health

Romance Novels: 10 Steamy Reasons Why They’re Good For Your Health

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Most of us have probably read a romance novel or two in our lives. Maybe it was a guilty pleasure. Maybe we were totally into it. But either way, these tales of swooning, adventure, beautiful heroes and heroines, and more swooning have been popular forever.

But they’ve also often been considered trash forever, too.

It turns out, though, that your favorite tales of love at first sight, thrilling intrigue and adventure, and, of course, some steamy scenes might be anything but trash.

Many studies have shown that reading, whether it’s a physical book with pages or a digital version on your computer or tablet, has a hugely positive effect on your mind and your body. And it doesn’t matter what you read, either. It’s all good for you, and that includes even the most shameless of romance novels.

And romance novels, in particular, have benefits not only on the body, but on minds and relationships, too. After all, they’re all about relationships!

So the next time you’re looking for something to read, consider reaching for a steamy romance, and you just might find that you have a new favorite genre. And the cool thing about them is that there are so many kinds — from hardboiled crime dramas to sweeping magical fantasies — that there’s a romance novel for every taste.

Check out some of the ways romance novels might help improve your life on all fronts below, and get romantic.

Why Do Romance Novels Get A Bad Rap?

Why Do Romance Novels Get A Bad Rap?
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

When people talk about literature and reading, they often fall into the habit of excluding romance novels.

But why is that? There are so many out there, and many are well-written and compelling stories. So what gives?

Well, mostly what it comes down to, sadly, is that many of them are written for women, by women, and historically, media created by and intended for women gets a bad rap.

On the other end, some women say they’re sexist and demeaning to women — something that’s changed a lot in the past few decades.

But as we all know, simply dismissing a whole genre of work misses a lot of important things, including how reading a steamy novel can actually be good for your physical and mental health.

Benefit #1: They Boost Brain Activity And Function

Benefit #1: They Boost Brain Activity And Function
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Reading anything is a great way to keep your mind active and sharp, and that includes romance novels.

Often set in faraway or fantastical locations, they make us get imaginative to envision the story unfolding.

Keeping all the plots, subplots, characters, and intrigue is a brain workout, too!

And yes, you’re going to imagine the sex scenes — we know.

Benefit #2: They Lower The Risk Of Heart Attack And Disease

Benefit #2: They Lower The Risk Of Heart Attack And Disease
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

By lowering stress, books help calm our heart rate and blood pressure.

And naturally, romance novels are good for your heart, too — in the literal and figurative sense!

Of course, romance novels might contain some scenes that will make your heart pound for a bit, but that’s okay.

It’s even better if the scenes end up inspiring some, ahem, physical activity.

Benefit #3: They Kickstart Our Intimacy

Benefit #3: They Kickstart Our Intimacy
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Getting hot and bothered while reading is great, but what’s even better? Using it as inspiration to get hot and bothered in real life!

And we’re not just talking about sex (although we’re totally also talking about sex), but everyday expressions of love and affection, too.

We’re not saying that everything that works in a novel will work in real life (riding in on a horse might not be feasible, for example), but these books can inspire little gestures that will make your relationship sparkle.

Benefit #4: They Lower Stress

Benefit #4: They Lower Stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Reading in general lowers stress (OK, maybe not when it has to do with current events), and romance novels have the added bonus of whisking us into a fantasy world, helping us take a break from the trials of everyday life. It’s like a mini vacation!

In addition, studies show that reading reduces our stress even more than walking or listening to music.

Benefit #5: They Boost Confidence

Benefit #5: They Boost Confidence
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The heroines and heroes in romance novels often have to overcome a lot of hardships, including things like disabilities, injuries, or not being perceived as “pretty” — you know, just like we do.

Reading about a character growing and triumphing over adversity makes us feel like we can, too, and helps us feel a little better about ourselves.

They can also help us see our “flaws” as unique traits to be treasured.

Benefit #6: They Help Us Explore Our Turn-Ons

Benefit #6: They Help Us Explore Our Turn-Ons
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Romance novels are known for featuring some steamy scenes, and they’re designed to get readers hot and bothered. Of course, some will heat and bother you more than others.

And in this way, you’ll get more in tune with what turns you on — and off. You probably already have a good idea, but reading a romance novel is also a safe way to explore new things and see if they work for you.

Benefit #7: They Make Us Consider Our Relationships

Benefit #7: They Make Us Consider Our Relationships
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Romance novels are all about relationships, and just like in real relationships, the characters experience plenty of pitfalls and misunderstandings.

By reading about the characters’ flaws, mistakes, and even just their situations, we can reflect on our own.

If you realize that all the problems are stemming from a character’s lack of communication, it can inspire you to be more communicative in your own life.

Benefit #8: Their Heroines Inspire Us

Benefit #8: Their Heroines Inspire Us
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

A long time ago, the female characters in romance novels weren’t always that great, and many women have complained that their passivity was downright sexist.

But that’s changed. More readers are demanding characters they can look up to, and more writers are delivering.

The heroines in today’s romance novels are everything from tough detectives to powerful mages and pioneering time travelers. And plenty of them are strong and smart everyday women, too.

Benefit #9: Their Authors Are Inspiring, Too

Benefit #9: Their Authors Are Inspiring, Too
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

All kinds of women write romance novels, and many of them have some pretty impressive accomplishments under their belts.

Many of them are also interested in creating media for and by women, and inspire future generations of writers and readers.

Benefit #10: They Help Us Feel Empowered By Sexuality

Benefit #10: They Help Us Feel Empowered By Sexuality
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

A lot of women sadly feel uncomfortable and ashamed of their sexuality, and many of us have grown up with a lot of mixed messages about it.

Romance novels, though, establish their female leads as women who have healthy sex lives and totally own it as a normal part of being an adult.

Are you a romance novel fan? If you are, let us know your all-time favorite in the comments. If not, will you try one out?

SHARE this surprising information with anyone who loves a steamy read, and with anyone who should give them a try!