Just as I believe in reading as broadly as possible, I also believe that authors should try to write outside their genre, and incorporate perspectives into their stories that they might not normally. Doing this will make it less likely for you to become stale, or for your writing to become formulaic, and it will also force you to think about your world from different angles. This is definitely a good thing.
As an example, my current WIP (Work In Progress) involves zombies (but not the Romero, brain-eating variety – publishers don’t seem to like those at the moment), and a wrecked love affair. The difference, however, is that the love affair was between two men (the protagonist and his now-dead boyfriend). While love is love and the fallout of a failed relationship transcends cultures, genders, and sexual orientation, I can’t write about that relationship in the same way as I would about a male-female relationship, even though many of the dynamics would be, broadly speaking (i.e., from an anthropological perspective) the same. This will require extra thinking and discussion as I draft the story, but in the end I will have stretched myself as a writer.
Challenging? Certainly. Worth it? Definitely.