Romance is the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person often associated with sexual attraction. It is eros rather than agape, philia, or storge.
In the context of romantic love relationships, romance usually implies an expression of one's strong romantic love, or one's deep and strong emotional desires to connect with another person intimately or romantically. Historically, the term "romance" originates with the medieval ideal of chivalry as set out in its chivalric romance literature.
Humans have a natural inclination to form bonds with one another through social interactions, be it through verbal communication or nonverbal gestures.
Historians believe that the actual English word "romance" developed from a vernacular dialect within the French language meaning "verse narrative"—referring to the style of speech, writing, and artistic talents within elite classes. The word was originally an adverb of the Latin origin "Romanicus," meaning "of the Roman style." The connecting notion is that European medieval vernacular tales were usually about chivalric adventure, not combining the idea of love until late into the seventeenth century.
The word romance has also developed with other meanings in other languages such as the early nineteenth century Spanish and Italian definitions of "adventurous" and "passionate", sometimes combining the idea of "love affair" or "idealistic quality."
In primitive societies, tension existed between marriage and the erotic, but this was mostly expressed in taboo regarding the menstrual cycle and birth.
Bernger von Horheim in the Codex Manesse (early 14th century)
Anthropologists such as Claude Lévi-Strauss show that there were complex forms of courtship in ancient as well as contemporary primitive societies. There may not be evidence, however, that members of such societies formed loving relationships distinct from their established customs in a way that would parallel modern romance.
Before the 18th century, many marriages were not arranged, but rather developed out of more or less spontaneous relationships. After the 18th century, illicit relationships took on a more independent role. In bourgeois marriage, illicitness may have become more formidable and likely to cause tension. In Ladies of the Leisure Class, Rutgers University professor Bonnie G. Smith depicts courtship and marriage rituals that may be viewed as oppressive to modern people. She writes "When the young women of the Nord married, they did so without illusions of love and romance. They acted within a framework of concern for the reproduction of bloodlines according to financial, professional, and sometimes political interests." Subsequent sexual revolution has lessened the conflicts arising out of liberalism, but not eliminated them.
Anthony Giddens, in his book The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Society, states that romantic love introduced the idea of a narrative into an individual's life. He adds that telling a story was one of the meanings of romance. According to Giddens, the rise of romantic love more or less coincided with the emergence of the novel. It was then that romantic love, associated with freedom and therefore the ideals of romantic love, created the ties between freedom and self-realization.
David R. Shumway, in his book Romance, Intimacy, and The Marriage Crisis, states that the discourse of intimacy emerged in the last third of the 20th century and that this discourse claimed to be able to explain how marriage and other relationships worked. For the discourse of intimacy emotional closeness was much more important than passion. This does not mean by any means that intimacy is to replace romance. On the contrary, intimacy and romance coexis