The romance novel exploded in popularity in the 1970s. In 1976, sales reached 40 million copies. By 2008, sales were 74 million.
Many romance novels have a strong sexual content. A recent example is Fifty Shades of Grey, which even delves into sadomasochism. This type of thing has no place in a Christian’s life.
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (Ephesians 5:3).
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).
“These novels were written to be titillating, and I really don’t think there’s a huge difference between this and porn. It’s ‘soft porn,’ and indeed many women find themselves far more aroused by reading something like this than they would be watching porn on a computer. So women who devour novel after novel like that aren’t that much different from men who watch porn all night” (“Romance Novels: Dangerous, Harmless, or Just Fun?” Jan. 16, 2012, tolovehonorandvacuum.com).
Dr. Julia Slattery warns that there are similarities between what happens to a man when he views pornography and what happens to a woman when she reads a romance novel. “There is a neurochemical element with men and visual porn, but an emotional element with women and these novels” (“Romance novels can become addictive,” May 30, 2011, KSL.com).
She is seeing more and more women “who are clinically addicted to romantic books.”
Even G-rated romance novels take the reader into an unrealistic world typically populated by strong, beautiful heroines and handsome, caring men who “fall in love.” They can create addiction to a fantasy world and dissatisfaction with real life.
In 2011, the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health in Britain reported that romance novels “are a cause of marital breakdown, adulterous affairs and unwanted pregnancies.”
Best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn notes, “[S]ome marriage therapists caution that women can become as dangerously unbalanced by these books’ entrancing but distorted messages as men can be by the distorted messages of pornography.”
As with anything, there is the danger of progression, by starting out with harmless novels and clean Christian romance novels and then branching out.
“I’ve known so many Christian teens who just devoured all the romances in the church library, and then headed to the public library for more, and ended up almost addicted to really steamy stuff” (“Romance Novels: Dangerous, Harmless, or Just Fun?” Jan. 16, 2012, tolovehonorandvacuum.com).
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