Harlequin Survey Reveals Americans Ready for Romance Revolution

TORONTO, May 2, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Stevie Wonder may have been calling to say I love you, but the 2007 Harlequin Romance Report reveals that the intentions of Americans are far less honorable. According to a new survey from Harlequin, The Romance Revolution, a whopping 55% of American men and 41% of American women have said those three little words in the hopes that it would lead to sex.

"Many people perceive 'I love you' as the secret password that gets them into the bedroom," said Marleah Stout, Senior Public Relations Manager, Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction. "But telling someone you love them because you think that's what they want to hear is not romantic -- it's cliched and outdated, and these days romance is a top priority for Americans."

This year's Harlequin Romance Report survey (www.press.eHarlequin.com/), which polled more than 3,000 men and women across Canada and the U.S., discovered that the U.S. is a nation of romantics. Ninety-two percent of men and 94% of women consider themselves romantic and surprisingly, almost half of all men (45%) consider themselves hopeless romantics. While the majority of American men (64%) and women (72%) want more romance in their lives, the problem is that 72% don't know how to get it, believing that television and movies set impossible romantic standards.

Much like the sexual revolution that liberalized sex and forced discussion about sexuality out of the bedroom and into the public domain, The Romance Revolution, the focus of this year's Romance Report, is all about helping people get in touch with their inner romantic. The report also explores how romance has changed and where it is headed, identifies the barriers to romance and explores romance in its new domain -- online.

"People want romance that is accessible and natural to them, one that avoids cliches and stereotyped expectations," said Stout. "The Romance Revolution is all about feeling comfortable and confident. Romance isn't necessarily grand romantic gestures. It can be picking up your partner's favorite movie on the way home from work, sending someone a sweet text message or preparing a meal together while enjoying each other's company -- all simple actions that tell the special person in your life how you feel about them."

The survey also revealed that more than 87% of Americans believe that men and women have different ideas about what romance should be. While men and women may not be seeing eye to eye when it comes to what is or is not considered romantic, they certainly agree on one thing -- it's cool to be romantic (86%).

Other survey highlights include:

Free to be me -- Men and women both indicated that they wanted more romance in their lives, but they want a romance that is genuine, comfortable and often unconventional. Almost two thirds of men and women disagreed with the idea that everyone should get married at some point in their lives.

To err is human, to forgive divine -- Nearly three-quarters of the men (74%) and women (71%) would forgive their significant other if they flirted with someone else, but men are more likely than women to forgive their partner for having sex with somebody else (20% men versus 12% women).

Well, I never! -- More than half of the men polled (55%) have sent a sexually explicit e-mail, text message or instant message to someone. A quarter of men (25%) and just under a quarter of women (22%) have had a cyber-affair. Sixteen percent of men and women have broken up with someone by e-mail, text message or instant message.

Starstruck -- The Harlequin Romance Report 2007, The Romance Revolution, includes the highly anticipated ranking of the male and female celebrities that epitomize The Romance Revolution. With an army of women waiting in the wings to be the next Mrs. Clooney, George Clooney took the number one spot for the men, while stunning songstress and recent breast cancer survivor Sheryl Crow topped the women's chart. Honorable mentions on the men's side went to hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, comical genius Vince Vaughn, tennis pro Andy Roddick and the sexiest pirate on earth, Johnny Depp. Lovely and talented Salma Hayek, controversial pop star Pink, acting legend Diane Keaton and actress-turned-author Angela Bassett are making it look easy for the women. Other celebrities making this year's list include Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Alex Rodriguez, Matthew Fox, Hugh Laurie, Cameron Diaz, Sandra Oh, Natalie Maines, Melissa Etheridge and Demi Moore.

This is just a taste of the findings in the 2007 Harlequin Romance Report. The full text of The Romance Revolution can be downloaded at www.press.eHarlequin.com.

HARLEQUIN ENTERPRISES LIMITED is the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, with titles issued worldwide in 25 languages and sold in 94 international markets. The company produces over 115 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,300 authors from around the world. HARLEQUIN ENTERPRISES LIMITED is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.nv.b). Harlequin's Web site is located at www.eHarlequin.com. Harlequin has offices in 18 countries, including Toronto, New York and London. For more information please visit www.eHarlequin.com or www.press.eHarlequin.com.

For a copy of the 2007 Romance Report, to obtain a state breakdown of the American statistics or to arrange an interview with a Harlequin romance expert, please contact:

Marleah Stout, Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., 416-391-7009, Marleah_Stout@Harlequin.ca.

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. between June 21 and June 23, 2006, among 2,256 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older, and between June 22 and June 26, 2006, among 1,145 Canadian adults 18 years of age or older. For U.S. data, figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. The Canadian data were weighted to census information.

With a pure probability sample of 2,256 or 1,145 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-3 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on subsamples may be higher and may vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.


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