© Live Science
Romance novels can be a bad influence on women and lead them to make poor health and relationship decisions, says a British psychologist.
The novels give women unrealistic views about what to expect out of a relationship because they, well, romanticize love, said Susan Quilliam, a relationship psychologist based in Cambridge.
"They offer an idealized version of romance, which can make some women feel bad about themselves because their relationships aren't perfect," Quilliam said.
And in some cases, they might lead women to make poor health decisions, including not to use a condom during sex
- a scenario often portrayed in the novels.
However, Quilliam stressed, she is not saying women are gullible and don't understand the difference between fiction and reality. Nor is she saying there is no place for romance novels in our culture.
But the novels add to an underlying view in society that in women, emotions and passions trump reason and solid decision-making, Quilliam said. Women should not try to follow their emotions at all costs, but instead balance them with reason.
"The thing that's going to make relationships last
is a mix of romance and common sense," Quilliam said.
Quilliam wrote about her views in the July issue of the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.