Paperback, hardcover, or Kindle, it doesn’t matter, just as long as your reading romance. Not only is the genre entertaining, but studies show that adding romance novels to your literary lineup could benefit several other areas of your life as well.

Some studies, such as those recently published in The Washington Post, found that reading romance novels can improve your empathy. Readers can learn to connect to people on a different level by getting an inside look to a character’s thoughts and feelings. It allows them to develop a deeper understanding for the struggles that others face, which they can then reiterate to those in their everyday lives.

In fact, this particular benefit is so popular that some authors are even creating new projects with the theme of empathy in mind. E.L. James, author of the successful Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, recently released a book titled, Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told By Christian. As explained in the book description from Adam & Eve, Grey follows the same story as the original novel, but it’s told from Christian Grey’s darker point of view. When fans read the new book, they achieve a better understanding of how two different people in a relationship feel and think. It also provides more poignant explanations for their behaviors.

In addition to bettering their concern for, and understanding, of others, it almost goes without saying that romance novels can help readers in the bedroom. Another study posted on PR Newswire found that 94 percent of women reported that reading romance made them feel more sexually empowered and open-mined. More than 84 percent used the novels for inspiration to better their sex lives, and 80 percent said that the genre helped them improve communication with their partner about their sexual needs.

It’s worth noting that while these studies are new, the benefits of romance are not. This particular wing of the literary world helped readers long before James’ pieces (arguably) put the genre in the hot seat. Janice A. Radway’s Reading the Romance discussed benefits of reading romance that are as true today as they were when she published the book back in 1984. According to The UNC Press, Radway found that many women benefit from using romance as a way to reinforce and express their feminist beliefs. The genre serves as a healthy outlet for them to experience the admiration and tenderness that would otherwise be absent from their everyday lives. The concept is similar to those who read adventure books as a way to experience an entertaining, mental escape from their surroundings. But unlike adventure readers, romance enthusiasts still have to defend what they’re seeking.

You really shouldn’t have to justify your taste in literature, but if you ever do, don’t hesitate to send romance skeptics to some of these sources. Who knows, you might be able to convert them!