NEW YORK, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Harlequin, one of the world's leading publishers of reading entertainment for women, today announced its annual Romance Report findings. This year Harlequin took a closer look at the state of romance, confirming that in the age of 4G LTE smartphones, Twitter and Facebook, technology is changing the way women and men communicate with one another – yet certain values seem to withstand the test of time. In fact, the survey revealed that 91% of modern-day women surveyed believe dating rules have become more flexible, but 59% of these women still expect a man to ask her out.
"Today, women consider themselves more independent and powerful than ever before – yet we've found that many of the traditional beliefs about romance, dating and relationships still persist," said Michelle Renaud, Senior Manager, Public Relations, Harlequin. "Additionally, we are seeing new challenges as women are managing their image on a digital level. There is a real need to curate an online persona as much as a real-life presence in an extremely connected society."
Modesty is no longer a virtue in contemporary society – in the news or in real life. Though public scandals involving pop stars and government officials have put a spotlight on the risks of sharing intimate details online, technology continues to play a significant role in women's romantic relationships. According to the Harlequin survey results, which polled single women in the U.S. aged 18 to 40, 43% of all respondents admitted to "sexting" – sending a text message containing suggestive and highly explicit sexual language. Though 65% of those women will "sext" only while in a serious relationship, 36% of casual daters polled admit to sending a risqué message after just a few dates. Twenty-seven percent of all respondents had sent nude photos via emails or text messages.
Meanwhile, some things never change. Fifty-six percent of the respondents reported that they feel pressure to be married or in a committed relationship. The traditional charms of a man, such as a sense of humor (82%) or a killer smile (57%), remain the most popular "turn-ons." Respondents still believe a man should ask a woman out (59%), hold the door for them (54%) and pay for the first date (51%). The women surveyed also counted thoughtfulness and appreciation as definitions of romance, instead of grand gestures or gifts. It's really remembering the small details (reported by 56% of respondents) that matters the most.
"Long the thought leader on romance and women, Harlequin has done it again," said author and psychological expert Dr. Wendy Walsh. "Its latest Romance Report documents the changes in dating behaviors and brings forth a hard truth: women's needs haven't changed one bit."
Of all the social media networks, Facebook had the highest percentage of users (93%) among the respondents across all age groups. Interestingly, those who identified themselves as "heavy Facebook users" (61%) place higher importance on their love life than occasional Facebook users. Though women surveyed assert that Facebook is a medium to correspond with family and friends (77%), 89% of women respondents use the network to read about other people's lives. The survey also found that over half of the women polled use Facebook to seek out information about a prospective partner prior to the first date. One in every four women surveyed also uses Facebook messages to make contact with prospective dates.
This Valentine's Day, American women remain confident about the future. An overwhelming 89% of surveyed women believe that their best days are ahead of them in terms of their love life! Eighty-four percent of the respondents also believe that romance is out there and they will find it – no matter their age.
Key Harlequin Romance Report Results:
- 56% of the respondents reported that they feel pressure to be married or in a committed relationship.
- Almost 75% of the respondents reported that their dating life was "boring," regardless of their relationship status.
- The traditional charms of a man remained the most popular "turn-ons":
- Sense of humor (82%)
- Killer smile (57%)
- Accent (23%)
- 91% of modern-day women surveyed believe dating rules have become more flexible, yet still expect a man to:
- Ask a woman out (59%)
- Hold the door for them (54%)
- Pay for the first date (51%)
- Of all the social media networks, Facebook had the highest percentage of users across all age groups. Those who identified themselves as "heavy Facebook users" (10 hours per week or more) place higher importance (61%) on their love life than occasional Facebook users.
- 89% of women surveyed spend most of their time on Facebook reading about other people's lives.
- 52% of women surveyed use Facebook as a research tool to find out information about a prospective first date.
- Surprisingly, 52% of women surveyed aged 25 to 35 have never participated in online dating.
- Of the top 5 factors women respondents listed as "deal breakers," 3 were technology-related:
- Too needy (32%)
- Dependence on a BlackBerry/ iPhone (31%)
- Having too many Facebook photos with an ex-girlfriend (29%)
- Grammatically challenged (24%)
- Married to his work/ still lives with his parents (20%)
- Women surveyed counted thoughtfulness and appreciation as definitions of romance – instead of grand gestures or gifts, it's really remembering the small details (56%) that matters the most.
- The top five sources women refer to for romance advice are, in order of frequency:
- The Notebook
- Dr. Phil
- Millionaire Matchmaker
To see a visual representation of the key findings, visit:
http://harlequinblog.com/2012/02/romance-report-2012 (for mobile devices)
Harlequin is one of the world's leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in 31 languages and sold in 111 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,200 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.B). Harlequin's website is located at Harlequin.com. Harlequin has offices in 19 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information, please visit Harlequin.com.
 Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB) conducted 1,500 internet interviews from January 2 to 6, 2012. Overall, the margin of error is +/- 2.5%. The survey was conducted among single women in the U.S., aged 18-40. Survey results reflect the opinions of respondents and do not necessarily reflect those of Harlequin, its parent company or its affiliated companies.
For Media Inquiries:
Burson-Marsteller on behalf of Harlequin
P: (212) 614-4178