Half the fun of the romance is how subversive the genre can be when it turns societal conventions on its ear. Romance is a safe place where women can explore, and embrace, their desires in a world that has largely dismissed and maligned female sexuality. No other trope does this quite the way that the virgin hero does. Throughout history a woman’s worth has been wrapped up in her hymen, and nothing screams subversive in this genre than when the shoe is on the other foot.
From its inception, Heroes & Heartbreakers has made quite a bit of hay over virgin heroes. We’ve written about virgin heroes with historical romance, science fiction romance, and swooned over Jamie Fraser (a lot!). However as much as readers love virgin heroes, we don’t seem to naturally gravitate towards them in contemporary settings.
The reason for this is largely the societal conventions the genre likes pushing up against in the first place. Contemporary virgin heroes are seen as “too unrealistic,” which leads to authors wanting to explore this theme into “explaining” why the hot, hunky hero has failed to get lucky. He’s hot, he’s hunky, why is he still a virgin? There has to be a reason! It’s an interesting phenomenon, especially given that the genre has existed for years without feeling the need to justify why the heroines are virgins. It’s OK for her, but if he’s one there must be something wrong with him. Don’t believe me? I recently took a deep dive into this issue and realized that our poor contemporary heroes get saddled with extra baggage to explain their V card.