Smart is sexy: how reading books can score you a date

woman 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. It’s official then, smart is sexy! We reveal what our singles find attractive on your bookshelf.

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: smart 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 two thirds 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 interest for literacy is a trend that keeps popping up.

For instance, in our ‘hottest hobbies’ study, we looked at the anonymous user data of 60,000 Irish 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

EliteSingles psychologist, Salama Marine maintained that an interest in ‘quieter’ hobbies like reading can suggest that ‘your date is a balanced, independent individual with something to offer – which tends to appeal to singles, especially early on in the relationship.’ There you have it then, reading makes you a more balanced intelligent individual – very attractive!

EliteSingles infographic showing that people think reading is sexy

So smart is sexy – but what is it that we’re reading that makes us attractive? Our survey revealed what men and women really desire on a potential partner’s bookshelf.

1. Men like women who embrace their naughty side with a bit of erotica

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 per cent 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.

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

2. Women like mysterious men

The way to a woman’s heart lies behind a veil of mystery. 19 per cent of women picked thrillers as the sexiest genre a man can read. So any men palming through one of Benjamin Black’s crime fiction novels (real name John Banville, he uses Black as a pseudonym – it just adds to his mystery!) have probably caught the attention of nearby ladies. The survey showed that second most popular form of literature was non-fiction, viewed as attractive by 17% of women, with biographies close behind, favoured by 16%. However erotic literature did not score highly with women, with just 6 per cent admitting that they find men who read it attractive.

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

3. The law of attraction

Although genre can play a part in attraction, ultimately reading in general is enticing! The law of attraction indicates like is attracted to like. And as 87% of Irish singles stated that they enjoyed reading for pleasure and only 1% consider reading to be boring, evidently the Irish do think smart is sexy!

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

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.

EliteSingles editorial August 2015

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 60,000 registered members of EliteSingles Ireland.

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

About the author: Sophie Watson

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