I think it’s possible, that when I wasn’t looking, I became a prude. Yes, you heard me correctly. Sigh.
Pardon my frustration. I’m in the middle of a new work in progress and have reached a characterization impasse. And the whole reason I think I’m stuck is because of ridiculous social prejudices. You see my wolf shifter heroine, Charlotte, is a sexually savvy lady. Now please don’t get the wrong idea. She’s not an aging barfly, who’s seen everything and done everyone. She’s a lovely 25-year-old woman with a healthy appetite. She’s the sort of person who wants to sample life’s bounty and not settle down until she’s had her fill. In fact, she may not want to settle down at all.
I didn’t have an issue with this character trait until about 30,000 words into the manuscript. And then it hit me…will this character be seen as, well, too worldly?
I hate that I even thought it. After all, in this day and age, most women are not virgins when they marry. And in the world of shifters, sexual needs run rampant. However, in romance lit, there’s always been an expectation that the heroine is somewhat more innocent in the bedroom than the hero. Right? It doesn’t mean she needs to be as pure as the driven snow, but we normally expect the men to be the experienced ones. In fact, the heroines usually have a sexual awakening upon meeting these heroes. They open their eyes, you know, among other things.
And yet, I have created this woman who’s been with several men and who prefers casual relationships. Now of course, this will end once she and the hero get together, but I confess I’m worried about how she’ll be received.
Am I being silly and letting archaic ideas overrule my common sense? I would love to hear from readers and fellow authors on this. When you start a new romance, how much experience do you expect the heroine to have? Have you ever read about a heroine who’s more experienced than the hero? What did you think of her? Do you prefer a heroine who is more virginal, or do you wish romance books were finally freed of this stigma? What about when reading paranormal shape shifter books? Do you expect these characters to be more open to experimentation in the bedroom, because of their animal natures?
I would love to hear from you, and so would my heroine Charlotte. She’s feeling a little, um, dissatisfied.