Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Like a Virgin...

WARNING: Sweeping generalizations abound here. Just roll with it.

The obligatory cherry pic.

I’ve been throwing around ideas for a while now about doing a series wherein the males in the piece are virgins. The notion just appealed to me on some level. Now the modern day Romancelandia hero is frequently in his thirties, at least six-feet tall, quite often features dark hair and eyes, and is, for the most part, an alpha male. He is rough and rugged. He is burly, brawny and many other things to boot. Occasionally he is even a billionaire. Typically though, he’s neither a young man nor a virgin. The reasons for this are quite simple. A twenty year old is for the larger part a personality still in flux. They’ve yet to rub up against the best and worst of what the world can throw at them. Life experience, in a romance hero, tends to be a desired trait. By the early-twenties, most people have got it on in one form or another. Losing it is often perceived as being a ‘rite of passage’. Besides, having swoonworthy bedroom skills tends to be up there with the burly, brawny stuff. A virgin, therefore, lacks the appropriate training. The thirty-second issue can also hinder a hot sex scene. We don’t want the story quite *that* short.

Oh yeah, he looks like the shy type to me.
Society teaches us to value and desire in accordance with what others have previously valued and desired. We can be a bit of a flock of sheep like that. Is our wannabe stud a virgin because men or women have not been flinging their undies in his general direction? Why no past coy glances and steamy scenes? If he hasn’t been wanted and desired previously then what’s wrong with him, exactly? Is he a mummy’s boy? Secret fetishes involving scotch tape holding him back? Please explain. Judgmental lot, aren’t we? Part of the Romanceland fantasy is wanting to be that special one in a million to break all the rules and snaffle the prize everyone else wants. The first true love, despite the playboy background. We’re in love with love. Love is hope of a better, brighter future. Onwards and upwards with our soul mate by our side. Who wouldn’t want that? And that he happens to have spent the last fifteen years perfecting the art of oral worship *just* for you is the icing on the cake. Right?

On the female side of things however, a female virgin does tend to pop up far more often. The hymen has been well treasured down through history.  Does she think of sex as something special and sacred? If not just anyone can get with her than isn’t she the top shelf prize? The experienced guy having sex with the virgin girl isn’t just a women’s fantasy. It can also be a men’s fantasy. Look at him bravely go where no man has gone down before! Ooh! Aah! She’s a woman now!
That's just disgusting.

There’s a very real power dynamic at work with being someone’s first. Of being the knowledgeable one, the one in charge. Couldn’t a heroine be the dominant, leading the way in this matter? Doesn’t that make for a delicious scenario? Whilst the twenty year old pool-boy and Mrs. Robinson scenario doesn’t particularly work for me, it is however a classic example of the powerplay. And cougars need love too, damn it!

I think a virgin hero that has lifetime experience – though not bedtime experience – is an interesting notion. Your first shag always goes down in history. Everyone remembers their first time as horrific or de-lovely as it might be. It makes for a hell of an impression. (I for one could never listen to REM ever again. Not totally a bad thing.) And the virgin hero has been done before, check out Linnea Sinclair’s ‘Games of Command’ for one. Thoughts? More virgin hero books to recommend? Have at it…


  1. I love me a virgin hero and love the idea of lifetime experience v bedtime experince. Oh and not forgetting liftetime dedication to the study of oral pleasure.
    I think it would be hard to write but I love it when its done right. But hell, I've written one virgin heroine in 30 books and that was pretty damn hard too!
    Anna Campbell wrote a virgin hero - wish I could think of the book...plucking his cherry was one hell of a hawt scene!

    1. YES! Anna did 'Untouched'. She handled it awesomely well. And I loved how the heroine in that made him go off and live a little for a year so he knew exactly what he wanted when they got together at the end. Oh. Heh. Hope no one here hasn't read it.

  2. Maisey Yates has one out now. Royal World Apart. It was very believable and very hot. He was mature and had experience in defusing bombs so he knew how to use his hands. Best thing.

    1. Ooh! Cool idea. Will have to look that one up. Thanks, Fiona!

  3. Great post, Kylie. I do like the life experience vs. bed experience idea. It IS interesting and as a writer definitely a fun issue to play with. There is plenty of scope for why a character would remain a virgin - lots of possible world building/cultural/life experience reasons to incorporate - it makes for a nice change from the regular sexually experienced characters. :-)

    As for the preconceptions that usually associate a virgin character, male or female, I don't like them. Disagree that we should fall into the trap of assumption. Each story should be based on its merits.

    I've just recently participated in a discussion over on Goodreads about this topic. Some readers were looking for virgins in stories - male & female - and it intrigued me so I combed my bookshelves, put out a call to friends and came up with a short list for both.

    Most are PR books, a few historical.

    Virgin heroes:
    UNTOUCHED - Anna Campbell (historical romance)
    CAPTIVE OF SIN - Anna Campbell (historical romance
    WILD AT HEART - Patricia Gaffney (historic romance)
    BORN IN SIN - Kinley MacGregor (historic romance)
    WHEN THE DUKE RETURNS - Eloise James (historical romance)
    "Dead After Dark" anthology (short story is called 'Story of Son') with JR.Ward (paranormal romance)
    UNLEASH THE NIGHT - S.Kenyon (paranormal romance)
    RITUAL OF PROOF - Dara Joy (paranormal romance)
    KEIR - Pippa Jay (science fiction romance)
    GAMES OF COMMAND - Linnea Sinclair (sci-fi romance)
    DANCE WITH THE DEVIL - S.Kenyon (paranormal romance)
    OUTLANDER - Diane Gabaldon (fantasy? romance)

    Virgin heroines:
    THE LONE WARRIOR - Denise Rossetti (paranormal romance)
    SHADOW KIN - MJ Scott (paranormal romance)
    WARPRIZE - Elizabeth Vaughan (fantasy romance)
    RAPTURE - Jacqueliine Frank (paranormal romance)
    VENGEANCE BORN - Kylie Griffin (fantasy romance)
    ALLIANCE FORGED - Kylie Griffin (fantasy romance-both)
    HINT OF FROST - Hailey Edwards (fantasy romance)
    GREENSHIFT - Heidi Ruby Miller (sci-fi romance)

    1. Wonderful! Thank you so much for the list, Kylie. No, I don't think we should roll with the preconceptions regarding virginity. Voicing the assumptions was my way of trying to explain why we don't see so many virgin heros. My point was exactly yours, good story telling doesn't need to rely on those assumptions. Virgin heros can be alluring and enticing in all sorts of ways.

    2. You could add SOVRAN'S PAWN to the list of virgin heroines. She also ended the book as a virgin and the deflowering took place offstage after the book ended.

  4. I actually like them, there's also something sexy about a strong alpha male who's been holding back and loses it (ha-ha) for the heroine. Here's some others not mentioned:

    UNTOUCHED - Courtney Milan
    THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT - Miranda Neville

    1. Hey Angela, thanks for stopping by. I too think there's a lot to be said for a big strong alpha male *losing* it. And thanks for adding to the list!

  5. Well while we're listing virgin books - Waking Up With Dr Off-Limits ain't too bad either

    Just sayin..... :-)