Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Always a virgin

I don't always read romance, but sometimes I'm just in the mood for it. But I have one huge, gaping, gnawing complaint:

Why is the heroine ALWAYS a virgin? (And by always I mean....usually.)

Now, sometimes, it is acceptable, understandable, and probable that the heroine would, in reality, be a virgin. Historical or Christian fiction, for example. Or when the heroine entered a convent at 16 and just escaped. And the ever-popular "heroine has 8 huge, menacing big brothers who never let her out of their sight". Etc.

In some cases, however, I have to throw said romance book across the room with an angry groan and an eye roll because it is just so implausible. (Note: I would never throw a book across the room, stupid virgin heroine regardless. Especially as I read most books on my Kindle. Which I lurrrve.)

Case in point. Just read a scene in which a 29 year old, present day, by all appearances modern woman, is somehow, someway, a virgin. Now, let me give you the premise. Heroine, heretofore referred to as "Virgie" has just fled her high society role in her home town after risque photos with a married family man show up in the press. "Virgie" heads to Europe, meets handsome prince, ends up in his bed and


Cut to sharp stabby pain, sexy prince instantly calling Virgie out, Virgie insisting they keep going, pain disappering instantly....I'm going to fade to black here because you know what happens....Afterwards Virgie explains that the photos were taken out of context, that she didn't know he was married, blah, blah, blah. None of which explains how she was STILL a virgin!

All this leads me to one inevitable question.

Why are so many romantic heroines virgins?

Romance novels, are, in general, written by and for women. Do women care that other women are virgins? To me, this doesn't add to the romance factor. If anything, it detracts, because for one, it is impossible to write a sexy sex scene with a virgin. There's the pain, minimized though it is, the awkward realization by the man who she generally hasn't told, accompanied by even more awkward explanations.

Now, there is always the possibility that I am just extremely jaded and there are many gorgeous, successful and highly desirable women in the real world who are waiting to meet the perfect man and never indulged in so much as a hormone-fueled high school romp or drunken college frat party fling.

But I doubt it.


barbmeyers said...

Hmpff! You haven't read my contemporary "she's in her late twenties and still a virgin" book yet, so don't be so quick to judge!! Granted, it's not done, not published and I don't even have a plot for it, but I know my premise is entirely plausible. :)
In answer to your question, do women care about a character's virginity, probably not. But one of the main premises of a romance novel is "one true love." The fantasy is, you didn't sleep with 20 or 100 other guys before you found him. The fantasy is, he's your first, you fell madly in love with each other, overcame some obstacles and lived happily ever after. On the flip side, who enjoys reading books about slutty women? Research has shown men don't want to marry a slut. No matter how many women they've been with, they'd prefer to marry a vigin.

DaniSue said...

Yes, we discussed that your particular story is plausible. I didn't say the woman had to be a slut, I don't think in most contemporary romance the issue even needs to be addressed. You can have a sex scene without ever mentioning previous partners or virginity at all, which I think would be more realistic and less distracting to read.