Reading is sexy: how books can score you a date

girl reading outside

Can reading books improve your chances in love? A recent EliteSingles survey says yes! In fact, 60% of respondents say that they prefer dating those who read avidly. What’s more, the contents of your book shelf may make you more attractive.

With help from our members and from EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine, we explored this literary longing and tested the claim that reading is sexy.

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The numbers don’t lie: reading is sexy!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single person in possession of a good book must be quite attractive – to our survey respondents that is! Indeed, nearly 2/3 of the 1700 singles who answered our ‘bookshelf’ survey admitted that they would like to date someone who loves to read.1 What’s more, this lust for literacy is a trend we have seen occur again and again.

For instance, in our ‘hottest hobbies’ study, we looked at the anonymous user data of 160,000 British singles to determine which hobbies are considered the most attractive. Reading made it into the top 10 list of the most attractive pastimes, coming in at number 7 overall.2

Likewise, in a survey co-operation between EliteSingles and interior design firm Westwing, 1500 singles revealed what most turns them on about a date’s home. For 26% of those surveyed, it was a well-stocked bookshelf that made them weak at the knees.3 The fact that all three studies showed a clear link between books and attraction means it is safe to say that reading is sexy. Therefore, if you’re a reader, you and your hobby have instant appeal.

So reading is sexy – but that’s not all there is to it. Indeed, the survey unearthed some interesting facts about men, woman and the desire for a literate lover.

1. Men like women who embrace their sensuous side

Putting the lover back in book lover, the survey revealed that men’s heads are most easily turned by women who read erotica. In fact, for more than one in five of the men surveyed, female erotica readers are as sexy as it gets.

Indeed, when asked ”What is the most attractive genre a potential partner can read?” 21% of men picked erotic fiction as the ultimate turn-on, putting it far ahead of the next most popular genres – thrillers, at 12% and biographies, at 11 per cent. In other words, if you’re a woman wanting to meet a man on your next commute it might be time to put down the paper and pick up 50 Shades of Grey (or even some Anaïs Nin).

Further reading: wanting to meet single British men on your wavelength? Click here to learn more.

2. Women like men of mystery

However, the same strategy is not going to work for men who are out to impress women. Indeed, the women in our survey were not fans of erotica, with just 6 per cent admitting that they find men who read it attractive.

The way to a woman’s heart lies instead behind a veil of mystery: 19% of women picked thrillers as the sexiest genre a man can read (James Patterson and Lee Child, take a bow!). This was followed in popularity by non-fiction, which was viewed as attractive by 17% of women surveyed and by biographies, which were favoured by 16%.

Further reading: want to meet single women looking for men? This is the place to start.

3. Like attracts like

Ultimately though, while genre can play a part in attraction, the survey shows that reading is sexy no matter what book you prefer.

According to EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine, there are a variety of reasons why singles love those who love books but, chiefly, it’s because ‘’people look for those who have interesting hobbies – and reading is one of them. Why? Because a great book leads to great discussions.’’ She adds ‘’also, your taste in books can highlight aspects of your personality: are you curious, romantic, dreamy? By sharing your tastes you can show and share your inner world.’’4

Of course, the book love could be down to one simple thing: like is attracted to like. And, as it turns out, what the British like is books. In fact, Britain is a nation of book worms. As the survey revealed, a whopping 93% of Brits like to read for pleasure and, what’s more, just 2% of Brits surveyed consider readers (and reading) to be boring. Salama says that this popularity shows that ‘’reading is an easy passion to share with [your] partner’’ – which makes it the kind of common ground that cements a great relationship!

In conclusion, if you want to get in someone’s good books, pick up a good book. Why? Because reading is – officially – sexy.

Are you ready to start a new chapter in your love life? Want someone who shares your passions and who is on the same page? Then try EliteSingles today.

Do you have questions or comments about literature and love? Do you think that reading is sexy? Let us know by commenting below or write to us at [email protected]


1 Unless otherwise specified, all percentages are from the EliteSingles ‘Bookshelf’ survey, 2015. Data collected from 1700 singles; participants from Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding.

2 EliteSingles ‘Hottest Hobbies’ study, 2015. Anonymous data collected from 160,000 registered members of EliteSingles UK.

3 EliteSingles and Westwing ‘Dating and Decorating’ survey, 2015. Data collected from 1500 singles; participants from Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding.

4 All Salama Marine’s quotes from an exclusive interview with EliteSingles, August 2015.

About the author: Sophie Watson

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