Romance novels create idealistic pictures of love, says Cambridge-based relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam. In turn, this can produce feelings of unhappiness in women who strive for perfect relationships, according to

The novels may also be held responsible for influencing women to not use condoms during sex, as is the case often portrayed in print. Recent findings show that just one in 10 romance novels reference using condoms.

“A deep strand of escapism, perfectionism and idealization runs through the genre,” Quilliam said. Her findings were published in the July issue of the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.

Quilliam recommends reminding oneself to balance escapism with logic.

"Nobody — man or women, romance reader or non-romance reader — should be making [decisions based on unrealistic expectations]," she warned.

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