Is Romance Dysfunctional?

Publication year
International Journal of Women's Studies

Here's the abstract:

Among the forces that shape desire in women and men are the scripts for relationships and sexual expression available in popular fiction. In this paper, the structure and content of two widely available scripts will be explored: a romance script, found in fairy tales and romance novels aimed at females, and an adventure script, incorporated in action comic books, adventure novels, and pornography directed at males. Using a content analysis, three aspects of the scripts are studied: a) the stage of the relationship addressed by the scripts; b) the manifest and latent themes revealed; and c) the sexual and non-sexual motives expressed. The position is taken that by encompassing primarily the "courtship" phase of relationships, the scripts provide little guidance relevant to maintaining long-term relationships. The ways in which specific elements of the scripts are likely to be "dysfunctional" in long-term heterosexual, lesbian, and gay male relationships are examined.