It is generally perceived that feminism and romance are in direct conflict yet according to a study by Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan of Rutgers University, feminism and romance are not incompatible and feminism may actually improve the quality of heterosexual relationships.

They carried out both a laboratory survey of 242 American undergraduates and an online survey including 289 older adults, more likely to have had longer relationships and greater life experience. They looked at men’s and women’s perception of their own feminism and its link to relationship health, measured by a combination of overall relationship quality, agreement about gender equality, relationship stability and sexual satisfaction.

They found that having a feminist partner was linked to healthier heterosexual relationships for women. Men with feminist partners also reported both more stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction. According to these results, feminism does not predict poor romantic relationships but is actually the opposite.

The authors also tested the validity of feminist stereotypical beliefs amongst their two samples, based on the hypothesis that if feminist stereotypes are accurate, feminist women should be more likely to report themselves as being single, lesbian, or sexually unattractive than non-feminist women.

Their study reported that feminist women were more likely to be in a heterosexual romantic relationship than non-feminist women. The authors conclude that feminist stereotypes appear to be inaccurate, and therefore their unfavorable implications for relationships are also likely to be unfounded.

Article: Rudman LA & Phelan JE (2007), "The interpersonal power of feminism: is feminism good for romantic relationships" Sex Roles (DOI 10.1007/s11199-007-9319-9);