equally emotionally and sensually intense on the down-to-earth relationship story front.  

If your lovah is ready to graduate to a little spicier read - perhaps one you might read together -- hand him some Tori Carrington, and be sure to tell him that Tori's the husband and wife writing team of Tony and Lori Karayianni!  Their upcoming "Branded (Harlequin Blaze #471)  " is down-home sexy, and "A Few Good Men (Harlequin Blaze Series #445) " is a kind of classic tribute to our military heroes and the women they love.  Expect both the suspenseful story and the sensuality to hold his interest.
The race-car driver heroes of  Erin McCarthy's "Flat Out Sexy,"  and "Hard and Fast   " know their ways around a track and women.  And like most guys, they really do know how to step up to the relationship plate when they meet the "right one."  These are great books when your fave guy friend's on his way to more erotic romantic reading.

And howza' ‘bout trying some of the, no kidding, hottest sex I've read in ages wrapped in a fun and very contemporary love story that says "Guys will Get This!" in a million ways?" Grab a copy of Victoria Dahl's "Start Me Up    ," and get you and your guy someplace cozy to meet mechanic Lori Love and the absent-minded genius architect with whom she's acting out her erotic romance novel fantasies - amid a suspenseful mystery, of course. 

Altruistic caring about guys' needs aside, I'd like you to consider my suggestions akin to instruction manuals for men in how to understand what fantasies turn on women, hoping the some-some equation works in reverse and that when our guys read romance it'll make them remember why they fell in love with us and want to express sexually the emotional intimacy of our relational bond. 

Of course, we also could be happy if men simply read romance and find their days just a little more fulfilling for the experience. 

Let's go with that. *snicker*

What romance/s would you recommend guys read?  Why do you think the number of men reading romances is increasing?

Michelle Buonfiglio writes about romance fiction and pop culture daily at Romance: B(u)y the Book (RBTB)

by on ‎05-19-2009 03:30 PM
Not that I'm completely disbelieving you. But I'd have to see it first.
by amyskf on ‎05-19-2009 04:40 PM

Oooh, I'd recommend the JR Ward books--they're loaded with tetosterone--but with a whole lot of tenderness (from the some of the most unexpected characters)


Also, any Susan Brockmann book--military or FBI heroes and heroines--great story lines with lots of action and suspense--and great love scenes.


I know I'll think of a million more...just not at this moment.


TigegrBear--which part were you somewhat disbelieving? Just wondering.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-19-2009 05:20 PM
My husband enjoys the end result of my reading these books but, believe me, he is never going to pick one up and actually read it.  On the other hand, he enjoys chick flicks as much as I do.  I can live with that!
by on ‎05-19-2009 05:45 PM

A guy reading a romance book. A guy buying a romance book. Even an erotica book.


I'd have to see it first. 


Not saying it doesn't happen. Just...

by Tori_Carrington44 on ‎05-19-2009 07:28 PM

"Come along and ride on a mantastic voyage..."


Thx a lot, Michelle. Now that song's stuck in my head. Of course, it could be worse. I could be humming a polka tune.


Fwiw, Tony is the bigger romance reader out of the two of us and always has been, so we can both tesitfy that, yes, men do read romance. In fact, Tony's made it his lifelong goal to chase his fellow male romance readers, um, out of the bushes.


Let's face it. A good percentage of women won't openly admit to being romance readers, so the chances of getting men to own up to it are slim. But that doesn't mean we should give up.


Hmm...actually, I think fellow author Leslie Kelly aka Leslie Parrish has a photo of our real men in uniform proudly holding up romance novels. So there's hope!



Lori (& Tony)

Win a Spa Gift Basket! Details at

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎05-19-2009 08:07 PM

Hi, Everybody!  Well, we clearly know guys do read romance -- and I'm not counting dog-eared copies of "Field of Dreams." :smileyhappy:  In fact, one of the titles I toyed w/for this post -- before realizing how really dreadful and horrifying it was, was, please forgive me, "If we write it, they will come."  And truly, when I'm talking about guys reading romance, I'm not just talking about their reading it for the erotic enjoyment. I want to give them way more credit for being feeling animals; I think guys like romance for the emotional impact and the fantasy, including the placeholding fantasy.  


I love what Lori's written:  A good percentage of women won't openly admit to being romance readers, so the chances of getting men to own up to it are slim. I'm thoroughly convinced that vocal negativity re romance novels has more to do with folks -- women, too -- fearing their own emotions than concern for what others think about their reading choices.  Which should tell you something about how much folks fear emotions.

But today, more men than ever want to be good husbands, fathers, lovers, they just don't necessarily have the role models in the previous generation.  Terry Real makes a great case for this in his book, "The New Rules of Marriage."  Yet, different from their fathers, these guys are creatively problem solving, figuring out new ways to stay true to their 'guyness' while opening up to new ways of gathering info about how to communicate, please the woman they love and become "man enough to feel," as it were.

Why wouldn't guys want to check out today's romance novels, especially ones that are so infused with themes and styles that we used to think of as the bastions of 'guy' reads: thrillers, fantasy, covert and military ops intrigue, brothers-in-arms series, etc? 

At the very least, if we were interested in using the books as instructional tools for teaching guys, for example, to respect us or to better understand our fantasies, we could start by reading guy-friendly romance to our guys. But don't be subtle about it.  You've gotta tell him clearly:  I'm going to read this to you because I'd like to be treated this way. Or, I think it'd be fun to try this. Or, I find this really romantic; it gets me hot...


by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎05-19-2009 08:16 PM

Ah, becke, interesting.  My husband gets glassy eyed at chick flicks.  Unless you count "Hairspray."  Yet he has read romance for me, even though he's a total non-fiction guy. Someday we'll discuss his infatuation with John Adams...


I know, tiggerbear, it does kinda seem unnatural on its face.  But the number seems to be growing.  Can you think of any books you've read that a guy might like?

Amy, my son cannot wait to read JR Ward. I agree that guys totally would dig them -- unless they have any body issues.  Then the over-the-top quality of the larger-than-lifeBlack Dagger Brothers might not appeal.  But I wonder whether guys would care or whether they'd shrug it off like women do or admire the perfection of 'beauty' like some women do.  Which isn't to say that some women don't dislike or resent beauty or perfection in heroes/heroines. But some just take it in stride and appreciate it as part of the fantasy... (a post for another day).

by princess_jewel78 on ‎05-19-2009 08:43 PM

My hubby loves romance and while he's not afraid to admit it, he does keep the covers hidden on the subway :smileyhappy: He cut his teeth on my own work when I started writing Regency Romance a few years ago. But it wasn't until we found Twilight this past summer that he branched out. He loves the paranormal stuff, so in addition to reading all the Twilight books together, we also read Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles together. The feather in my own cap was getting him to read Julia Quinn's Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, which he could NOT put down! Now he's on to Night's Rose, a fantasy/paranormal that again, he can't put down.


On another note, he tried reading a JR Ward and was totally turned off by how violent it was. That's fine with me...I'd much rather have a lover than a fighter :smileyhappy:


My reading and writing romance definitely brought a whole new level of romance to our relationship, but now that he's reading it, it also brings amazing conversation. Pillow talk is so fun when you're recounting the antics or trials of your favorite heroes and heroines together :smileyhappy:


Oh, and he's not the only guy in our group of friends who reads romance! We've turned all our married couple friends onto reading romance together, and they alll thank us!

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-19-2009 08:59 PM

 "If we write it, they will come." 



by Author Kate4queen on ‎05-19-2009 09:24 PM
I think I'd suggest the Suzanne Brockmann Navy Seals series and  J D Robb. I've heard from quite a few guys who like to read my Simply books as well LOL
by amyskf on ‎05-19-2009 11:35 PM That's it, just wow.  Oh, and I was gonna say the Gardella books too.


Kate4queen--oh yeah, jd robb too--but I think Michelle would argue the "romance" quality of the "in death" series.


Michelle don't you think guys are so less body conscience than women? And therefore can or could see themselves as the placeholder for the hero?


Tori and Tigger I work in the library and there are many guys who check out romances, one man loves to talk about how his mother read romances and it's pretty much what he had to read. I think the genre bending/blending has added to the lessening of the stigma for guys. 



by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-20-2009 02:39 AM
Oh yeah.  I could see guys getting into the Troubleshooters series.  Not my husband, but some guys.
by Author PortiaDaCosta on ‎05-20-2009 02:55 AM

I'm afraid my hubby never reads fiction at all, so chances of him ever reading a romance novel are slim to nil.


But he will watch a romcom movie if it's on the telly, so that's a step in the right direction. :smileyhappy:

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎05-20-2009 09:09 AM
Well if it's not on CNN or written on the smeary pages of our still surviving daily newspaper, I would never get my husband to read romance. And he doesn't understand my infatuation okay my vivid love affair with it. So I just don't tell him and let him reap the benefits. I do know men who enjoy romance and the one in particular that I know personally is a supplier of mine at work and he reads romance for the same reason I do, because it's wonderful writing and the headlines are dreadful so he like I would rather be immersed in the wonderful world of fiction. And like me he requires that all allusive HEA. And I envy those of you who's husbands are not afraid of their testosterone eeking out their fingers while holding romance novels.
by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎05-20-2009 09:59 AM

What great comments!  dhaupt, two things make me laugh: I just don't tell him and let him reap the benefits. and one in particular that I know personally is a supplier of mine at work and he reads romance for the same reason I do.  When you said he loves the writing and the headlines are dreadful, I thought you meant the Harlequin Presents, which we adore for the stories, but also for the titles like "The Brazilian CEO's Pregnant Virgin Mistress!"  But then I realized you meant the news headlines.  :smileytongue:  I can only report on my husband as having tried a couple at my recommendation, as opposed to men who read more romance than not.  But even women who report that they read romance, don't report overwhelmingly to read more than, what is it, one-five a year?  The stats are at 


Portia, so many guys must be likeyour husband.  Maybe it's easier or more acceptable if they're watching the romance 'for the home front." :smileyhappy:


Ames, I dunno about guys being less self conscious when it comes to the larger-than-life parts of the Black Dagger Brothers.  I'm not sure they have to read about that very often.   In terms of the "in death,' first you know I dont read em cause then I'd have to do the series, and second, they're series romance w/the romance occurring book to book, rather than stand alone.  so I wouldn't argue they're not romance, just wouldn't classify them as 'traditional' romance.  But as I wrote a couple posts ago, I keep getting into trouble when I try to delineate and classify. ah, me.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎05-20-2009 10:04 AM
Thanks for sharing that, princess!  You write: My reading and writing romance definitely brought a whole new level of romance to our relationship, but now that he's reading it, it also brings amazing conversation.  To me, that says romance has helped you develop even greater intimacy; you've used it as a tool or gateway.  So many couples move forward when they develop a shared pleasure or interest that gives them something to communicate about.  But when it's romance and reading it, it naturally has to bring up emotions and sensations to explore, no?  What a great story.

Great call on the Brockmann, Suz.  Mann is a kind or protege of hers, and I think the books have the same guy appeal.  And I know a lot of guys who'd dig the 'Simply" reads. :smileyhappy:
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎05-20-2009 10:10 AM
Well here goes to crashing the stats Michelle. I read 4-6 books a week and of those let's say 6 books 5 of them are romance so I read about 250 romance books/year. And I'm not one of those readers who are embarrassed by others knowing what kind of books they're reading I proudly display my copy of Sea Witch or The Perfect Poison or Dark Lover (gotta luv those abs baby). And when people comment on my dog-eared copy they ask "how many times have you read that" and I proudly say oh just once that's from perspiring on the pages while I read it. ;-)
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-20-2009 11:00 AM

Chick flicks my husband actually loves:


That Thing You Do

Love Actually

Sleepless in Seattle (well, he doesn't love it as much as I do)

You've Got Mail (ditto)

Only You

Shakespeare in Love

Notting HIll

Runaway Bride

 While You Were Sleeping 

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-20-2009 11:00 AM
And I forgot Don Juan DeMarco.
by Lisa_Kroener on ‎05-20-2009 03:17 PM

Phew, finally, <i>finally</i> I managed to be able to post here. First - registering - I wouldn't manage to fill in the password and the security question at the same time. Then "LisaK" was already taken. <i>Then</i> that blasted thing wouldn't accept the "ö" in my last name. And, last but not least, I couldn't find that nice little box here with "Post a Comment" on top. Aaargh, do you know how annoying one's own stupidity can be? I certainly do.


Okay, now I'm a litle calmed down, take a deep breath, okay.


God, god, I cannot believe I'm being quoted here, how very cool!


Hm, to the question at hand, I honestly can't think of a romance to recommend to a guy. Not that I wouldn't know enough books (haha), but I just can't imagine one of the guys I know reading a romance novel. I don't know why, I just <i>can't</i>. I appreciate a man who knows about romances, but one who acutally reads them ... weird.

But I don't think historicals would suit. Rather paranormals - Patrice Michelle, Gena Showalter or Christina Dodd's Wilders come to mind - because they've got some action going on there and what man doesn't love that (and hasn't secretly dreamed about being able to change into a sexy wolf and howl at the moon :smileyhappy: )?

Or romantic suspense. Karen Rose, for example. The focus is as much on the crime/mystery as on the romantic relationship. And many non romance thrillers do have some little love story in them and men don't seem to mind it.


Well, that's all my poor little brain can think about at the moment. Just one last thing:


I wonder where that attitude that men don't read romance novels actually comes from? Almost everyone thinks so but whoever said so first?


by MalePerspectiveGuy on ‎05-20-2009 03:24 PM

Intersting comments and an interesting post, Michelle. 


I am confident that there is a group of men who enjoy a good romance. That doesn't surprise me.  I do wonder, though, whether guys get something different out of the experience from what women get.  It seems clear that women like the fantasy, the emotional connections made and the emotional hurdles overcome.  Do men get the same thing? Michelle, you touched on this question in a comment, but I ask it outright...  Does a man get a different payoff from a woman when he reads a romance novel?  I'm not sure, so I'm asking.

by Lisa_Kroener on ‎05-20-2009 03:49 PM

Hey Dave *waves*,

I honestly don't know what men get out of reading a romance novel. I've never been one, you know. And I absolutely cannot imagine what's going on in their heads, so you tell me. Maybe most men don't get out anything of it and that's why they don't read them (hahaaa, now <i>that's</i> one interesting answer, I have to say myself *g*).


About the payoff. I have to admit that, if a guy told me that he reads romance, he'd first and foremost get a "You kidding?" and extremely round eyes from me. But then I'd think it's cool. Really cool. I could talk with a man about my favourite genre. But I also think there'd always be something a little strange about it. Just because it's so ... unusual.


by on ‎05-20-2009 06:03 PM

I know, tiggerbear, it does kinda seem unnatural on its face.  But the number seems to be growing.  Can you think of any books you've read that a guy might like?


No, not really. The number of men who read LKH even dropped off when she switched over towards erotica.  The number of guys who avoid even non romance erotica books simply because of the trend towards a more romantic cover (a least in my neck of the woods) is growing.


I don't know if it's an ego thing or a mere preference for porn. 


Going to a romance movie with a date is different than the independant act of by himself reading a romance book.

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎05-21-2009 09:37 AM
I think a guy that only might like romance would like Nicholas Sparks books, they're very realistic and not all have happy endings plus they're written by a guy. When I suggest books to my male reader friends a lot of them scoff at the ones written by women and I personally prefer women writers over men and since women are from Venus and men are from Mars, it just makes sense that women understand the writing from a female perspective and men from a male perspective.
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-21-2009 10:48 AM

I was reading a Nora Roberts book once and a couple of lines just had me in stitches.  I read them out loud to my husband and got a blank look.  I think it's a girl thing (and don't make me crazy by picking on the word 'girl' - it doesn't mean 'child' in my book!).


I definitely think we can learn a thing or two from those hot romances. And, like Debbie and a lot of other regulars on the Romantic Reads board, I read about five books a week -- sometimes more, sometimes less, depending what is going on in work/life. But I easily buy 500 books a year. 

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