Posted in: Uncategorized, willaful
Tags:paranormal romance, sex, virginity
Paranormal romance is the home of the hyper-masculinized hero. They’re bigger than mere men. Broader. Immortal. And I’m not just talking about their erections. But this is okay, because the Hyper-Masculinized Paranormal Hero is generally paired with the Kick-Ass Paranormal Heroine. She’s tough. She’s ruthless when necessary. She knows what she wants and goes after it. She wear tight, sexy clothing and has been around the block a few times. Or wait… has she?
I’ve been noticing something odd in the paranormal romances I’ve been reading. The oversexed heroes are being paired with women who are — or rather, were til they met the overpowering hero — anything but.
This first became obvious to me when I read a number of Larissa Ione’s books is fairly rapid succession. (And just to be clear, this was because I really enjoyed them.) At some point I lost count, but before that my mental score was:
2 mystically enforced virgins (plus, to be fair, 1 such virgin male)
1 seemingly slutty surprise!-saving-it-for-the-right-guy virgin
3 gently used heroines
and 1 sexually experienced heroine who is forced to have sex because she’s a sex demon.
Gently-used heroine, an awesome phrase I stole from “JMM” at “All About Romance,” describes the heroine who has
1) only had sex with at most two other men and
2) never really enjoyed it
It’s a way of coping with the fact that virgin heroines in a modern contemporary romance seem a little ridiculous. But it’s become so obvious and ubiquitous a ploy, it comes off as even more ridiculous. One of the most unintentionally hilarious things I ever read was the plot contortions Robyn Carr when through to make her exotic dancer heroine, who has two children by two different men, and was married to a third, into a gently-used heroine.
Reading Ione brought back memories of reading Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, in which every hero is taller, broader, and better hung than the last, and every heroine is a virgin — complete with lovingly detailed hymen-breaking scenes. At least two of those are done by hero’s fingers, if memory serves.
Moning also came to mind when recently reading a Kresley Cole book, one of at least three of hers I’ve read with “technical” virgin heroines. If I recall correctly, two were of the highly convenient mystical can’t-lose-intercourse-virginity-but-can-fool-around-as-much-as-possible-without-breaking-the-rules variety. The most recent set-up really made me groan: the heroine believably never had intercourse because of pregnancy fears, but despite being a very lusty gal, she’s never even tried oral sex. And — surprise, surprise! — despite her habit of dry-humping dudes, she still has a hymen and gets a finger-lickin’-good digital deflowering.
What is up with this? These dudes they’re paired with are unstoppable. Shouldn’t they have the cojones to deal with the fact that their mates had some good times with mere mortals before they came along?
Of course, the gently used heroine, et. al. is not limited to paranormal romance; statistically speaking, I wouldn’t be surprised if paranormal romance has more sexually experienced heroines than any other romance subgenre. It’s the incongruity that makes it really stand out in these instances, as well as the way the authors seem to be trying to both get credit for having sexually experienced heroines and still maintain the pure heroine status quo.