Monday, October 11, 2010
The Virgin Hero
Perception. Perception. Perception.
And try as I may, I can’t quite see a virgin hero. The topic came up over the weekend with a fellow writer and both of us tried our best to find a way to make a virgin hero sexy and just couldn’t. However, we did decide that a virgin hero works within the M/M pairing. With that said, note that even then the hero would not technically be a virgin, but rather virginal in the sense he’s never been with another man. And that set up, of course, provides lots of layering for characterization and plotting. Bravo!
But what about M/F pairings?
Here’s where I’ve decided that I’m a female chauvinist. I don’t want to read or write a book in which the hero is painted as a virgin. There would be something really off about that to me. It just wouldn’t be sexy—and that usage is an adjective.
1. provoking or intended to provoke sexual interest: a sexy dress ; a sexy man
2. feeling sexual interest; aroused
Now certainly a virgin can feel sexually aroused. And I’m sure there is some erotica out there in which a woman “takes” a virginal man and teaches him about sex. That plot line can be very sexy. But is the hero himself sexy? For me, while reading a sex scene in which a woman pops a guy’s cherry can be very sensual and erotic, the guy himself just isn’t sexy—that story is about the sex act and the plot or sub plot of losing his virginity rather than the character, isn’t it? So I suppose it’s safe to say that I can handle a virgin hero if the story is plot-driven. But that’s not what romance is about, is it? Yes, your plot needs to be interesting and engage readers, but romance is about the romance and the characters and how they evolve—finally finding love.
My friend said, “Lots of books have heroes with flaws.” Ah ha! She said it, I didn’t. Is being a virgin a flaw? Well, I have to admit, yeah, I think so. In the case of the hero, a definite yes. And what does that make me? Biased out the ying yang—that’s what it makes me. I’m a double-standard toting female. I’m just fine with virginal heroines, but I draw the line at virginal heroes. Why? No matter how I cut it, I still see the male in the role of the aggressor. I still see him stronger, more experienced. And I’m not even sure why. I burned my bra right along with lots of other women, ya know?
So I’ve decided that it might be something deeply instinctual in me—back to the cave man days. He goes out and beats a dinosaur to death and brings it home to the little woman who discovered fire and then cooks it. Afterward, he drags her around the cave by her hair and they do the down ‘n’ dirty upside a big rock. Dayum that sounds bad of me doesn’t it?
Well, I just can’t help it. I want my men to know what they’re doing in the bedroom—or in my case, I guess, the cave. Yeah, yeah, I know. They had to get their experience some place. Just not with me or the heroines I write. Okay?
Now my friend brought up “coming of age stories”. There again, it’s plotting not romance. And I’ve recently had the privilege of editing a book in which one of the male protagonists IS a virgin—well, sort of. He’s been saving himself for one special woman. AND he’s done everything BUT penetration. So is he really a virgin? To me? No. It’s kind of like that president who said oral sex really isn’t sex. Uhmmm…okay. NOT! Sex is sex. Oral, anal, vaginal, masturbatory. But technically? You’ve got to have penetration to NOT be a virgin. I think it’s a law. LOL (But the Prez was no virgin.) So while the hero in this story that I’m editing is technically a virgin, he’s definitely had his share of sexual encounters and for me that takes away that virginal stain in my mind.
I’m not downing virgins. Glory to them. Sometimes I wish… well, no, I don’t. You get what I’m trying to say. There is nothing wrong with being a virgin. But does a virginal hero belong in romance? Possibly the sweet stuff? After all, we’ll never see him do it anyway. *snicker* Does a virginal hero have a place in erotic romance?
Here’s what I want you to do. I’m going to play big time agent today. And I want YOU to paint me a scenario in which a virginal hero works within erotic romance. Remember: It’s about the romance and sex, the characters within the story—NOT about the plot. Don’t be surprised when you get a big old rejection from me. Heck, I might even work up a form letter. LOL But I’m going to be a hard hard hard sale. I just don’t think it’s possible for a virginal hero to be sexy. And no cheating. I mentioned the book above in which the guy had done just about everything else and is only TECHNICALLY a virgin. So, paint me a real virgin. All just for fun and to keep the creative juices flowing. AND a chance to disagree with me. Go ahead. I want you to. LOL
See you next Monday…