Friday, September 23, 2011

Do Men Read Romance Novels?



Over the last couple of weeks, I've received correspondence from two men about my Love Inspired title, First Mates. Both men said that they enjoyed the story and they wanted to know if I had other titles available. One of the men is thirty years old and the other is in his seventies. This recent correspondence gave me the idea for the topic of this blog post.

Do you know any men who read romance novels?

When I think of romance novel readers, I picture women of various ages engrossed in the pages of romance paperback novels. I realize this view may be a bit out-dated so I'd like the opinions of others. If you know of any male romance readers, tell us about them. What do men find appealing about a romance novel? If you are a man who reads romance, please respond and tell us why you read it.

Leave your responses in the comments! :-)

~Cecelia Dowdy~

22 comments:

Susan Baganz said...

One of my readers of my books (I'm unpublished) is my pastor. He had never read romance before but found that mine didn't overwhelm the story and there was plenty of adventure to keep him engaged and he said if they were ever made into movies he would go! I don't know that men normally gravitate to these types of books - but it was gratifying to know he liked my male characters and the story line! But, shhhhh, don't tell anyone he reads romance! LOL! :-)

Victoria Bylin said...

I have some male readers. One guy emailed me about a mistake I'd made in a scene about building a church. He told me all about the way floors were made in the 1870s. I appreciated the info!

stacistallings said...

My writing partner who died in 2010 not only read romance, he wrote it. Though he called them "love stories." He was adamant that men liked romance and how many guys really identify with Prince Charming--getting left when they've fallen hopelessly in love.

So, yes, men definitely read romance. Past that, I've had several male readers. They like action and a driving plot, but yes, they are out there.

Linda Yezak said...

So far, I've heard from about a dozen of my male readers. *Give the Lady a Ride* is a western romantic-comedy, which one of the guys said reminds him of a Hallmark movie. It isn't very mushy, which I guess is why the guys like it.

One of my male critique partners wants write romance. I'd love for him to do it--A Christian version of Nicolas Sparks!

Molly Noble Bull said...

I've had male readers of my published romance novels. When I do, I'm always surprised because my husband hasn't read any of my novels. We have three sons, and none of them have read my novels either.
So, I would have to say that some men read romance novels. Others never will no matter who wrote them.
Love,
Molly

Dad_W said...

My wife got me to read some of the early Janette Oke books. I enjoyed them. But I really prefer a lot of danger and action to be woven into the story. You know ... where the MCs both have to survive if there's going to be any time for romance. That's why I read and write romantic suspense. If it ever becomes an official genre, I would prefer romantic thrillers.

Teresa Slack said...

Romantic thrillers... Hmm, I would read that. I'm writing this from ACFW conf where I'm learning piles about genres and what readers want and more than my brain can ever process. Wish I knew the answer, Cecelia. I've never had a male fan write to me, tho I do know I've had several male readers.

Cecelia said...

@Susan - I think more men DON'T gravitate towards romance novels is because of how the media portrays them. It's a women-only genre, supposedly, and I think that men automatically think, "THOSE stories are not for me."

@Victoria - I'm not surprised that a male reader knew how to build floors in the 1870s.

@Staci - I think you'll find more male readers reading the romantic suspense-type novels vs. regular historical or contemporary.

@Linda - a Christian Nicolas Sparks? Great idea! :-)

@Molly - my husband hasn't read any of my romance novels, either.

@Dan W - yes, I can imagine male romance readers would want to see more action and adventure in their stories.

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Molly Noble Bull said...

My husband reads thrillers, and his favorite authors are Brad Thor and Joel Rosenberg. If you have a husband who doesn't read, give him a book by one of these guys. He just might start reading fiction.
But that doesn't mean he will read romance novels. If he is like my husband, he won't.
Love,
Molly

Debby Lee said...

Hi Cecelia, I know I'm a little late posting here, but I couldn't resist. I love the Barbour anthology's, 4 novella's in 1 book, and have a whole slew of them on my shelf. I shared a number of them with my ex-husband and he enjoyed them for the same reason I did. We've both had a traumatic childhood and these stories are so sweet and gentle, they are like a balm to our wounded soul. God Bless all you Barbour authors, and all you Christian romance writers. You're making a difference to people who don't know what a Godly marriage is supposed to look like.

Cecelia said...

Thanks for commenting, Debby. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Gail Barrett said...

My husband will sometimes read romance novels (and not just mine). I've taken him to RWA with me a few times, and he has come to respect and appreciate the romance genre. It isn't his first choice usually, but he will occasionally pick up a romance novel to read if the plot interests him. At least he isn't biased against them.

Merry said...

The fact that my husband (then boyfriend) loved Georgette Heyer almost as much as I did was one of the things that attracted me to him. My son has read all of my books and has recommended them to his friends -- both male and female.
Great topic, Cecilia!

Cecelia said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting Gail and Merry!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Jessica Nelson said...

I don't know any men who read romances but I'm sure they're out there. How fun for you!

Cecelia said...

Thanks for commenting, Jessica! It wouldn't surprise me if lots of men read romances but are ashamed to admit it? Just a thought...

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Anonymous said...

I'm a married man in my 50's and have been reading romance novels over the past year. At http://andtheylivedhappilyeverafter.com/16.htm I'd come across the statement "They are as close to a marriage manual for men as you're ever going to get." The books have been helpful into seeing what behavior many women would like to see from their men. While I've tried to adjust accordingly, my wife of about 20 years wasn't particularly moved. Discouraging in my case, but I'd still recommend it for other guys.

Cecelia said...

@Anonymous - thanks for commenting. You've given this whole subject a new perspective.
The link you provided is very interesting. I will show it to my romance writers group. I think they'll want to see that blog post.

Anonymous said...

To make the question more specific, do "unmarried", "not gay" men read romance novels?

Linda Yezak said...

Response to Anonymous: Yes, unmarried, not gay men read romance. Men who are comfortable in their masculinity aren't afraid to read romance or to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness.

Anonymous said...

I am a twenty one year old man who is completely obsessed with a series of romance novels by Christine Warren. Surprisingly enough I started reading them in high school and I don't know why they are so appealing to me. Nevertheless, I still read them and enjoy them on a regular basis. It wasn't until I struck up a conversation with my local librarian that I am one of the very fast number of men who come in to said library and borrow these book titles. I wouldn't be surprised if there are multitudes of men out there who read these books and find them very entertaining. However, I do believe that they keep this type of entertainment out of the public eye. Men need to maintain a persona of masculinity that they show as a mask for their friends and family, but what wee do in the privacy of our own homes and what we feel comfortable with is completely different. I hope that this was insight full.

Jon

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just happened to stumble across this found it interesting and wanted to put my opinion. I'm a twenty two year old male and I really enjoy reading romance. But I tend towards a more sci-fi romance/adventure. As a matter of fact I drool over it... not literally though. For example I'm currently reading a sci-fi involving two lovers from different galaxies. But It also has action and adventure and war. So I love a good intergalactic romance like this and if it has tear jerking moments the better. BUT (and this is important) I enjoy the story I'm reading so much because the love connection matches a virtue of mine, and that is that love is never a bodily attraction or simply a physical thing. It's basis is reality, the communication, and affinity between the two characters matched to such a high level that it itself is a beautiful thing. And that a true and almost aesthetic understanding is achieved by the two lovers. That's what registers to me. And I believe and man can dig that sort of thing right? I'm married too and I haven't even told my wife this. So there ya go, that's why I read romance