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Thread: Why virgins? (answered)

  1. #11
    Mistress of the Pink Whip QueenBoadica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Marie View Post
    First, Claudia made some excellent points and when I first began writing romance, the readership very much preferred inexperienced heroines.

    Second, sex matters. BlueCoyote, I grew up in a podunk town, too, with less than desirable choices, crammed full of small-town gossips. There was no way I was getting naked physically or emtionally there. Also, I had a mother who said "what did he do to deserve intimacy from you? is he that special?" and I love her for the lesson, the confidence that when I did choose to have sex, it would be special.

    In a world where "sex is just sex", where every time I flip TV channels and see more than I really wanted to see while eating dinner or hanging out with my young nieces, I recall Neitzsche's call for a drastic re-evaluation of values, and figure I can do my part by not devaluing the relationships I choose to write about with multiple, casual partners. I think the human race is in trouble. I think male and female roles have become so hard to define and carve out in modern society that men and women are having an increasingly hard time making a real, lasting connection with each other. The biological imperatives that shaped our genders are no longer imperative. So who are we, and what matters? There are so many people out there, so many choices at the sex buffet, and I see so many people choosing to gorge unthinkingly while popping antidepressants and wondering why they can't find somebody to love. My advice? Try not sleeping with them on the first date. Grr...

    There I am, before coffee again and uncensored....LOL.

    Do they have to be virgins? No. But sex will always matter to my heroines. I'm working on the heros. Ironically, the readership seems to prefer their men with a great deal of experience. Is this a double standard we enforce on them? That a man who's a virgin isn't...quite...a desirable man?

    Discuss?
    Thanks for that, Karen! I haven't commented on this thread before, for many different reasons. Growing up, I liked having the heroines virgins because it didn't make me feel so abnormal. In high school, I honestly felt like I was the only one not having sex and I also grew up in a small town (incidentally, we lived right behind our church and less than a block away from the minister, so yeah, no pressure there!). As I got older and more comfortable within myself, I was okay with reading books where the heroines weren't virgins, but I still preferred the virgin females. I think there is this ideal that you meet the man of your dreams and he is the first and only man you sleep with.

    Now, to bring this to a serious matter, I was also the only one in my high school with personal knowledge of the consequences of sex, HIV/AIDS. My uncle was diagnosed positive when I was 8, before people had a real grasp on what it was. Being the brainy child I was (okay, geek works, too), I researched the disease with every legitimate source I could get my hands on (still do, from time to time). When my first friend came up to me and said she'd had sex with her boyfriend, I dragged her in the bathroom and screamed at her for not using a condom, let alone no birth control. I am amazed still in the wave of this epidemic (and yes, it is an epidemic, 1 in 5 people in South Africa are infected, 22.5 million people world wide are infected), sex has seemingly become even more casual. And what scares me even more is the role models for today's teenagers, Britney Spears' pregnant obviously didn't use condoms sister and the numerous other, oops, I'm pregnant celebrities out there today. Not that I have anything against getting pregnant, if that's what you want, but when sex appears that casual, I think it causes serious problems. Personally, I like the romance novelists leaving heroines virgins, not only for us geeks who need the reassurance that we're not freaks of nature, but also to show that sex is not casual and should not be had simply as a means of fitting in.

    The double standard? Absolutely! I think there is a feeling that there must be something wrong with a man who has never had sex. I have read a few books with virgin heroes and, while some I found ridiculous, I think they can be written and written well. How would they go over? Well, I admit I thought, "That's just ridiculous!" with a few of them. With historical romances in particular, before the knowledge of STDs I believe sex was much more causal at times, although I also think it has gone in cycles, especially in Christianized European countries. What I don't think is well understood at least generally is that marriage wasn't always the norm; in many countries in Europe it was costly to get married officially in the church and many poorer people lived together in common law marriages, which also made it easier to practice serial monogamy. No divorce, just move out. I know that is the case in colonial Brazil where I work; many couples did not marry till on their deathbed and then only after a law was passed that made only "legitimate" children eligible for inheritance. And there has also been the problem of marriage not being a love match for the elite until recent history; marriage was about wealth and power, plain and simple, love was something you found elsewhere, more easily if you were an elite male than female. This is my long, rambling way of saying what we may be seeing is not necessarily new; people have lived together for long periods of time as couples and separated rather easily throughout history. And men being "experienced" may be more accurate, although I would say that experienced women existed in the past at a higher level then discussed in romance novels as well, they just weren't elite women.

    Okay, coffee kicking in, must do work, sorry for ramble. No idea if that actually answers any questions asked.

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  2. #12
    Highland Honey Club tcdarcy7's Avatar
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    I agree and personally I prefer reading about heroines with limited sexual experience. I'm old school that way and figure it's something you share with somebody special, someone you care about. The sad thing is that people tend to find great amusement in my saying so. *sigh*

    The male's extensive experience bothers me but not so much. Double standard thereof is annoying but if it brings on faithfulness, all the better. Gives them the opportunity to appreciate what they do have when they have it. I'm a real tomboy and from a young age most of friends have been male. Thus I'm well aware of how males see women, since it never acured to them to curb their tongues around me. Add in an over protective brother who had no scruples about filling in the blanks and I’d decided it’s much better to be the girl who doesn’t put out. Even though it drives them nuts, they actually have respect for it, although they would never admit it.

    PS... In Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Jamie was a virgin on his Wedding night and damn, he sure is desirable. . Also I think it's believable as his reason for being so are sound and makes perfect sense. Especially because his folks loved each other and it was something he strived for.
    Last edited by tcdarcy7; 04-30-2008 at 08:51 AM.

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  3. #13
    The Devil squarepegroundhole's Avatar
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    Default Double Standard

    I really do hate the fact that if a man has immense sexual experience then he is considered to be a stud. A woman, on the other hand, is considered a sl*t. I am talking about a woman, and not a teenage girl who just hops from boy to boy. There are alot of those around here, where I live. Little girls who think that they know what's best for them by the time that they are twelve, and they are going to prove it by having sex, drinking, and just doing whatever they want! Now woman, are a different breed of cat all together. Some hear their biological clock ticking, or banging away in their head! So they think that they have to find someone, and guys are the same way. I think that anymore sex has become a tool to get what we want instead of an act of love between two people who truly care about each other! I like that the women in your stories have their virginity, and that nothing really violent has happened in their past to mar their conception of sex. They still hold out hope that one day they will find the man of their dreams, and that he will be their first, last, and only!
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  4. #14
    Maniac tagore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Marie View Post
    First, Claudia made some excellent points and when I first began writing romance, the readership very much preferred inexperienced heroines.

    Second, sex matters. BlueCoyote, I grew up in a podunk town, too, with less than desirable choices, crammed full of small-town gossips. There was no way I was getting naked physically or emtionally there. Also, I had a mother who said "what did he do to deserve intimacy from you? is he that special?" and I love her for the lesson, the confidence that when I did choose to have sex, it would be special.

    In a world where "sex is just sex", where every time I flip TV channels and see more than I really wanted to see while eating dinner or hanging out with my young nieces, I recall Neitzsche's call for a drastic re-evaluation of values, and figure I can do my part by not devaluing the relationships I choose to write about with multiple, casual partners. I think the human race is in trouble. I think male and female roles have become so hard to define and carve out in modern society that men and women are having an increasingly hard time making a real, lasting connection with each other. The biological imperatives that shaped our genders are no longer imperative. So who are we, and what matters? There are so many people out there, so many choices at the sex buffet, and I see so many people choosing to gorge unthinkingly while popping antidepressants and wondering why they can't find somebody to love. My advice? Try not sleeping with them on the first date. Grr...

    There I am, before coffee again and uncensored....LOL.

    Do they have to be virgins? No. But sex will always matter to my heroines. I'm working on the heros. Ironically, the readership seems to prefer their men with a great deal of experience. Is this a double standard we enforce on them? That a man who's a virgin isn't...quite...a desirable man?

    Discuss?

    I agree Karen...sex has become too cheap. I'm in my early 30's and I am amazed at even though I spent my teen years in the height of the AIDS/ teen pregnancy era much of what was deemed as bad then has increased to worse. And frankly raising three kids, two of which are girls it quite scary. I am so tired of having commercials come on while we are driving about sexual enhancers that I am ready to scream. Every song is about sex. Every show has some sexual innuendo.THERE IS ABSOLUETLY NO LOVE! And sex aithout that is simply a bodily function like eating or using the bathroom. Except you can live without it. I think one of the other ladies talk about how much she wish shehad waited for her husband and I so whole heartedly agree. And it is not that he (my husband) was the most experienced in the world, it was that sex is no longer sex with him. And every other experience now seems cheap and a waste of time. I love romance novels not because of the sex (don't get me wrong I love the heated scenes), but I love them because of the relationships. Watching two characters come together, work out problems, and make it. They give hope. I have read books where the heroines have been experienced. Most were put in that situation by circumstances and so on (prostitution, abused childhood, etc.) and while I cheer for these women, my heart hurts at the pain that they must go through to acheive a healthy, happy love life now that they have found their heart's mate. Anyone knows that being in a relationship is work, the physical part of that can either help (it is a great way to relieve stress ) or it can hinder it especially if there isn't more to the relationship. Our society wants all the pleasure without the pain. But the pain is what makes you apperciate and treasure the pleasure. You can treasure a relationship when you know the good AND the bad AND even the horrible. When you've worked at something and it succeeds, there is no better feeling. Why settle for less?

    As far as men being more experience...I think it comes from a deep rooted desire in women to want someone to take care of us, protect us, treasure us, love us. Not that we are capable of doing theings on our own or smart enough to figure out our solutions, but dang it feels great to have someone care enough to want to care for you and see that your needs are meet. That includes sexually as well. As I tell my husband every women wants to be their daddy's princess so that one day she can be her husband's queen. It doesn't always turn out that way, but the desire is there.
    And I guess the theory is how can you (the man)know what is needed if you have never had to do it before. Now I don't agree with that. And wholeheartedly believe that a man can do what is necessary if he is involved enough to care to, but I think this is the thinking behind the double standard.

    Just my two cents.....
    Last edited by tagore; 04-30-2008 at 12:30 PM. Reason: Correct mistakes

  5. #15
    Mucho Maniac oracle's Avatar
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    I just wanted to pop in and say that I could really enjoy an intriguing story about an inexperienced man. I think it could be quite titillating. I will have to discuss later when I'm not under this terrible deadline. I think KMM is beyond talented enough to pull it off!

  6. #16
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    Default less or inexperienced duds..

    Personally, I admire duds who are less experienced in "relations" Why? Well I am in my mid-twenties now and all the guys I have been around who are less experienced are very accomplished because they have been focused on becoming accomplished. More often than not, more experienced men around my age have have "issues and/or extra baggage" that usually comes when a dud has too much fun over the course of his life; really takes away his ability to focus on what wants to be successfully. In that, my own selfishness in this is that for me, him having less issues/baggage and being successful is such a turn on....blush...very hot smart man!....

    I like the idea of the females being a virgin, not only for my own personal taste, but also because I like the way KMM writes them. They aren't wide eyed and terrified...like Oh! he's naked! And I'm afraid of relations!..you know what I mean. But brave and more like "I've been waiting all my life for this, hold on!" I love it....

  7. #17
    Scottish Lass Wannabe bap7249's Avatar
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    Smile Thanks Karen for your answer...

    It makes me fee alot better to know that there really are more people out there that think like I do. I, too, grew up in a small town and went from 1st grade thru high-school with all the same group of kids. I was a senior in high-school when one of the cheerleaders had to leave school because she got pregnant. I was so schocked, because I had led a really naive life until then...I was 36 before I got married and yes. I was a virgin...I still don't understand why it's OK for men to cat around, but women are suppose to be a virgin, however; I know that these days men with "experience" pose a greater threat to themselves and the "right" woman they find...I was lucky that my husband was not so "experienced" even though he had been briefly married before we met and married...and no we didn't live together before marriage because my parent's would have been really disappointed in me and I would have been disappointed in myself for doing something just because everyone else was...I think the real problem thses days is a lack of morals in the generation that started with mine...don't understand, but one day I hope to see a return of moral fiber ingrained in people by their parents...I guess that's enough of a "rant" from me...bap7249
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  8. #18
    Deus nobiscum quis contra Conoga's Avatar
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    my stance on the "Stud" topic is also a personal one relating to my husband. i have met with guys who thought they were too hot to trot. they had the reputation of being the best and i just didnt like the ego trip they were always on.
    with my husband he always wanted to be married ONE time to ONE person. sadly that never happened. he married the first girl he slept with - he was her first too- but she wanted more experience than he could give her. according to him he was just REALLY BAD in her opinion. but she was a "Live fast/die young" sort... and thats what she did. she died of a massive coronary while walking across a grocery store parking lot when she was just 35 years old. after she divorced him (took their daughter and all their possessions with her) he went through a 24 year old version of a midlife crisis and date date dated. he thought if he took up smoking he would look older (she liked older men after all) and if he dated more girls he would get more experience(which was why she left him to start with) and his efforts were ignored and even laughed at by her.

    during that period he met the second girl... oddly enough a virgin as well ... (so she claimed) she was in the modeling business. they dated for a while playing "catch me if you can" games. then lived together for several years before getting married. they were married ONE year before she left him for a photographer that owned a tiki bar in South Florida and a mountain in Tennessee... how could a normal man compete with that? at the time my husband had his own business of putting decals, stripes and graphics on cars. it was a good business at the time, but nothing compared to owning a bar and a mountain. he found out she was leaving when they went on a vacation to Tennessee. "Oh by the way, i want to introduce you to the man i am leaving you for" ...

    the third one was from a FUBAR broken home. she had her demons and had alienated herself from her family. she WASNT a virgin. far from it actually.... they had sex on the first date... they dated and lived together for a couple years with an up & down relationship. anytime she got mad at him she would leave. after they were married she got mad at him because he lost his job so she divorced him. she went back to her old boyfriend who refused to pay for her college education (DH was paying it for her so she didnt have to work) so she came back to him sorry for leaving and they had the divorce annulled.... three years went by, they had a kid, a house, he was the highest paid sales rep in his city. One year shy of graduation she got mad at him because he didnt want to move to Vermont. his excuse was she wasnt done with school yet. they had a house payment to make. too many projects were not finished. so she divorced him, took the kid, and left him a ruined man.. fiancially and emotionally.. which is where i found him. i wont even describe the hell she put us both through when she found out he was no longer available for her to come back to. she had a history of doing that and i was in the way. i'll spare all those nasty details.... she makes Lucan look like a cute little angel with a halo bobbing over his head.

    so he has experience, of that i can assure you! but he's rather humble about it. he never wanted to be "one of those guys" that everyone knew about, that everyone had been with.

    The funniest thing was a conversation i had with him one day - when we were still just friends and roommates- he said "i hate virgins. nothing but trouble. i dont EVER wanna be involved with another one!" ... i didnt tell him i WAS a virgin. i remembering thinking "well thats great! i'm safe with this one :D"
    see... when i met him and moved in with him i was hiding from my family who was controlling my life. i was 20 years old, had no job, car, life.. nothing. he and i made a deal when i moved in. i would help him quit smoking and he would help me get a job and a car and teach me how to drive it.

    haha aint life funny!

  9. #19
    OnlyHeaven with MacKeltar onlyheaven's Avatar
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    Default Sex in Society & Virgin Men

    We create society but if we're careless enough, society creates us.

    That is why we still generally stray to the idea of virgin women and the sex god alpha-male. Sex can be good, casual or intimate. That is the reality of it, regardless of our personal moral views.

    That said, I agree with you, Karen. Our society has come to view sexual relationships as mostly physical relationships and not truly for what they are. The larger reality is that only intimate sex can be truly rewarding long-term because sex in itself is but a building block.....a necessary building block for the foundation? Yes, but still just a building block of an entire relationship.

    Should there be virgin heros and not so virginal heroines? No to the first & yes to the second:

    1) I like men a little experienced -- they shouldn't have had a few hundred partners or anything extreme. Much, much more than how much sex a hero has had, my alpha-male should be a man of few words & much action.....a man who knows who is & who he loves. "MINE" is what a MacKeltar knows the moment he lays eyes on his woman.
    2) I particularly loved "Beyond the Highland Mist." Adrienne was not a virgin and for me, that did not detract in any way from the beauty of the love she found with Hawk. Nor did it detract away from their hot love scenes. If anything, I loved it that she was wounded from her past (and creepy ex-fiance), and that she found paradise in Hawk's arms despite past wounds of her heart.

    Karen, thanks for allowing us to share with you our fantasies & hopes not just for love, but for life and all our tomorrows.

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  10. #20
    Reporter Liberty's Avatar
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    I have noticed that in Karen's books that the men don't expect the women to be virgins and are in fact shocked to find out. That part for me makes up for the virgin thing. :) I think it also adds to the special-ness of it all. When the heroine is a virgin making the whole sex act thing with the hero special is fairly easy. But I'm guessing if she weren't a virgin, the author would have to go into other details as to why her experience with the hero is different from other experiences.

    I think a heroine can be "unexperience" and still not be a virgin. I would hardly call once or twice as "experienced".

    LOL at the virgin hero, it's funny but I think I might've actually read a romance with a virgin hero.

    Adrienne wasn't a virgin? Really? I kinda sensed that she was intimate with the guy she was running away from but I also sensed that she didn't get that far with him either. I guess I just assumed she was a virgin too.

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