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If Bob wants to get laid and has to choose between asking Alice, a beautiful woman with an active sex life, and Claire, a "plain" woman looking to keep her virtue for her wedding night, Bob will always choose Claire.
There's just something about virgins that seems to exude desirability, like a natural aphrodisiac that works regardless of gender. Heck, even characters who are no longer virgins can get this benefit from sincerely trying to be Chaste or Celibate because Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere (faking it is far more hit and miss).
This was a big thing in older stories, what with a "woman's virtue" and desirability being directly proportional, and part of the nobility behind a Knight in Shining Armour. The sheer number of suitors a fair and virginal princess would draw to her just from hearing her described would be staggering, bordering on So Beautiful It's a Curse.
The reasons behind this vary depending on the period of the story and the characters themselves. In early stories it's because Sex Is Evil, and virginity is a sign of purity, and thus desirability -- and also giving the man some hope of averting Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe, since it's evidence that she doesn't just sleep around. Modern stories follow the Madonna/Whore Complex: men marry the Madonna, but sleep with the Whore. There's also the bragging rights behind bedding a virgin, which would be a BIG notch in any wannabe Casanova's or rare male Vamp's belt. The assumptions here are that A Man Is Not a Virgin, and the virginal are idiots, and non-virginal women are whores. It bears repeating that this can be a gender neutral trope; when a man is a virgin, that signals to women that this guy is likely waiting for love and not just wanting a one-night stand.
Sometimes this trope comes in a more disturbing form, where the thought of defiling a virgin is a turn on in and of itself. However, it could also be thought of as a turn-on to be the first one to show someone how great sex can be. There is also the foolish idea held by some insecure people that a virgin won't know if the sex was bad, having no comparison. But of course, anyone can tell if they had an orgasm, and if they were in pain. And it's much easier to satisfy an experienced woman and keep her from being in pain than it is to do the same for a virgin (same applies to a gay man on the bottom, naturally.)
More Tropes that often go hand - in - hand with this:
- Always Lawful Good
- Can't Have Sex Ever
- Catholic School Girls Rule
- The Dulcinea Effect
- Hot Librarian
- Innocent Fanservice Girl
- Knight in Shining Armour
- My Girl Is Not a Slut
- Naughty Nuns
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased
- No Sex Allowed
- Virgin Power
- Virgin Sacrifice
- Virgin Tension
- Ethical Slut
- Good Bad Girl
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold
- My Girl Is a Slut
- Seemingly-Wholesome Fifties Girl
Do not confuse this trope with Nature Abhors a Virgin.
- Club9: Even though Haruo's generous figure and klutzy, pure-hearted charm are enough to melt the brains of her admirers, any time the men get a hint of her being a virgin...
- Averted in Sin City. Marv is the only known virgin in the series and he tends to get into a lot of trouble. In fact, the universe itself was apparently against him getting laid for a long time. He said it himself:
"Before, I wasn't even able to buy a woman, on account of the way I look."
- Still worth noting that the one time he does get laid leads directly to his death.
- In Little Annie the Goose Girl, the prince marries Annie rather than any of three princesses because she is "a maid pure and bright", where all the princesses have given birth before.
- Pick a horror film, any horror film. In fact, in lists of horror movie rules (where they present common tropes in rule form, such as "don't go into dark, empty rooms"), "Virgins live, sluts die" is one of them.
- While none of the films in the franchise may qualify as horror movies by today's standards (even if filmgoers ran from the auditoriums in terror when the first one premiered in 1933), King Kong not only adores his virgins, but he seems to prefer blondes (see also Virgin Sacrifice).
- Some horror films use an inversion of this trope, such as Cherry Falls, where virgins are specifically being killed and paradoxically the only way to stay alive is to do the naughty which leads to the awkward scenario of parents encouraging their kids to go have sex.
- Josh Hartnett trying to be a Chaste Hero in 40 Days and 40 Nights makes him the target of both lust and sabotage attempts on the part of women presumably because, should he succeed, it would prove men can be sexually independent of women and can choose to resist A Man Is Not a Virgin. That he looked like a drug addict going through withdrawal towards the end does not help matters.
- To be fair, he also wasn't masturbating at all during that time. For some guys, that is some serious withdrawal inducing stuff right there.
- In Monty Python and The Holy Grail, this goes both ways when Chaste Hero Sir Galahad finds the convent with the false grail.
- Dangerous Liaisons with Madame de Tourvel (And Cecile, though she's much easier due to Virginity Makes You Stupid). (And, consequently Cruel Intentions, which is Dangerous Liaisons IN HIGH SCHOOL!
- Though actually Cecile is an inversion, Valmont didn't want to sleep with her as it would damage his reputation to pick such a very easy target. He was only spurred on to seduce and ruin Cecile as revenge when her mother got in the way of his primary seduction (Madame de Tourvel).
- In Taken (film), the heroes daughter is pointed out early in the story to be a virgin. Being female and the daughter of the hero, she has Chastity Armor and because of this the female slavery villains who kidnap her check, find out she is a virgin (although in Real Life it isn't always so easy, even for a doctor), and hold off on raping her until after they set up a special sale for luxury virgins, which naturally gives the hero time to save her before it's too late.
- Meanwhile, the daughter's semi-slutty friend is found dead fairly early into the movie.
- Played straighter than an arrow for laughs in the play and film Reefer Madness, well, the one that wasn't made in the thirties. Mary, the token adorable little miss diabetes-inducing sweetness, is the high school sweetheart the protagonist falls for. Sally, the only woman with a libido, is the 'reefer den slut' who boasts about being in 'more laps than a napkin.' Sally can seduce the protagonist, since A Man Is Not a Virgin, ever, but only Mary can redeem him of the vile weed. Of course, one puff of the whacky tabbacy and Mary turns into a reefer slut as well. Hilarity and Death by Sex follow.
- In Kids, 15-year old Casanova Telly pursues only virgin girls. Which makes it all the more horrifying when it is discovered that he is an unknowing HIV carrier.
- In the movie version of Dragnet, Joe Friday falls for the Virgin Connie Swail (as she's almost always called) after rejecting a topless model and a stripper. Connie may also be using this trope, since she chooses Joe over his partner who is seen with several different women; it's implied Joe is a virgin himself.
Pep Streebeck: Oh Joe, you never had these feelings before, have you?
Joe Friday: Almost. I had a kitten once.
Pep Streebeck: Yeah, it's going to be a little different. Connie is not going to be sleeping in a box, or meowing all night, or clawing up your drapes. Or maybe she will. I mean, you're both kind of starting from scratch with this.
- There's an episode of Sex and the City that has Samantha lust after a Sexy Priest precisely because of this.
- A similar thing happened in Coupling with Jane falling for her Celibate Hero co-worker (who admittedly isn't a virgin but has renounced premarital sex for religious reasons).
- In the Dharma & Greg episode "The Second Coming of Leonard," Dharma's old boyfriend, Leonard, returns from India where he has lived his life completely celibate since the last night he and Dharma spent together. Leonard's celibacy, contrasted by his intimate knowledge of Tantric Sex, is the subject of the majority of the humor in the episode. The entire cast of the show (including Greg at the end) seems to be attracted to Leonard, who receives several sexual advances from Jane.
- Averted in at least one episode of Law and Order SVU. A high-school Casanova, who is accused of raping a girl, claims outright that he doesn't have sex with virgins, saying that since losing their virginity is such a big deal for most teenagers, he doesn't want the emotional baggage that comes along with it.
- In William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus Tamora's sons Chiron and Demetrius are attracted to Lavinia precisely because she's a virgin. Originally, they wanted to seduce her and were fighting each other to see which brother would do it, and with some revenging getting in the middle of things they end up raping her over her newlywed husband's corpse, cutting out her tongue, cutting off her hands (so she could neither speak nor write her attackers' names), and framing her brothers for the deed, resulting in their execution.
- Inverted in A Little Night Music, where Fredrik leaves his still-virginal wife for Desiree.
- Or doubly played straight depending on how to see it: said virginal wife, for her part, leaves Fredrik for his stepson, who is not only a virgin himself, but was planning to become a missionary before Anne got to him.
- In The Music Man, Harold Hill expresses his preference for "The Sadder But Wiser Girl", but in the end it's the nice girl he falls in love with.
- Although, for most of the plotline, Harold Hill thought that Marion 'was' a "Sadder but Wiser Girl".
- In the novel Outlander (Cross Stitch in the UK, for some reason) the main love interest, Jamie, is a virgin until his wedding night-- seemingly a pleasant state of affairs for the older, previously-married heroine. This might have been an intentional subversion of the romance novel staple of the rakehell romantic hero and the virginal, innocent heroine, as neither of them are precisely innocent despite it. (There's also an incredibly squicky possibility that this same perceived innocence is the same reason the main villain wanted to have sex with him when he was sixteen, and was willing to set Claire free in exchange for torture and rape later on. Nngh. Whimper.)
- Older Than Dirt: In the Epic of Gilgamesh, animals had no fear of the Wild Man Enkidu until he slept with a woman (after which they avoided him).
- In The Dresden Files Book 9, White Night, Lara Raith (a sex vampire/succubus) is instantly driven to feed on young wizard Carlos Ramirez when she realizes that he is a virgin. He deflects her advances and his own supernaturally-fanned lust with some quick thinking, and Lara warns Harry (he and Ramirez being her protected guests) that virgins are extremely attractive to her kind and Ramirez should stay away from her kin, as they may not be able to control themselves around him. This revelation is particularly humiliating for Ramirez, who had made it a point to brag long and hard about his sexual conquests and prowess, and particularly amusing for Harry.
- Kingdom of Loathing subverts this: "While unicorns will lay their heads in the laps of virgins, uniclopses will settle for a girl who doesn't go past second base on the first date."