Friday, November 24, 2023

Are Romance Books Killing Sex?

Romance book sales are soaring like crazy.

After the number of romance books sold in 2022 shot up by 54.2% over 2021, unit sales of romance titles jumped another 34.6% in the first six months of 2023 over last year. Wow!

That is a lot of sex — in one’s fantasies.

Is reading about relationships and hot couplings inspiring more romance in people’s real lives — or is it merely supplying mental porn for those who simply enjoy masturbation?

Studies and polls indicate fewer people are having sex, fewer sexual encounters than before are taking place for those in a relationship, and that many people give up on the notion of finding romance. Millions enjoy romance books telling us what we want to hear, creating improbable situations involving insatiable bodies having erotic sex with people they love.

Is romance book addiction a bad or dangerous thing, just like so many other guilty pleasures, from gambling and drinking, to vaping weed and eating junk food?

I don’t think romance books are creating a public health crisis; one simply exists, and romance books placate us until we can hopefully experience the real thing.

On the other hand, some romance books might inspire readers to seek out the real thing. Other readers may feel they can better visualize the person of their dreams even if stuck having sex with merely the one who is available to them.

Still, I think if romance books, especially erotica, are written well, they absolutely inspire millions of daily dates with vibrators, dildos, and one’s own hand.

But that is okay, too. Self-pleasuring is normal, sometimes even necessary. It relieves stress, feels great, and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or any sacrifice. Or, at least that’s what I’ve heard. The key is not to make it a substitute for the real thing.

So, if romance book sales are up, does this indicate fewer people have found romance?

It may just mean that people have a desire for romance — and need some guidance or support to convert their fantasy into a reality. Instead of being between the sheets with a love-making machine, we are stuck between the covers of a book with our hands down our pants.

 But, I can think of worse things.

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:

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