The romance genre is filled with virgin heroines, especially in historical romance (my headstrong heroine in SCANDAL AT THE FARMHOUSE is a virgin, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing about her). But virgin heroes are much less common, and apparently, less popular. Why?
I would love to know the answer to that question. According to the experts at TV tropes ‘it is understood that the leading male must be sexually active. A guy who has never Done It, or even just does not Do It often, is simply Not Man Enough to save the day, solve the mystery or whatever. It doesn't matter whether sexual experience is in any way relevant to the skills needed in the plot, he just has to be Man Enough so he has to have Done It and preferably Do It Regularly. That's How It Is. Don't Argue.’ Here’s the link to the whole article if you’d like to read it. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AManIsNotAVirgin
But wait – not all of us like guys who sleep around! And there has to be a first time for everyone. Some of the most successful romance novels have virgin heroes. Jamie in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander was a virgin, and so was Matthew in Anna Campbell’s Untouched. In category romance the ‘virgin hero’ theme has been done very sweetly by Anne Macallister and New Zealand’s own Susan Napier. Even in the edgy urban fantasies of paranormal writer Nalini Singh, the occasional virgin hero can be found – but I won’t reveal which book because that would be telling! There was even a hint that the irresistible Kyle in Terminator might have been a virgin - and Terminator was an action movie that found huge popularity with women. Perhaps we are not quite so faithful to the playboy hero and the Regency Rake as we used to be. Or perhaps we are more or less ‘wedded’ to our experienced heroes, but occasionally we want a brief flirtation with man who has yet to experience The Act. Are all virgin heroes beta heroes? Is ‘previous experience’ essential in an alpha male?
I am intrigued by the whole debate. I have just finished a story with a playboy hero (a World War Two fighter pilot) and it was a lot of fun, but I adore virgin heroes. I wrote about one in American Smile, and would love to ‘do’ another, if you see what I mean, but the advice out there seems to be telling me to stick to the more ‘saleable’ heroes. If you are crazy about playboys, I want to know why, and if you like virgin heroes, I would love to know more. Please leave a comment - it will help me to decide what to write next – virgin or playboy.Cody