Beverley Kendall on Virginity

Today we have special guest author, Beverley Kendall with us. I originally became acquainted with Bev through her historical romance work, but she has since branched out to include more contemporary New Adult *woot*. Below she tell us a bit more about the difference between the “value” of a virgin bride, then vs. now.
Virginity, undervalued or overrated?
Beverley: Not only do I now write new adult and adult contemporary romances, but I began my writing career writing historical romances. 

Now I don’t know how many of you read historical romances but in that particular romance sub-genre virginity is a highly valued commodity in a bride. I’ll also note that it is highly valued in contemporary Harlequin Presents but beyond that, not so much. 

Society has changed quite a bit in the last two centuries. At least in most developed countries. Divorce is the norm and women are waiting until they marry to have sex—men never were. Actually, 16.4 years is the average age that girls lose their virginity. Which means, Olivia, the heroine in WHEN IN PARIS… who is eighteen and still a virgin, is on the slightly older side of that average.
Olivia wouldn’t let her high school boyfriend pressure her into having sex with him and she doesn’t regret that but she does feel like she’s one of the very few in her graduating class who still has hers. Until she doesn’t. But she doesn’t give it away easily, although after she experiences it there’s no going back. To Olivia, sex is more than physical pleasure and I think she believes that the guy *cough* hero *cough* she gives it to should recognize that too. 

Isalys: So I’m going to go out on a limb here and overshare.  Sex for me has always been something incredibly personal and goes far beyond physical pleasure. It’s about a human connection and the intimacy shared between two people who deeply care for each other.  It’s about creating a special kind of connection that not just anyone can have [with you].  I kissed my fair share of boys *yes, I was a total smooch whore* but when it came to sex, I was off limits.  Until I fell in love…with the man that became my husband.  (And yes, that means exactly what you think it means. I’m on a one-guy gal!)  I have no problem with women who’ve had more than one partner, nor will I ever judge them, and I certainly don’t think a woman’s virginity should be part of her worth as a “female”.  When, where, how, and why a woman has sex is her choice!  However, because of my own personal experiences in life, I appreciate the heroine that is not so quick to give it up.

When I was in college, before my #1 came alone, I specifically remember having a conversation with a guy about exactly this.  He mentioned wanting to meet a girl who was still a virgin (at approx 18-19 yrs old) and  I remember thinking, “but what would he do with her?”  Would he be kind and patient? Would he understand why she was still a virgin or go straight to finding fault with her?

So we ask you...
What do you think: Do young men today believe that being given a girl’s virginity is something special? Or do they look at someone like our heroine Olivia, a very pretty eighteen-year-old, and wonder what’s wrong with her and why she still has it? And do your own personal experiences affect the kinds of heroes and heroines that you are most drawn to?

Beverley is giving away 3 digital copies of
WHEN IN PARIS…. Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win :)
Follow Bev on Twitter at @beverleykendall and @season4romance 
Friend Bev on Facebook at authorbeverleykendall
wheninparis_275College freshman Olivia Montgomery is thrilled at the chance to start over, escape the rumors that plagued her in high school. And she can finally put her juvenile crush, Zachary Pearson, where he belongs—in her past. Then her unrequited love strolls into her French class, shattering Olivia’s newfound peace, and the feelings she'd thought buried for good come rushing back. Now she can't shake her unwanted attraction to the one guy who can twist her stomach into knots with just a smile...but has never given her the time of day.

Zach’s good looks may have always gotten him his pick of girls, but it's the star quarterback’s skill on the football field that gives him his pick of the Big Ten colleges. To escape the crushing demands of his win-at-all-costs father, Zach opts for a private university in upstate New York where...his present and past collide. And the one girl he’s always wanted but can’t have—and a class trip to Paris—turn out to be the ultimate game changer that has him breaking every one of his rules.

  • To enter, please fill out the form below.
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  • Contest open internationally.
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  • No comment entries will be accepted.
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  1. "When, where, how, and why a woman has sex is her choice!" I love that and I totally agree. Too much pressure is put on girls to have sex as soon as they're legally allowed and it's not worth giving into pressure if you'll regret it later. And I think it's sweet that Beverley Kendall has only ever been with her husband.

    Brilliant post and the book sounds great!

    Ayana @ My Book Memoirs

  2. Hi Ayana!
    Sex has always been important. It's just our approach and openness about it that's changed over the centuries.

    Once-upon-a-timek sex was a very private issue but today it's in just about everything we see/do. Girls had sex young then because it was the norm to get married earlier and life expectancy was shorter. Now, it's glorified for entirely different reasons so the pressure for young girls to engage in sex has only increased. I felt no such pressure but that's because I'm ridiculously stubborn and NO ONE was going to force me, lol.

    And I don't know about Bev but it's me who has only been with my hubby, lol.


  3. Awesome question. I think it depends on how the woman treats her virginity and how the guy was raised.
    I definitely dislike girls and book/tv/movie characters that just toss it around like it's something awful to get rid of.

  4. I think it all depends on how a girl views what her virginity is worth but I also think it is the environment that they grow up in. As someone who waited until I has 18 to have sex I can say it is always a mixed reaction when people know that. I think guys don't think it is too weird until girls get to 20 to be honest. My friends could understand how come it didn't happen in highschool since I went to a small school. After I turned 18 and could legally drink (military overseas) and go to clubs I think it became expected to happen

  5. Hi Isalys!! Thanks so much for having me on. Smooch! Love your ammendment to my post. It basically reflects my experience and views on virginity. I actually think reading romance novels made me more particular (although not enough given I'm divorced). LOL. But I always thought of it as something not to be shared with just anyone.

  6. Hi Ayana, thanks for dropping by. :) Btw, that was Isalys who said she's only been with her husband.

  7. I don't think it's seen as being valuable any more, which is a shame.

    I agree with Juju, it's definitely how you were raised and what your own personal feeling about it is. It is after all your body.

    And waiting to save your self for someone whom you love and trust is a smart choice. Having sex means dealing with lots of hormones and feelings. Waiting until you're capable of handling them should be the norm.

  8. Great post! Virginity doesn't seem to be such a value these days. I think it's important for a girl to wait to have sex with a partner who respects her and loves her, instead of having random sex to lose her virginity.

    Thanks for the chance to win your book!

  9. Had to check this out. Great post :)
    Hm, let me think, well I do feel like it's nothing special here. Sad really. Juts get it over with. I feel that it's more a bad thing, something to get over with. And if you wait you're weird.

  10. I'll be honest: I didn't lose mine 'til I was 27.

    It had nothing to do with religion. Nor did it stem from pressure--to lose or keep it. Rather, it was out of respect for myself. I refused to be with someone that way until I was certain I was with a guy I loved and respected, and who I felt returned both of those sentiments.

    I don't think there is a wrong or right decision with regard to this issue. Rather, I feel it's a matter of having all the cards / having the knowledge necessary to make a choice that is right for YOU. Because it doesn't matter what a guy, or your parents, or the cliquey girls strutting down the halls thing. What YOU think and what YOU feel about your own sexuality should always be priority #1 in any discussion about it, especially of this nature.

    No matter what time we live in, there will always be a sexual timeline that is en vogue--virginity was the hot thing for centuries, since it allowed men the ability to assure that the children in his home were legitimately his. This was important because of how properties, inheritances, etc. were passed down. In modern times we see an increased encouragement of sexuality because (1) we have genetics stuff that can test paternity, (2) the pendulum has swung in a very opposite direction, and (3) now that men don't need the results of female virginity to stake any sort of claim, it's in their best interest to encourage women to lose it younger. You don't think as clearly, you're struggling against media and peer pressure, etc.

    My problem with all of this--past and present--is that left to its own devices, Virginity is not about a woman's choice. It's actually an idealism, a catch all phrase like "clingy", that people can throw around in different ways depending on what suits their needs. There is no honour or respect associated with it; it's a word for something that doesn't technically exist and yet that we allow ourselves to feel guilt over: whether that guilt pressures us to hold it or throw it away.

    Tell me, people: when's the last time you seriously heard virginity used as something to encourage a woman to decide, of her own accord, when SHE is ready for sex? As an ideal, I can empathize with people feeling pressure one way or another. But as someone who chose to wat while living in a society that actively pressures us to purge it like it's a disease, it really brings to mind that line from "Won't Be Fooled Again" by The Who:

    Meet the new boss,
    Same as the old boss.

    Regardless of what we're being told to do with virginity, there is a constant in that we ARE being told what to do with it, rather then being respected to make a choice right for us as individuals. Until that changes, it's the same problem with different faces, no matter how you look at it.

  11. I hate to say it, but I think the norm is to question why a girl would still be a virgin at 20. but I love a girl that is confident enough to answer that question w/out feeling she should apologize. Thanks for the great discussion.

  12. Fantastic post. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I think it depends on the values that the guy and girl have as to how virginity is perceived. Your book sounds good.

  14. I think that nowadays, guys think "what is wrong with this chick" if they know she's still a virgin. , especially if they are older. I'm going on 32 this year and still a virgin. I think, like Isalys, that sex should be more than just physical pleasure. There has to be a deeper meaning that just that. I like heroines who wait to have that special deeper meaning between her and her partner than just give it up because she thinks the guy is hot.

    Thanks so much for this post and giveaway.

  15. I was 32 years old when I lost my virginity. It was on my wedding night to my hubby. He wanted to wait till then (it wasn't easy, I'll tell you that much :) )but he thought it be very special, And it was. Had opportunity through the years but really wanted to wait for when I found that special someone I would fall in love with.

    It such a special and intimate experience; physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have no regrets.

    I have three teenagers (15 yr old beautiful daughter and 16 and 17 yr old handsome boys) and all three are virgins and wanting to wait for that special some also. They have friends who have decided not to wait and seen a lot of hurt and heartache. But they also have friends who are choosing to wait and see how happy and content they are with their decision. I think that the slowly, virginity is making a comeback.Sex is something special and to be valued as a very special experience with that special someone.

    In the end it every individuals own choice. But boy am I glad I remained a virgin for the love of my life and he valued it as a very special girl.

  16. I'm way out of the loop on the current generation of adolescents/young adults, though I have seen plenty of evidence that many of them (both sexes) are extremely casual about sex, especially by the time they're in their early twenties.

  17. I have no idea what they think, but I doubt that you would find many virgins around.


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