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Science Says People Who Read Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books Make Better Significant Others

What is your most attractive quality? Mine is that I’m able to fast forward through the commercials and hit play almost exactly when the show comes back on. Or at least, I thought that was my most attractive quality. It turns out my actual most attractive quality is that I read science fiction and fantasy books. Who knew?

According to a study published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, my fellow Dune-reading nerds and I possess healthier, more mature ideas about relationships than people who prefer to dabble in other (less fantastical) genres.

The research team in question (led by psychologist Stephanie C. Stern at the University of Oklahoma) measured participants’ exposure to seven different literary genres, including classics, romance, contemporary literary fiction, horror, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery/thriller. 

Participants then filled out a survey regarding unrealistic expectations in relationships. They were asked about the degree to which they agreed with statements like the following:

  • “When couples disagree, it seems like the relationship is falling apart”
  • “I cannot accept it when my partner disagrees with me”
  • “A partner should know what you are thinking or feeling without you having to tell them”
  • “Men and women will always be mysteries to each other”

Ultimately, the survey measured their perception of relationships and whether or not they supported maladaptive relationship ideas on five different subscales, such as: 

  • Disagreement is Destructive
  • Mindreading is Expected
  • Partners Cannot Change
  • Sexes are Different
  • The expectation of Sexual Perfectionism

The study found that those who had a higher familiarity with science fiction and fantasy held fewer unhealthy ideas about relationships. 

However! Lest you leave today thinking the romance genre is warping people’s romantic expectations, you should know that romance did not correlate significantly with any of the above beliefs besides “Sexes are Different,” meaning they tend to believe men and women have different needs and wants.

You can read the whole thing here if you want. It’s pretty interesting. In the meantime, I will be changing my Tinder bio to “I’ve read Harry Potter, the Discworld books, and everything Ray Bradbury has ever written,” then sit back and watch as I amass a veritable deluge of suitors.