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Thread: Why virgins? (answered)

  1. #1
    Heart of a Warrior Danielle42's Avatar
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    Default Why virgins? (answered)

    I've always wondered about this in romance novels: Why are the female leads almost always virgins, regardless of their age, era, etc.? Don't get me wrong - I am not saying that women should take their bodies or sexuality lightly. But I also find it a bit odd that in the 21st century women readers and writers seem to, well, "fetishize" the hymen, women's purity, virginity. Seems like an acceptance, an endorsement, even of the age-old idea that a women of experience (or even one of curiousity) is somehow "damaged goods" - less desirable than one who is "pure".

    What does it mean in the Higlander novels? Why does the women's virginity play such an important part? What does it mean for their characters, the storyline? etc

    Please, no flames from others about whether one way of living/being is better than the other. I believe that women have every right to decide if, when, where, and with whom they share their bodies - or don't - so please don't assume this is an attack on or judgement of anyone. Just wondering about this and would love to understand it from a romance writer's point of view.
    Danielle



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    Got Kilt? Beware_of_Italics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCoyote View Post
    i have yet to find a novel about a virgin hero!! do those even exist?? and No, Harry Potter does not count...
    I can think of two books. I'll label them as spoilers in case some readers don't want to know the titles and would rather be surprised.

    Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor.

    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

  3. #32
    Maniac Echo's Avatar
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    This is a really interesting topic! Personally I don't care one way or the other if the hero or heroine is a virgin or not. I enjoy virginal stories and NON alike. I think a lot of times it's a more interesting arc in the story if the hero is. Like Jamie in Outlander (YUM). The other one that comes to mind is Sebastian in the 2nd Kresley Cole. Technically he wasn's a virgin, but he may as well have been. And the heroine got to teach him all kinds of tricks and he was a fast learner.

    Not to say that I don't enjoy it when the heroine is a virgin. Especially with Karen's characters. The hero always seems to appreciate the whole experience more and the heroine. Appreciate, as in he knows that he's got a good thing and wants to keep her even before they have sex.

    The state of the world these days, regarding sex is down right scary. I grew up in a small town with nothing to do but drink or have sex. I did neither. I was a book worm. But I can remember being shocked when one of my friends told me she slept with some guy as a one night stand. I don't know why. I knew people were having sex. I wasn't completely nieve. I just didn't think a friend of mine that young would just have emotionless sex with some random dude. I've only ever been with my husband and we somehow managed to wait until I was 19. And now you hear stories about oral sex being like a hand shake. When I hear my teenage cousin tell me that oral sex is not a big deal and that it happens all the time between friends it scares the sh** out of me. And honestly, I don't want to offend anyone, but I put part of the blame on Bill Clinton. What are teenagers supposed to think when their own president has said that oral sex is not sexual realations? The rest goes to media.

    I really don't want my daughter to grow up right now. So right now I applaud authors who write about virgins, how waiting for the right moment is sacred and so worth the sacrifice.

  4. #33
    Maniac kidlet's Avatar
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    First of all - I agree waiting for the right one is important and I teach my girls to to make sure they love the guys they will be with first before jumping into something they aren't comfortable with. Right now they are only 12 & 13 but they understand that sex shouldn't be casual, beside they can learn from my mistake. I was divorced for about 8 years decided to have a casual affair (with protection), ended up pregnant & now the dad is no where to be found (although he live about 10 miles away). Besides with all of the STDs out there now who would want to take the risk?
    That being said I can think of a few of SK's books where the heroine wasn't a virgin - Bride, Sunshine, Tabitha and I think Amanda.

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    Maniac tagore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCoyote View Post
    i knew i hadnt imagined it lmbo!! i still want to reread it again anyway. that was probably my favourite book - besides Immortal Highlander - Adam and Hawk are a lot like my husband. each one is a different side of his personality. probably why i like those books the most lol though Touch is a close third.....


    i have yet to find a novel about a virgin hero!! do those even exist?? and No, Harry Potter does not count...
    Born in Sin, by Kinley MacGregor....In fact when I read the scene I had to read it like three times to make sure. She did an excellent job with it. And it's set in the Highlands.....

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    Criss Angel is my DH Anita's Avatar
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    I think it is a double standard.

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  7. #36
    Deus nobiscum quis contra Conoga's Avatar
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    most certainly in a lot of cases. but from my own POV i didnt want a virgin guy when i myself was a virgin. i have an aversion to pain, you see.... i didnt want some idiot just plowing through and getting all the cookies and just leaving me with the milk so to speak....

    nope. that is one standard i like: someone who knows what he's doing and will pay attention. thats not to say a virgin man couldnt and wont.... heck i knew a lot of trick for being a virgin (i read a lot! duh!)

    and yeah sex has become akin to shoe shopping. "try them on before you find a pair you like" .... many people give up too quickly if things dont go the way they like. again same as shoes... one little scuff and they throw them out.
    another analogy i have is "New Puppy Syndrome"... same thing as when someone is tired of their old smelly dog so they replace him with a new puppy.... many people are victims of that, not just animals. its like routine scares the dickens out of a lot of people!

    personaly i love being bored with my husband from time to time. gives me a chance to read, or kill time in the forum :D

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    OnlyHeaven with MacKeltar onlyheaven's Avatar
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    Default The V Factor

    Morrrrrrning everyone. GOODNESS Blue Coyote. I think I like you. Your last response made me laugh sssooooooooo hard Milk & cookies. How appropriate. Yes, I'm also one of those who prefer my men experienced. Nothing outrageous just more than me (there goes the double standard Karen was talking about!).

    The "V" factor sure has sparked a load of discussion. I do think it's awesome that novelists like Karen & Judith McNaught tend to write about virgins. I think it teaches our daughters, the ones we have now and the ones we'll have someday, the beauty (and thrill!) of saving themselves for the RIGHT man.

    That said, I'd really like to see less focus on actual virgins but more focus on heroines with a general sense of morals. They may not be virginal due to rape/abuse, but I'd like to see non-V heroines especially if it was by choice. Before I get a slew of responses protesting this -- think about it........

    .....How about a heroine who once truly believed in a man because she thought she loved him, gave herself to him, only to be disappointed for all men -- until the day she meets our hero?

    Non-virginal heroines can still be written to illustrate a strong sense of what feels right, learning from life's lessons, in order to find hope & true love. This type of heroine would illustrate an emotional strength of character more women can relate to and be inspired from.

    doesn't have to be virginal, but it should be pure.

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  9. #38
    Reporter Liberty's Avatar
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    I'm with you girl. There's more to a girl's morality and personality than her virginity. I've met some virgins that are anything but pure.
    Not every girl is going to find the "right" guy on the first try but I'm sure there are plenty of women out there who've fallen in love and thought the man they were with was the "right" guy only to be disappointed.
    My two best friends married their "first" but for several years (even now) they could have broken up and ended up with other people. One couple has issues sharing everything with each and I sense she's afraid to lose him sometimes. The other, half of the time is always complaining about this girl or that girl being "all over" her man, it's not the women, it's the fact that she doesn't completely trust her own husband because he's cheated on her before.

    Truth is, life isn't perfect but you work through things (if it's worth it) to make a relationship work. I think sometimes too much is placed on "virginity" that it makes some women feel like if they're not virgins when they finally meet the right "right" guy that they're not worthy of him, when that's so not true. Life is about experience and learning from them. I'm not saying sex should be casual but maybe less importance should be placed on virginity. In many cultures women who aren't virgins can't even get married because they deemed "worthless". I'd like to think our society is beyond that.

    Quote Originally Posted by onlyheaven View Post
    Morrrrrrning everyone. GOODNESS Blue Coyote. I think I like you. Your last response made me laugh sssooooooooo hard Milk & cookies. How appropriate. Yes, I'm also one of those who prefer my men experienced. Nothing outrageous just more than me (there goes the double standard Karen was talking about!).

    The "V" factor sure has sparked a load of discussion. I do think it's awesome that novelists like Karen & Judith McNaught tend to write about virgins. I think it teaches our daughters, the ones we have now and the ones we'll have someday, the beauty (and thrill!) of saving themselves for the RIGHT man.

    That said, I'd really like to see less focus on actual virgins but more focus on heroines with a general sense of morals. They may not be virginal due to rape/abuse, but I'd like to see non-V heroines especially if it was by choice. Before I get a slew of responses protesting this -- think about it........

    .....How about a heroine who once truly believed in a man because she thought she loved him, gave herself to him, only to be disappointed for all men -- until the day she meets our hero?

    Non-virginal heroines can still be written to illustrate a strong sense of what feels right, learning from life's lessons, in order to find hope & true love. This type of heroine would illustrate an emotional strength of character more women can relate to and be inspired from.

    doesn't have to be virginal, but it should be pure.

  10. #39
    Deus nobiscum quis contra Conoga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onlyheaven View Post
    Morrrrrrning everyone. GOODNESS Blue Coyote. I think I like you. Your last response made me laugh sssooooooooo hard Milk & cookies. How appropriate. Yes, I'm also one of those who prefer my men experienced. Nothing outrageous just more than me (there goes the double standard Karen was talking about!).

    [B][COLOR=#000080]That said, I'd really like to see less focus on actual virgins but more focus on heroines with a general sense of morals.

    .....How about a heroine who once truly believed in a man because she thought she loved him, gave herself to him, only to be disappointed for all men -- until the day she meets our hero?


    doesn't have to be virginal, but it should be pure.
    i made it up myself, just seemed appropriate at the time (DH wanted his and thought i wouldnt mind waiting until later... "um .... No!"


    and a good example of the story you described is Karen Hawkins' "And the Bride Wore Plaid". it was a good read but a bit too predictable for ME. of course that isnt fair. who ever heard of a romance novel that wasnt easy to predict? but the course of events were just kinda blah for me. but i did like the characters involved. did i mention i'm in a book-snobby mood right now? imsorry...

    ...doing a mental inventory of all my romance novels right now....

    and i think that is the only one i have where the heroine isnt a virgin. ETA... actually there is one other.. called "The Perfect Wife" havent read it yet though.
    i feel like such a fetishist right now
    Last edited by Conoga; 05-01-2008 at 06:00 PM.

  11. #40
    Heart of a Warrior Danielle42's Avatar
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    That said, I'd really like to see less focus on actual virgins but more focus on heroines with a general sense of morals. They may not be virginal due to rape/abuse, but I'd like to see non-V heroines especially if it was by choice. Before I get a slew of responses protesting this -- think about it........

    .....How about a heroine who once truly believed in a man because she thought she loved him, gave herself to him, only to be disappointed for all men -- until the day she meets our hero?

    Non-virginal heroines can still be written to illustrate a strong sense of what feels right, learning from life's lessons, in order to find hope & true love. This type of heroine would illustrate an emotional strength of character more women can relate to and be inspired from.

    doesn't have to be virginal, but it should be pure.[/QUOTE]

    I totally agree with you on this. I like to see heroines who are not necessarily virgins but have a strong moral code and sense of self-respect that keeps them from having sex with just anyone.

    I like to think that I fell into this category when I was younger. I had sex with my boyfriend as a teenager (16 - with protection and all that), realized very quickly that it was "missing" something and then decided to wait until I found someone worth being intimate with. I didn't wait until marriage but I was cautious, self-respectful and saved sex for longer-term monogamus relationships (i.e. I dated a number of guys for 1-3 years before meeting my husband at 30).

    To be honest, now that I look back on what I just wrote, I can see how this would be a bit difficult to make into a sexy, 400-page plot

    On the virginal woman vs experienced man issue - yes, I do believe it is a double standard. However, even this staunch feminist is willing to acknowledge that men and women are very different when it comes to sex and that (some/many/not all) women bring and experience more emotion in the act than (some/many/not all) men. Therefore it bodes well for the fairer sex to be more cautious (and I'm just talking emotional "dangers" - of course there are LOTS of physical reasons to be so as well: STDs, pregnancy, date rape, etc). I can't speak for men, but from what I have seen/heard from them, I think it's fair to say that that to most sex is more of a physical act (than it is for women). Even with someone they love, it's the physical sharing that expresses the emotions, not the emotions that lead to the physical - does that make sense?

    I am concerned with the idea that virginal characters present our daughters (I'm carrying one right now so this is no longer a theoretical issue for me) with an example to follow. Virgin vs not is such a black-and-white way to present a complex personal and moral issue and seems to imply that if you make a "mistake" you're now "fallen". I hope to teach my daughter a more nuanced way to look at and experience her sexuality; one that acknowledges her curiousity and desires while teaches her the self-respect that leads to good judegment and restraint.

    Thanks everyone for all the good insights and responses - once again I am awed by the all the feminine intelligence and intution of this group!

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