The 2012 Romance Survey

The romance book publisher Harlequin does a survey every year to get some insight into women’s views on romance. This year’s survey results just came out (PDF), so here are the highlights:

  • Turn-ons: good sense of humor and a killer smile (i.e., intelligence and kindness). For younger women, also an accent and being in a band (i.e., being cool).
  • Turn-offs: neediness (i.e., immaturity), smartphone addiction (being inattentive), being grammatically challenged (ignorance), having too many Facebook photos with exes (immaturity/promiscuity), and living with parents (poverty).
  • When talking about social relationships, 89% of single women believe their best days are ahead, while 40% of the rest say their best days are behind
  • But, 50% of single women say they’re “unsure and lonely”
  • 88% of women who are seriously dating say they experience romance; the majority of the rest, meaning those who are married or single, do not.
  • Most women describe their dating life as boring, a description that gets more frequent with age
  • Older women have pre-date communication almost exclusively on the phone, while younger ones tend to do so via text. But they all (85%) prefer phone calls.
  • Facebook: most women stalk guys on Facebook before a first date, looking for hobbies, interests and pictures. Younger women also have pre-date communication on Facebook.
  • Sexting: 43% of single women do it, and 57% of the rest; and 27% of single women have sent “explicit” pictures.
  • Online dating: 40% of single women have tried it, but that number is higher in older women
  • 58% of women said technology has made their romantic lives better


And here’s the common sense stuff:

  • Most women define romance as “thoughtfulness, appreciation and intimacy” — things that show personal investement
  • Remembering small details and being protective were the top most romantic gestures
  • Chivalry is still a thing: the majority of women believe men should ask them out, hold doors open, and pay for the first date.
  • 56% of single women feel pressured to be in a committed relationship, and that pressure generally comes from friends and family
  • Satisfaction with love life declines with age, but it’s never that high (36%) to begin with


The moral of the story seems to be that women are happiest if they’re always in a kind-of serious relationship with Jim Halpert, but never get married.


From Harlequin (Survey Results (PDF) and Infographic (PDF)), and xkcd

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