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.