Effects of Romance Novels on Mental Health – The Good and The Bad

The effects of romance novels on mental health may not be easily noticeable. However, romance novels have good and bad effects on our mental well-being. This article focuses on how reading romance novels may affect our health.

You see, there are people whose mental health has been affected positively and negatively by reading romance novels. Of course, you might seem not to care about these effects if you are unperturbed by the content of what you read. However, your mental health matters, and you should be aware of things that can impact your mental well-being.

Romance novels could either affect your mental health positively or negatively or not at all. I have compiled the effects of romance novels – the good and bad. So, I will walk you through them in this guide.

Romance novels and mental health (2)

The Good Effects Of Romance Novels On Mental Health

1. Helps In Brain Functionality

Reading romantic novels in your spare time is a great way to get sane and keep your mind active and sharp.

Well, this is not just for romance novels; any write-ups could boost your brain activities.

Romance novels, in this view, make us creative. It causes us to imagine what the story would be like in the scenes as they unfold, fantasize about sexual scenes in our minds, and keep our mental health intact.

It may also support individual abilities to understand other people’s beliefs. “Theories on cognitive priming suggest that a state of love may activate love-relevant schemas, such as mentalizing about the beliefs of another individual, and may thus improve mentalizing abilities” (Wlodarski & Dunbar, 2014).


2. Reading Romantic Novels Lower The Risk Of Heart Disease And Attack 

Reading romance novels lowers stress. It calms our heart rate and blood pressure, putting us on the path to safety and not being exposed to heart disease and attack.

Moreover, romance novels mostly contain scenes that might pound your heart a bit, but that is not much of a problem as it often stimulates anticipation and excitement.


3. Romance Novels Lower Stress

Reading romantic novels lowers our stress levels by whisking us into a fantasy world, helping us to break out from the stress bond and boosting our creativity and productivity. This is similar to walking and listening to music to lower stress levels.

4. Romantic Novels Boost Our Confidence

Reading how a character in a romantic novel pulls out of hardships, disabilities, injuries, anxiety, and others gives us the confidence that we can also pull out of our problems.

They also help us accept the wrong people see in us by boosting our confidence.


Read also:


5. They Help Us Explore Our Turn-Ons

Usually, Romance novels are characterised, written, and created to get readers hot and bothered with their featuring steamy scenes.

So, reading romance novels will tune with what turns you on, and if you are not convinced about what turns you on, you might be after reading a romance novel.

Moreover, this may be an important lead to a great love life.


6. They Help Us Feel Empowered By Sexuality

Romance novels have empowered healthy sex lives.

Growing up, you might be sad, uncomfortable, and/or ashamed of your sexuality, which you should not be.

Reading a couple of romance novels has helped fix this issue and empowered many sexual lives.

Effects of romantic novels on mental health

The Bad Effects Of Romance Novels On Mental Health

1. They Make Us Set High (Unreasonable) Standards In Our Relationships

Having read a lot of romance novels, you might fantasize about yourself and your partner as the characters you read about, and before you notice, you might start demanding unreasonably high standards in your relationship.

This is a common negative effect of romance novels on mental health.


2. They Could Make Us Lose Interest In Our Partner

After reading about how other partners in romance novels behave with their partners, you might start seeing your partner’s behaviour as a “red flag”. The imagined perception can make you lose interest in the relationship and everything you felt for them.

So, no matter how a relationship in a romance novel might be spiced up, value yours and your partner because everyone is different.


3. Addiction

Multiple times, you have spotted this sign of “addiction” after engaging in a specific act for a while.

In reading romance novels, there is no difference as you could get addicted. At some point, you might value lesser things in your life because of romance novels.

However, when you spot this effect in your life, you need to take a break and stir your attention from the scenes.


 Women mostly at risk

A British relationship psychologist, Susan Quilliam, says that romance novels can be a bad influence on women and lead them to make poor health and relationship decisions. “They offer an idealized version of romance, which can make some women feel bad about themselves because their relationships aren’t perfect” (Quilliam). In her article in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, she further argues – “The values of romantic fiction…sometimes run totally counter to those which women’s health practitioners] espouse.” 

This, in no wise, suggests that men are not affected negatively by the stories portrayed in romance novels. Quilliam stated that few romance fiction novels (about 11.5%) discuss precautions such as condoms. This negligent attitude can be adopted by men as well. In conclusion, Quilliam said, “If readers start to believe the story that romantic fiction offers, then they store up trouble for themselves … and then they bring that trouble into our consulting rooms.” Therefore, the challenge posed may lead to a need for psychological therapy or physical health issues.



There are a lot of effects of romance novels on mental health – the good and the bad. I have already addressed the significant ones you could easily spot in our daily lives. If reading romance novels affects you negatively, you should consider dropping the act.

Do you know other effects of romantic novels on mental health? Do you have alternate views or more research related to this topic? Please share in the comment section below or contact us. We would love to hear from you.


Written by Udeme White and Chinyere Nwosu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *