These are the sex capitals of Australia
THESE are the top suburbs for sex around the country - at least on paper.
Romantic fiction, according to new data released by book publisher Mills and Boon, is most popular in regional, working class towns and outer-city suburbs across Australia.
Behind the garden fences, wild sex and heated romance are a hit in areas like NSW's Penrith, where almost 11,000 Mills & Boon books were sold last year - the most in the country - and Toowoomba in Qld, a close second nationally with 10,457 sales. That's about one for every 10 adults.
The town of Shepparton came out on top for Victoria, while the riverside city of Launceston was the most popular suburb in Tasmania, and Bunbury, a port town, lead the charge for WA.
While on the surface it might seem like these areas may seriously steamy, romance experts said the findings could indicate a couple of points.
Sexologist Isiah McKimmie said busy women in outer city areas were often juggling work, children and household duties, and were likely turning to books in their minimal down time to "reignite passion" in their lives.
"With busy lives - and seemingly little romantic time with their partner - women may be turning to erotic novels to find excitement and reignite passion," Ms McKimmie said.
"In long-term relationships, especially where there are kids involved, couples can become disconnected and often lose intimacy in the bedroom.
"As a couples therapist and sexologist, my biggest group of clients are couples who've been together for 10-15 years and have children."
"There is so much that we're not taught about sex, what it can involve and how to really enjoy it, people are naturally curious about this.
"Erotic novels can also be a great source of education and inspiration for what is possible in a sexual relationship."
The typical Australian romance reader was a married woman aged 40 with two teenage children, and more than 50 per cent of the 838 readers who were surveyed said they wanted more romance in their lives.
But things are not always straightforward when it comes to the bedroom, with Ms McKimmie saying she had also seen data that indicated people in quieter towns were actually having more sex than anyone else.
"Some research has shown that women who read romantic or erotic novels have more sex than those who don't," she said.
"Sexual desire becomes responsive when we're in long-term relationships, which means we need to put a little effort into having it respond.
"Erotic novels can help us do this and look forward to sex."
Across the wide range of genres Mills and Books books cover, from "by request" to the intriguing "medical" category and "historical duo" topic, "sexy" was the common denominator in each state across the country.
Brownsville folk in Wollongong were most interested in the genre of "desire duo", while those in Ararat, VIC, were all about the hot and heavy "romantic suspense" reads - and in Darwin the top topic is "forever romance".
The research was released by the publisher, known internationally for their romantic fiction, to mark the release of their new DARE range of novels, a more explicit new genre.
Publishing executive Jo Grant said the notion of "escapism" for people stuck in routine made erotic novels a fantasy outlet, adding the "pursuit of love" was a drawcard.
"When speaking to our readers, the primary reason given, again and again, across ages, cultural backgrounds, stages of life, is that romance offers escapism," she said.
"Romance novels offer a safe space for women to escape into.
"This is because a true romance novel will always give you a happy ending, no matter how tumultuous the journey was to get there.
"There is something so very satisfying and reassuring about that happy ending."