Men Reading Romance

Men who read romance are among the hottest men around, in my opinion. Here’s an email from a happy romance reader whose husband appreciates the genre:

[W]ith regard to men reading the Romance genre, let me share this: Among other things, my husband holds a double Ph.D. in political science and economics, speaks five languages, is a member of the (exceedingly boring to me) international heraldry society (he can interpret most any coat of arms at a glance), daily scans several international newspapers (in their language) and I consider him to be one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. The first time I went to his house he invited me to pick something off his (vast and varied) library shelf to read while he responded to a few phone calls. Hmmm. Seems I was on the wrong set of shelves or something because much to my horror (call me intimidated) there was nothing there in English! I looked around and finally spotted a single tome written in the only language I could understand.  The title? How to Understand the Japanese Mind. Damn, call me intimidated again.

My point? When we married and merged houses and books, I thought about keeping my romance novels in a box, but to heck with it, I thought, we were honest and open with one another, right? Well, suffice it to say, dear hubby reads every romance novel I bring home and agrees with me: this genre should be required reading for every male on the planet. He understands that it is our feeling nature that give us value and that we need to keep romance alive in our relationships. It is the “spark” that keeps a relationship from running cold. It is the “glue” that gives us strong bonds when the times are tough. But keeping romance alive requires work and attention to maintain it for the long haul. When someone comments to me that they admire the relationship my husband and I obviously enjoy together (14 years of it), I promptly lend the man in the relationship a book – and guess what? It ain’t How to Understand the Japanese Mind!

I love that more men read romance. Welcome to the genre, dudes.


The Link-O-Lator

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  1. 1
    theo says:

    How cool is that? You have a very special man and he’s a great example of how intelligence isn’t always measured in the amount of degrees (of which admittedly, he holds many :) ) or in how many languages a man speaks, but in how many languages he understands. And he definitely understands yours. Romance. Awesome.

  2. 2
    PK says:

    That reader’s husband is like the i-Ching of husbands.  Holy Cats!  If you tell me he can handle a pipe wrench then I might need to make him the hero of my next imaginary novel.  Seriously, it’s wonderful that he’s erudite enough to recognize the power of romance and the written word all spread out over the various genres.  Thanks for sharing.

  3. 3
    SonomaLass says:

    My partner is a physicist and telecommunications expert, and one of his hobbies is writing fiction.  Most of what he writes is humorous alternate-world detective fiction (think Terry Pratchett meets steampunk and solves a mystery), and I’m always impressed at how genuine the relationships are in his stories.  But he blew me away with his last project, which was a touching YA romance.  No science in it (except that the h/h were in some of them same classes at school), and very much in the here and now.  I consider myself very fortunate to be spending my life with a man who “gets it” where romance is concerned.

  4. 4
    pussreboots says:

    My husband reads more romance than I do.

  5. 5
    Kwana says:

    Lucky you!
    My DH has just read his second JD Robb. After meeting Nora when he went to RWA San Fran with me last year. Once she signed the book to him she had him. I may have a convert. Not sure I can get him to my historical status but I know he’d go for JR Ward if he’d put the paper down.

  6. 6
    Travis Erwin says:

    I read lots of romance books, just wish I could find an agent to rep the romances I’ve written.

  7. 7

    SonomaLass and Kwana: Ooooh. Color me every shade of the rainbow. But I’m still trying…I’ll never give up.

  8. 8
    Keira says:

    Hasn’t RT said somewhere on their website that more men are reading romance in hopes to understand females? Go men!

  9. 9
    Mary M. says:

    This is sexy as hell :) Thanks for sharing that mail with us Sarah! It gives me hope for myself :-D

  10. 10

    My own husband can’t read my romance, he finds them too…stimulating :)

    I have a 70ish year old male friend who is a professor of business. He is a voracious reader and admitted to me recently that in a fit of desperation he picked up a Nora Roberts in the faculty lounge – and ended up loving it (Birthright – his favorite to date). Now he comes to me for more suggestions and to borrow books.

  11. 11
    MT says:

    I’d be interested in what men look for and enjoy in a romance novel, though “men” might be too broad a generalization.

  12. 12
    M says:

    I’ll be honest: the fact that the guy I was recently dating mocked a certain segment of my reading material?  Major factor in why he’s a guy I was recently dating and not a guy I am currently dating.  Not cool.  Not. Cool. At. All.

  13. 13
    Jamie says:

    I handed my dad the first book of Nora Robert’s Hollow trilogy, and he has been coming back for more ever since.  He’s a pretty mans man type of guy, so I never thought that he would really get into them, but he’s surprised me.  Problem with this?  Many of the books that I have that I would think he would like are on the racier side of the genre.  Or maybe that’s just more indicative of what I read, and neither of my parents need to know how smutty my mind is.

  14. 14
    DianeN says:

    I’m probably the only one here to have convinced my SON to read the occasional romance. He’s not underage (28), I hasten to add, and there are only certain types he’ll go for. He loves Suzanne Brockmann, and he’s still reading JR Ward even though I gave up on her before the last book! What I really love about him is he’s totally unembarrassed to admit he enjoys romances, and even better, completely proud that his mom also writes them.

  15. 15

    A year or so ago I was out at the movie theater during the day and overheard and saw the sweetest conversation.  There was this elderly couple out for a date at the movies. I think they were married but that may be wishful thinking on my part.  Anyway, the gentleman started talking about this romance he has just read.  He said, “Oh you won’t like that one, honey.  The relationships aren’t good at all. It’s just racey.  Try the new Nora Roberts’ one instead….”  They proceeded to have a really involved conversation about the romance novels they read and shared between them.  It was so sweet and really touched me. I stopped hiding my romance novels from my husband right after that. He hasn’t started reading them but I caught him defending the genre a time or two.

  16. 16
    willaful says:

    Unfortunately, a romance-reading couple I know is on the verge of divorce, so it doesn’t always work. :-(

    I got my husband to read Naked in Death and he liked it, but the sex scenes embarrassed him.

  17. 17
    SonomaLass says:

    @Jamie:  My daughter has had that experience with her boyfriend’s mother!  She was reading a book when house sitting for them, I think, and BFs-mum asked if it was any good.  “Oh yes,” gushed my enthusiastic daughter, and ended up loaning her the first in that series.  Now BFs-mum is enjoying the series, a book or two behind my daughter.  Every time there’s a racy or explicit scene, she thinks “oh dear, BFs-mum is going to be reading that soon.”  It has had a “chilling effect,” as we say in journalism.

  18. 18
    WVDuckman says:

    I am a guy (ya know the guy in the song “I’m still a Guy” by Brad Paisley). 
    Ok, I have to admit that I’m not a writer, physicist, doctor, or professer; but I can fix a car, fix the house (the plumbing and all), bring home dinner (from the woods), and even make useable items out of wood and metal.
    When I drove a “big truck”, my beautiful wife left a book in the truck (Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon).  I was somewhere that was going to take awhile so I picked up the book to see just what the h*** my wife was always talking about.  Two hours later, I’m into this book and couldn’t wait to get stopped that night to read more.
    I even read a few more in the series, I love the romance in the books.  I hope to find another series someday to spark that romance back up again.
    By the way, the story is even better when my wife reads it out loud to me!!!

  19. 19
    Rachel says:

    That is the cutest stort I have ever heard!  Ok…cutest real life story.  I want a man who reads romance novels!  All right, I sort of just want a man who reads extensively, at the moment, but ideally, romance novels…

    I did have one of my best guy friend’s ask for a recommendation of a romance novel to read when I visited him (so much pressure—how do you pick just one?!), just because he was intrigued with how much I like them. 

    If only I were sexually attracted to him… :-) 

    Lucky, lucky woman.

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