In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,
Blew meager Hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magick chains at curfeu time,
No goblin, or swart faery of the mine,
Hath hurtfull power o're true virginity."
So you've got your hands on a spiffy, brand new bunch of Applied Phlebotinum. It will do anything. Launch psychic fireballs, generate matter out of nothing, lay waste to entire towns, fulfill your fondest desires, and let your cat out every evening before bedtime.
There's only one catch: the person using it has to be that rarest of all rarities in a normal, functioning, sex-obsessed adult society.
And by female virgin, we generally mean a sweet, young (but adult), beautiful, innocent, passive, wholesome virgin. The Action Girl is treated as something of a subversion, as is an actual prepubescent child, a not-so-conventionally-attractive young woman, and the sour-tempered and ancient Old Maid is always played as if it were a subversion.
And just why would someone need to be a virgin to have access to a special power? Most likely because being a virgin is a generally recognized sign of moral purity. When played completely straight, this trope associates (female) virginity with moral purity and implies a MadonnaWhore Complex; because of this, more modern invocations of this trope specify that it is merely a magical rule or the preference of a particular divinity rather than a value judgment.
Sometimes this ideal of purity can be subverted by having the virgin user of the Applied Phlebotinum be morally reprehensible in every other aspect of her life, or even be a villainess instead of a heroine.
One of most common forms of Virgin Power is that unicorns will only approach virgins (or, at the very least, will not flee from them).
If the user of the Virgin Power is the hero's girlfriend, you can expect this situation to create a lot of dramatic tension between the lovers, as they fight the temptation to do the one thing which will render her powers useless. Also, you can expect the villains to try to "relieve" the user of her virginity via rape (even when just killing her from a distance would be the safer and faster option, unless the power in question doesn't allow for this). It may be part of the virgin's powers to overcome The Power of Lust, never giving in to the temptation to have sex.
Eunuchs Are Evil can be a villainous version, if such a character has special powers that come with the position, although most eunuchs are not celibate by choice (and in some cases, sex may still be possible after castration). Contrast Deus Sex Machina. Beware Virgin Sacrifice. Tends to cause Virgin Tension. A Sub-Trope of Conditional Powers. Virgin Vision is not related to this trope, regardless of how it sounds. The inverse is Sex Magic, which is magic powered by having sex.
- Fushigi Yuugi had both Miaka and Yui's powers tied to their respective virginities. Of course, the series milked the romantic tension this generated for all that it was worth. Both girls underwent rape-related subplots as well: Yui was not aware her power was based on virginity, which let her believe she had been raped when she was unconscious. Unknown to her, she was rescued before anything happened to her. Unfortunately, her rescuer used her state of trauma to manipulate her for his own purposes.
- Please Save My Earth - the Kiches Sarjalian, who can talk and sing to plants, lose their powers upon losing their virginity. Lots of sexual tension. Subverted when Moku Ren keeps her powers even after she's raped by Shion, which causes a huge misunderstanding that's the reveal behind the entire plot. Mokuren is a special case though, all other Kiches Sarjalians, including her parents, really do lose their power once they aren't virgins. And yes, there are male virgins with special powers too (rare as they are)!
- Devil Hunter Yohko features a heroine who must remain a virgin until she gains her powers. (Her mother was unable to fight temptation and thus, could not become a demon hunter.) Interestingly, once Yohko gained her powers, she no longer needed to remain chaste, as her greatgrandchild-wanting grandmother hastily and happily informed her. A later episode make it waffle on whether or not she has to maintain her virginity after all. After this change, the monsters change from trying to rape her to killing all her boyfriends, to prevent another generation.
- My-Otome: The Nanomachines that power the Otomes become worthless if they have sex through some convoluted biochemical reaction.note While this is moot for some characters who choose their powers over relationships or some who do otherwise (Akane and Kazuya seem adamant about getting together, although they comically never succeed) it's a bit of Fridge Logic why they couldn't just use protection (if the condom breaks... Yikes!). Interestingly, it's only heterosexual sex that depowers Otomes (probably for the same reason males cannot become Otomes, even if they're virgins). So in other words, lesbian sex would be totally alright. Talk about excuses for Situational Sexuality!
- Phantom Thief Jeanne:
- Maron's powers follow this trope right down to the rape assault by a major villain however it subverts it in the end by revealing that Maron can indeed use her powers after being deflowered, because her soul is still 'pure'.
- This also comes up when Jeanne travels back in time and meets herself in a previous life as Joan of Arc. She tries to help Joan escape from being burned at the stake but Joan cannot become Jeanne anymore because she'd already been raped.
- Animerica: Janine truly believes that kissing is the ultimate form of showing one's true love for another... Too bad she gets raped by the Big Bad afterwards...
- Slayers: Mentioned, but averted. At one point, Lina Inverse says that it's a common myth that if a sorceress loses her virginity during her menstrual period, when her powers are the weakest, she'll lose her powers forever. She then says that this is an untrue myth in the next sentence.
- In X1999, Arashi Kishuu loses the power to summon her Cool Sword after she loses her virginity to her boyfriend, fellow Dragon of Heaven Sorata Arisugawa. Also, it's pointed out in the CD dramas that Arashi's Missing Mom went through the same process.
- In both the manga and OVA versions virgins drained by a vampire become vampires themselves, while non-virgins are turned into mindless zombie-like ghouls (though it becomes a plot-point when even children and other obvious virgins are found as ghouls instead of vampires). This is why, in the first chapter/episode, Alucard asks if Seras is a virgin before...
- Also, some characters remark that virgin blood tastes better; at one point, the Big Bad asks that the first paratrooper to land in the final battle be given virgin blood as a reward.
- Bastard!! (1988):
- The only way to transform young and meek Rushe Ren-Ren into his other self, the ultra powerful (and ultra perverted) Dark Schneider, is to perform the "Accept" spell, where a young virgin kisses him. Usually, this is his best friend Yoko. When it doesn't appear to be working the first time they tried it, Yoko's father asks whether she really is one, and is met with a thrown shoe and an assurance that "This girl's chastity is a hun- eighty percent perfect." It does kick in a few seconds later, so maybe she has a point...
- When a vampire decides to feed on the captured Princess' guardian maidens, he notices by taste that one of them was not a maiden after all.
- In Destiny of the Shrine Maiden Himeko Kurusugawa and Chikane Himemiya are virgins until Chikane rapes Himeko. The point of which in the anime was as part her Strike Me Down plan to make Himeko kill her but in the manga it was meant to remove her powers through the loss of her purity, thus making her worthless as a sacrifice to the Orochi, but it's subverted by the use of Himeko's hymen-blood to revive Ame No Murakumo, since that blood is technically pure.
- Koe de Oshigoto! has a particularly ironic example, as virgins make the best eroge voice actors, because sex in real life is nothing like its portrayal in games. Fumika is not happy about her lack of hands-on experience.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex uses this in 2nd GIG when it's revealed that Gohda created the Individual Eleven memetic virus, and made it only affect those who were virgins before being fully cyberized. Suddenly everything makes sense.
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Inverted. The last sign that Panty lost her angelic powers is that her hymen grew back, regaining her virginity. She gets her powers back when she has sex with Brief, breaking her hymen.
- Maria the Virgin Witch: Not initially, but the Archangel Michael becomes fed up with Maria interfering in battles of The Hundred Years War and, in addition to forcing an angelic minder upon her to keep her from doing it again, curses her to lose her magic permanently if she ever loses her virginity.
- In the hentai Bible Black a particular ritual performed by a cult was supposed to require a Virgin Sacrifice. Unfortunately the leader of said cult didn't watch her cronies closely enough and they raped the poor girl, which is implied to be the reason the ritual went horribly wrong. When Kitami, who was the victim the first time around tries the ritual again years later she doesn't make the same mistake and gives her chosen sacrifice a chastity belt to prevent this from happening again.
- Unlimited Fafnir: D's lose their powers in one of two ways: Aging to 20 or so and pregnancy. The closest we've seen to the former is Haruka Shinomiya who was a D and has since lost her powers and Kili Surtr Muspelheim who is at most in her late teens and nearing that point before Yuu makes her his "mate", which leaves her control of dark matter in the future uncertain. No pregnancy related loss of powers have been shown so far.
- In the hentai La Blue Girl, in a rare male example, semen from a virgin can be used with a particular spell (and consumed) to get the kunoichi that uses it to the Shikima realm. (No word on whether or not a male ninja could use this technique with another male, or by consuming the vaginal secretions of a female virgin.)
- Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Only "pure" girls can become Heroes. It's never elaborated what exactly "pure" means, whether it be "pure hearted" or what. Only elementary and secondary school aged girls are shown as Heroes.
- Speed Grapher: Kagura Tennozu, the female protagonist, has to be chaste and pure to develop Euphoria virus/powers as "The Goddess". During the time she's a captive of Suitengu and the Tennozu Group (before and after being rescued by Saiga), she's given chemical substances to delay her growth and postpone her first menstruation, which will result in the loss of her powers (presumably because once puberty happens she'll have sex).
- That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: As Satoru Mikami is dying, he notes that being a 37-year-old virgin should make him comparable to some sort of saint or "great sage". Because he was unknowingly giving requests to what skills and abilities his future reincarnation would have, he ended up gaining the skill "Great Sage", which acts like a magical Benevolent A.I. that assists him in all aspects of his new life as the slime Rimuru Tempest, analyzing his surroundings, offering possible solutions to the problems he encounters, and explaining the mechanics of his skills and the basics of the world.
- Moyashimon: Discussed when it's mentioned that, for all they know, Sawaki can lose his life-long ability to see microbes if he loses his virginity. After Sawaki is kissed by Kei, he temporarily loses his ability. This is actually subverted. The kiss has nothing to do with the issue. Kei just occasionally stops being able to see microbes for some unknown reason.
- Bladedance of Elementalers: Elementalists have to be young, pure maidens; their powers to control spirits disappear along with their purity. The exceptions are the protagonist Kamito Kazehaya and the Demon King. Kamito is able to contract with spirits because he is the reincarnation of the Demon King.
- Paranoia Cage: Played for laughs. When Mizuki's editor and crush Kyousuke proposes to her to quell online rumors that she only got her job because of a Casting Couch situation, she initially turns him down. While thrilled by the prospect of getting some, she's afraid that actually having sex would cost her the ability to draw hentai (since she'd subconsciously start changing her work to match her personal experiences rather than her current fantastical style).
- Goblin Slayer: The miracle Resurrection needs a virgin present in order to be used. Since Sword Maiden was raped by goblins, she cannot cast it by herself, but she can cast it if Priestess, who is a virgin, is present.
- Overlord (2012): Bicorns are the opposite of unicorns. They cannot be ridden by anyone who is a virgin. Albedo is a succubus but cannot ride her bicorn because she is a video game NPC brought to life and so has never had sex, to her embarrassment.
- The Darkness series has this to a certain extent. While Jackie was not a virgin before his 21st birthday, he later learned that having sex with a woman would kill him, because the Darkness (and his life by extension) would leave once his sperm fertilized an egg. It should be noted that this revelation caused him almost as much distress as the people who were trying to kill him when he found out. There is, however, a loophole; the Darkness itself possesses him and rapes the comatose Sara Pezzini, bearer of half of the Witchblade. The NSFW art◊ implies that they or their... riders were both conscious of it on some level, but still. Please note that neither Jackie nor Sara has any memory of the conception.
- The last arc of JSA before its reboot got a certain amount of use out of Courtney Whitmore (Stargirl) being a virgin — more specifically, it meant she was unaffectable by the ghost villains the team had to deal with that week. Oddly, this story wasn't written by Geoff Johns, the character's creator who based her on his little sister — it had more to do with her being the only teenage girl on a team consisting mostly of adult males. Interestingly, the only teenage male on the team did not have the same advantage...
- For Alpha Flight member Snowbird, losing her virginity had mixed results. She lost her immortality and, for a time, the blessing of her family, but she gained the ability to leave Canada's borders without ill effect and could change into any animal rather than just those native to the North. She herself didn't think much of the benefits for a very long time, but her teammates did, as they previously had to do without her power whenever a mission took them away from Canada.
- In the French comics series "Epic of the Dragon Knights" (la geste des chevaliers dragons). In that world, dragons turn any creature that gets close to them into a crazy monster. The only people not affected by this evil power are virgin women. So, the knights' order specially set up to kill dragons is only female, with Action Girl virgins.
- Lampshaded in Top 10: The Forty-Niners, where an officer is grousing about how the whole thing is just a ploy by the heroines.
- Variant in Empowered — the "Seiseiryoku-henkan-sentou no jutsu" transforms sexual frustration into fighting power.
- In Le Collège Invisible, only "pure maidens" are immune to Dragons'/Great Destroyers' zombification aura. Well, pure maidens and Néga-mages, the latter also protecting nearby allies.
- Subverted in the post-Crisis version of Wonder Woman's Arch-Enemy Cheetah. Barbara Ann Minerva gained cheetah powers and immortality from an ancient ritual that made her the avatar of the Fertility God Urzkartaga, becoming his champion and bride. But Urzkartaga was a jealous and petty god who did not like the fact that his bride wasn't a virgin, so he cursed her to be weak and frail in human form, while her Cheetah form was unaffected.
- In the Italian graphic novel Venerdì 12, Aldo can break the curse that turned him into a monster either by finding someone who can love him in spite of his monstruosity or by spilling the blood of a virgin woman. Problem is, there's not a single virgin in town (aside for him and Judah's sister. Who raped him when he tried to kill her), he's stuck with trying to find love in spite of being incredibly ugly.
- In The Problem with Purity any witch or wizard who's still a virgin at the age of seventeen becomes a "Pure Adult" and they and their first sexual partner receive a power boost immediately after copulation. Also, only a Pure Adult can have a magical animal as their Animagus form.
- In Emancipation it's impossible for a virgin witch or wizard to be raped or molested. Virginity has to be given up willingly or not at all.
- A Brighter Dark: In order to cast a hex that will spread disease among the Chevois rebels, Odin needs, among other things, the tears of a maiden. This leads to the amusing revelation that Felicia is not a virgin.
- Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead: Not for the virgin themselves, but drinking the blood of one grants a temporary but massive power boost to vampires.
- In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld Tarot chapter The Ace of Swords, there is a different twist on this trope. Miss Alice Band is able to tame a rogue unicorn where others have failed, despite being sexually experienced. The reason Alice gets away with it is that her sexual experience is only with other women. She still technically qualifies as a maiden, unsullied by contact with men, and therefore fully meets the strict specification for unicorn-wrangling - because she has never had contact with men. It is possible that while the unicorn was trying to make its mind up as to whether she qualified, she got a silver-ornamented bridle over its head and settled the question definitively.
- Conan the Destroyer had a princess whose virginity was apparently necessary for her to handle a sacred relic without harm. (Of course, the real reason she needed to remain pure was so that, at the end of the movie, she could become a Virgin Sacrifice to the god to whom the relic belonged.)
- Red Sonja got powers bestowed on her by the goddess Scáthach. With the rule that she'd lose them if she slept with a man who hadn't beaten her in fair combat.
- Subverted in the movie Kull the Conqueror. The hero's non-virgin love interest needs a god to grant her the power to destroy the Big Bad. She knows gods usually don't hand that kind of power to non-virgins, so she asks the god to give it to her anyway, since her intentions are pure at least. The god generously obliges. It perhaps helped she lost her virginity as a price (yep, the old king was one dirty ol' bastard) for letting her brother free (he was to be executed for heresy), and not by just screwing around.
- In the James Bond film Live and Let Die, Solitaire's fortune-telling ability is linked to her virginity. Bond relieves her of both, which caused some controversy among the audience (especially as he tricks her into it).
- Virginity seems to be a requirement for the sorcerers that serves the King in the movie The Scorpion King ... but at the end of the movie the sorceress informs the title character that it was simply an effective way of getting their masters to keep their hands off.
- Played with heavily Hocus Pocus. The candle that will bring the witches back to life can be lit only by a virgin. Once everything's been set right in the end, the ghost Thackery and his waiting sister Emily walk towards the afterlife casually conversing about what on earth took him so long. Thackery coyly replies that he had to wait three centuries for a virgin to come along and break the curse. It's especially funny because the virgin who lit the candle WAS A DUDE... who didn't want to be a virgin. The entire film has characters commenting on "this poor guy, still being a virgin." How many 8-year-olds didn't get that joke the first time around?
- Once Bitten: Inverted. The male lead needs to lose his virginity to protect himself from the vampiress. He just barely "makes it" in time. But he didn't have time to enjoy it, which is probably why they went right back to it at the end.
- The Monster Squad has an amulet that, through the reading of a magic spell that works only if the reader is a virgin, blows a hole in Limbo to suck the monsters into it. Dracula wants the amulet because every hundred years, the amulet becomes vulnerable enough that it can be shattered. The titular bunch of kids first try it out with Patrick's sister, only to find out that she's not a virgin because of a one-night stand, so they have to have Sean's sister, five-year-old Phoebe, read through the spell with the help of Scary German Guy.
- In Birth Rite, Rebecca, a virgin, has to have sex with a warlock in order to gain her "birth rite" as the grand dame, but can't have sex with anyone else, to avoid becoming impure. She does have sex with her adopted brother, and then kills him in order to rectify her sin.
- The Mistress Of Spices: Subverted. A woman from India with the power to use magical spices is forbidden to touch any of her customers (including making love to them). She violates the rule by falling in love with a man and is punished by the spices for doing so, so she atones by setting herself and her spices on fire. She survives, and learns that because she was willing give up everything for the spices, she no longer has to follow the rules.
- Subverted in Jennifer's Body. The ritual is supposed to be performed on a virgin, and Jennifer is, well, not.
- Friday the 13th: It seems that an innocent, virginal girl has a much better chance of surviving than anyone else. With a few exceptions (Megan in the sixth movie, Jessica in the ninth, and maybe Ginny in the second), the Final Girl has always qualified.
- The Final Girls, as a parody of slasher movies, has virginity as a plot device since only a virgin gets to be the Final Girl who kills the villain.
- Chastity Bites has Countess Elizabeth Báthory be a modern day abstinence counselor in a high school so she can select and kill Virgins to stay young.
- In Embrace of the Vampire (2013), a vampire who drinks the blood of a virgin from the bloodline that created him will be restored to their original human form. the virgin, however, will be damned to Hell for eternity.
- Mythica: Ana-Sett takes away Teela's powers as punishment once she finally has sex with Thane, since chastity was part of her role as priestess. They're restored though when Teela makes a sacrifice.
- Every Action Girl in The Faerie Queene is also a virgin, who conveniently comes across a sorcerer or monster (representing various lusts) who can be defeated only by a virgin. Of course a poem written in honor of Elizabeth I, aka The Virgin Queen of England, would be populated with ass-kicking virgins!
- Older Than Print: The 12th century epic poem Nibelungenlied has the character Brunhild, Queen of Iceland, whose virginity gives her superhuman strength (she can throw 22 metres a boulder that takes 12 men to lift).
- Incarnations of Immortality:
- Played with in On a Pale Horse when Luna, despite having been the victim of Mind Rape and soul tarnishing by a demon, is still technically a physical virgin, so she is acceptable food for a hungry dragoness. (In this case it's because of a dragon, centuries before, eating someone that happened to have an STD that crossed over and devastated the dragon population; they became a bit more picky after that.)
- In For Love of Evil when Parry (a young sorcerer) is about to marry Jolie (a stunning, brilliant woman due to her ability and Parry's training), someone drives a unicorn into the bridal party, but Jolie is able to call and touch the unicorn, proving she is still a virgin (and stunning her father and the entire town).
- In Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger:
- A young girl is hired by some bandits to lure out a unicorn stallion, who is entirely unaffected (beyond being friendly and protective towards her, at any rate) because he's gay.
- The protagonists rescue a Distressed Damsel from pirates, only to get captured by a tribe of morbidly-obese fairies. The fairies claim that bathing in a virgin's blood is a possible cure for their condition, but their plan is scuttled when the girl, upon hearing their intentions, collapses in a fit of uncontrollable, pants-wetting laughter.
- In Caroline Stevermer's A Scholar of Magics, the Agincourt Device, which can turn people into animals, doesn't work on virgins — one of whom, the viewpoint character and undoubted hero, is a very adult man.
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
- Wizards are expected to remain celibate, because they believe sex messes with their powers. There is the suggestion that performing powerful magic is just as much fun as orgasm. The book Sourcery reveals the true reason — every male child of a wizard is a born a wizard and the eighth male child born to a wizard is a "sourceror" (a wizard "squared"), with very bad results for the Discworld as a whole. Luckily, wizards are generally the kind of geeks who would have difficulty attracting women anyway. (As the Discworld Companion puts it, if magic cared whether or not you're a virgin, Nanny Ogg would be a washerwoman.)
- Discworld also plays with the unicorn myth. Granny Weatherwax demonstrates that the virgin need not be young or innocent.
- Many of the Disc's religions have Vestal Virgins. Parodied in some books with references to "Vestigial Virgins", described in the Companion as being defined by "a suggestion that whatever the body has done, the mind has remained more or less uninfluenced by it".
- The Dresden Files:
- Played with in the case of Warden Ramirez. He constantly plays himself as a great ladies' man, to Harry's annoyance. However, when they work with Lara of the White Court (think vampire succubus who feeds on sex), she looks at Ramirez, smiles and says "Oh, you've brought me a treat", since she is clearly detecting his virginity. Virgins are apparently the tastiest sex food for them.
- In the short story "Heorot", the grendelkin kidnaps a young virginal bride with the intention of impregnating her. According to Gard, such creatures are an all-male species that can't reproduce except with virgin women.
- Referenced and ultimately averted in Summer Knight when they run into a unicorns: Harry mentions that they are attracted to purity, not virginity, so one of the other characters has to distract it by holding its attention and concentrating on keeping her mind blank and clear so it doesn't attack.
- Frostflower and Thorn features a society of sorcerers who believe they can work magic only if they're virgins. This applies to women and men alike. (They tend to adopt a lot.) However, Frostflower the sorceress survives a rape without losing her powers, which suggests that this particular teaching is at least oversimplified.
- Darkover: Only virgin women can harness maximum psychic powers and become "Keepers", basically by not channeling their energy into sex, they have far more psychic power available. In the darker days some Keepers were psychologically and even physically castrated so they could not engage in or even think about sex even if they wanted to. Psychological blocks against sexual activity are actually major plot points in at least two of the Darkover books. (But that probably a different trope.) A lot of the problem was cultural; an almost religious importance was attached to the idea of the Keepers as sexless virgins, and more than one person died for saying that it didn't have to be that way.
- In Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East and Swords series, some wizards, both male and female, lose some or all of their power if they lose their virginity. Many do not, and, indeed, some are quite promiscuous with no ill effects, but there is no explanation of why some do and some don't.
- More specifically, in The Second Book of Swords, Doon and Mitspieler are very intent on Ariane maintaining her virginity, because they plan on sacrificing her to a demon.
- And in The Third Book of Swords, Kristin gives up her virginity to save Mark from his poisoned wound.
- However, in the Books of Lost Swords, it's suggested that for most forms of magic, the connection between power and virginity is the same as between any other skill and virginity: the student is more likely to be successful in picking up the skill if they spend most of their time focusing on their studies instead of their love lives.
- Witch World: Everyone believes that the witches lose their powers with their virginity, and it's proven to be true (one of the nastier enemies of the witches rapes the ones he catches for that very reason). However, most of the main female characters end up keeping their powers, even through several children. The books never address it explicitly, but all the cases where the woman keeps her powers has her having sex with a man who also has powers (unheard of in the land where the early books occur) and in at least some cases, their powers ended up somehow linked. The sole exception being Elys. Jervon explicitly does not have any sort of magical power, which is what caused half the trouble in Songsmith. Gillan may also be an exception, considering the kind of power her husband has. Consensuality may have something to do with it, as may the expectation that you will lose your powers.
- Mad Merlin: Guinevere has healing powers for which she must remain chaste. Three guesses as to how that turns out.
- One for the Morning Glory: The goblin queen claims the goblins have raped a captive maiden. Gorlias says that would be impossible: trying to rape a pure maiden would have destroyed them.
- Poul Anderson:
- In A Midsummer Tempest, Prince Rupert is forced to bring Jennifer with him to a battlefield because he is traveling by magic, and the presence of a virgin is the only thing allowing the spell to be strong enough to travel that way.
- In Operation Chaos, Virginia had developed the magics that went with being a virgin. After her marriage, she had to retool her skills.
- The Larry Niven story The Flight of the Horse (AKA Get a Horse). Time traveler Hanville Svetz is sent from the distant future (when Earth has been thoroughly ruined and most animals have gone extinct) to acquire a horse from the past, but can only find one with a horn, owned by a young girl. Everything Svetz knows about a horse's appearance comes from a single picture he saw in a book, and he speculates that maybe it's normal for horses to be born with horns but it's common practice for humans to remove them for safety reasons if the horse is going to be used for physical labor. He buys the "horse" and takes it home where the only person who can handle it is "that frigid bitch Zera."
- Books Of The Kingdom: Played very straight. The second book in particular focuses mostly on Wynett and Kedryn and the fact that they cannot be together unless Wynett gives up her powers.
- Gomez by Cyril Kornbluth: a young Puerto Rican maths/physics genius described as a 'second Ramanujan' is discovered in New York. He winds up in a super-secret research project that has been going nowhere, and comes up with a physical theory that implies the ability to create a super-weapon so deadly that he's horrified. The narrator, a sympathetic reporter, all but abducts the thoroughly stressed-out Gomez for a forced vacation; out of his sight, Gomez sneaks across a state line and marries his girlfriend. When he returns, his mathematical ability is (he claims) gone: he admits, with an glance at his (literally) blushing bride, that he now can't think about math at all.
- Stephen King:
- In "The Mangler", blood from a virgin falling into a industrial laundry's speed ironer and folder, combined with some other things causes the machine to be possessed by a demon.
- The Stand: Randall Flagg psychically forbids Nadine from having vaginal intercourse until she can join him and he can impregnate her. This doesn't stop her from fooling around with Harold every other way the pair can think of, so whether that's Virgin Power or just Flagg not wanting her to get pregnant by someone else first is unclear.
- Land Of Mist And Snow: Columbia Abrams can act as a Barrier Maiden because of her virginity. Being an abolitionist, she doesn't on the whole approve of the imprisonment. And at the climax, she tells the hero of the story that their only safety is freeing it. Whereupon he, having just become captain, declares them husband and wife, and they set up freeing it.
- The Still: The king can commune with his ancestors, which he uses to good effect to help run the country. The catch? He has to be a virgin. Unfortunately, the protagonist is a typically horny teenager. Apparently, however, having sex with his male best friend doesn't "count" when it comes to losing virginity.
- Everworld has a subversion of the idea that all girls are virgins. When they first see the Greek Goddess of virginity, Dionysus says to April "she'd like you." After a moment, he says the same thing to Jalil. At one point they also see a unicorn in the distance, and Christopher jokingly suggests that April wouldn't be able to attract it if she tried. April (who's very religious and, we later learn, explicitly waiting for marriage) tells him not to believe every rumor circulating around their school.
- A short story alternate history features a psychic girl who helps the Nazis win WWII. After she runs away, meets the hero and they both get captured and taken back to Berlin, she asks him to "depower" her. Also subverted, as it implies this will have no effect on her powers but the fact that the Nazis believe her powers have been neutralised is enough.
- Mabinogion: King Math cannot live unless he's either at war or has his feet in the lap of a virgin. Then Math's nephew Gilvaethwy gets the hots for the girl so his big brother Gwydion arranges a war to get Math out of the way. But the foot holder, Goewin, doesn't think Gilvaethwy is worth losing her job over so he rapes her. Against both princes' expectation Goewin confesses all to Math who comforts her, promises to make her his queen and then sets out to avenge both their wrongs on his unhappy nephews.
- An odd double subversion happens in Juanita Coulson's The Web of Wizardry: Spellcastersof at least a certain traditionare strongly encouraged (but not necessarily required) to be chaste. However, when the hero and his witch love interest start having sex, it doesn't appear to affect her powers. Lira does start slipping a bit towards the end of the book...but finally, she informs Danaer that this isn't because sex puts a strain on witches' magical ability; it's because pregnancy does. It's implied that she'll regain at least some of her power after the birth.
- In the Lisa Shearin novel The Trouble With Demons, Raine learns that a certain magical knife can only be located by a virgin. There turns out to not be all that many in the area, seeing as she's on a college campus. Especially since everyone knows that there are demons loose, and they'd all heard the rumors that demons went after virgins, and removed the risk to themselves in the most direct manner possible (This turns out to be pointless from a demon protection perspective - the demonology professor flatly states that even those demons that do care about virginity will still eat non-virgins if nothing else is available, and most of them will just eat anybody).
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, one place where William Shakespeare diverged from fact is having Miranda married. She would have forfeited her virginity based powers.
- In George Eliot's Silly Novels by Lady Novelists, she complains of a work supposed to be instructive because "the heroine [is] a Roman vestal".
- In The Peshawar Lancers universe, seers can only see the future while virgins. The thing is, eventually they start seeing the future constantly, driving them mad. The seer traveling with the hero eventually ends up begging the hero to take her virginity so that the visions will stop.
- Sort of inverted in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series where the main character is a wizard and a virgin, and notes only after spending and permanently losing his powers that he never felt so much as horny while being a wizard. Apparently the two are linked inversely in his case. Other characters however have no trouble being both wizards and married. Sorcerers can be married or otherwise not celibate, but wizards can't. The magical hierarchy in Earthsea goes Witches<Sorcerers<Wizards<Mages. The first two needn't be celibate, but it's a requirement for the second two. Ged, being a mage, is celibate and almost certainly a virgin that is, until the end of Tehanu, but at that point he's not a mage anymore. It's implied in Tehanu that wizards use spells to suppress their sex drive in order to keep it from being a problem.
- Hinted at in C. S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader — it is a children's book, after all, but we are assured that "my little girl, she says the spell, for it's got to be a little girl or else the magician himself, if you see my meaning, for otherwise it won't work." Since Lucy qualifies, it doesn't mean a very young girl.
- In Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun, only virgins can clearly see and hear messages from the gods. This serves as an in-universe justification for why priests and nuns are forbidden from carnal pleasures. Non-virgins can see and hear messed-up tidbits.
- River of Dancing Gods: The female protagonist starts out learning a form of magic that demands virginity. Naturally, once she's passed her tests she's instead taught a form of power based on prostitution.
- The Wood Beyond The World: The Maid explains to Walter that she will lose her powers when she loses her virginity, so they cannot have sex until after she has defeated the Lady. She does. They do.
- The Traveller in Black: A rare male example appears in "Imprint of Chaos". Eadwil, one of the diviners consulted by the Margrave of Ryovora, is a youth who's postponed "a major upheaval of his physiology", the better to preserve his prophetic abilities.
- The Education Of Jennifer Parrish: A Satanic organization plans to switch the mind of one of their members with an innocent girl. The ritual requires that the victim not be a virgin, and one of their members is assigned to make sure of this but fails to do so. When the ceremony takes place, her virgin status foils the magic and saves her.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Hunters of Artemis are semi-immortal so long as they are virgins.
- Conan the Destroyer: In the novelization, the princess ends up having sex with Conan on the way back to the city and her intended sacrifice. Bombaata, distrustful of Conan, asks the wizard Akiro to use his powers on Conan and Jenna to make sure she is still a virgin. Akiro replies that she is still pure. He had earlier explained that "purity" is a matter of spirit, not of the flesh, and was being truthful, although not in the way Bombaata hoped.
- The Unhandsome Prince: The one-use-only magic spell that Rumpelstiltskin has for turning straw into gold requires the loss of virginity — which is why Rumpel is still looking for the right girl.
- Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: The Unmasqued World came about when a drop of virgin's blood fell upon the Necronomicon under a full moon and during a rare astrological conjunction. A homely fifty-eight-year-old witch's blood, shed via a paper cut, but a virgin's nonetheless.
- Rachel Griffin: In The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, the Vestal Virgins guard the powerful protection, the Eternal Flame. Violating their vows weakens it. Rachel is shocked when one villain talks of how her grandmother's breaking her vows and how that strengthened those on the Dark Path.
- In the fourth book in Bloodlines, a witch's power is halved when she loses her virginity. This is one of many reasons why Sydney delays having sex with Adrian until more than halfway through the book.
- Schooled in Magic: Some spells must be performed by a virginal woman, and so there's an entire group of them called the Virgin Sisterhood, protected by their armed, intimidating sisters.
- Inverted in M. J. Scott's The Shattered Court. In this world, women often receive magical powers on their 21st birthday, and are expected to be blessed at their nearest church once this happens. This "blessing", though, secretly drains most of a woman's power, transferring it to the church and later their husband. It only works on virgins, though, so the protagonist keeps her full magic, and ends being so powerful it freaks people out, since this is a world where a woman whose had sex before she's 21 is a complete anomaly.
- The Tough Guide to Fantasyland has an entry for Virgins, and lists various reasons they're important, including unicorn (and, less commonly, dragon) bait, magic users (Witches possibly need to be virgins; Talented Girls are assumed to be virgins but don't seem to lose their Talent when they inevitably hook up with a male hero), sexual slavery, and of course, Virgin Sacrifice. It also adds that nobody wants male virgins at all, with even the sex-slavers preferring male slaves to have some experience.
- JK Haru is a Sex Worker in Another World: Inverted. Haru eventually finds out that she gains the special abilities of anyone who has sex with her.
- The Arts of Dark and Light: In Selenoth, elves are innately magical beings, and all possess some magic potential, though it varies in magnitude between individuals. However, female elves lose their magic powers when they cease to be maidens. Male elves are not affected, nor do human magic-users of either sex seem to be.
- In Chaos Fighters: Chemical Warriors-PERAK, the brown sword operates at a lower power output when a person ejaculates and drops to minimum when said person had sex. So far, the brown sword wielders are all men.
- The world of Mercedes Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms runs on tropes, including this one. Unicorns are drawn to virgins (female unicorns are drawn to male virgins), which is not quite as awesome as it sounds. Unicorns are fiercely protective and very magical, but they're also very, very stupid. Many characters are vocally relieved when they cease to be unicorn bait.
- In Angel:
- Cordelia discovers that her demonic powers can be transferred sexually (at least to one other person). In a subversion, this requires not that she maintain her chastity indefinitely, but just until she acquires a supernatural prophylactic. It's very much indicated that the reason supernatural prophylactics exist is precisely because there are plenty of powers in the Angelverse that come under this trope and therefore the means to circumvent this trope was, quite naturally, invented as a response.
- There are also demons who care about this, as became important when a man intended to sacrifice his virgin daughter to one. He hired Angel to guard her because he'd heard of his status as a Chaste Hero. As it turned out, Angel was missing and Wesley impersonated him, and...yeah. The inevitable occurred. Although this didn't even matter — he wasn't that good at isolating her previously.
- The Bottom Christmas Special has the gang getting a Doorstop Baby and mistaking it for Jesus. Richie admits his virginity, thinking it makes him the new Mary and starts threatening people that he's going to get God to smite them if they don't do what he says.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- One scene has Willow looking at some phlebotinum and saying "You know, a dash of this mixed with a virgin's saliva will...do something I know nothing about."
- There's also "Teacher's Pet", which involves a Praying Mantis demon looking to mate with virgin males, in an interesting subversion of the trope. Of course, Xander, who has been professing his masculine sexual prowess for the entire episode, falls into the demon's trap, and consequently has to endure the barbs of his friends for being a virgin. It's made a little more tolerable for him by the discovery that the year group's stud who had been making Xander feel inadequate for his lack of sexual experience was also entrapped by the demon... meaning he was a virgin, too. Xander may have been embarrassed, but the jock was downright humiliated.
- On Supernatural, during a hostage situation, it's revealed that the problem could be solved by a virgin sacrifice, and there Just Happens To Be a very religious virgin girl in the police station. However, (a) the Winchester boys decline to kill her (even though she volunteers upon finding out the stakes), (b) during the course of the battle, she decides she'll rid herself of that virginity as soon as they're out of it, and (c) she ends up dying anyway.
- Subverted with no small amount of glee on an episode of The Drew Carey Show, where the Devil — or someone who definitely thinks he is the Devil — insists he's going to get married to Kate and take her away with him. About to win a game of pool for double or nothing (her soul and Drew's), he boasts, "In the corner pocket... Devil's about to take a virgin bride!" At which point Drew and friends cackle. Upon finding out she has had sex, he insists "there's leeway," and whispers a question the audience doesn't hear. Looking almost embarrassed, she says, "Just once." He storms out, saying, "You people are sick!" and resulting in the immortal quote:
Lewis: If you're lookin' for a virgin, stay out of Cleveland, buddy!
- Played depressingly straight in an episode of the short-lived 1997 series Conan the Adventurer. One of Conan's many doomed love interests starts out a virgin warrior who can magically adorn herself with impenetrable armor and gain incredible strength and speed. She and Conan eventually fall in love and have sex. She later dies after being captured, because she couldn't do the armor thing anymore. At least he got laid that time?
- In Galavant one of the ingredients to a resurrection potion is grey hair from a virgin's beard. An alchemist bemoans that male virgins old enough to have grey hair are as rare as unicorns, before noticing the unicorn that's been following Richard around.
- Xena: Warrior Princess the big thing is blood innocence, Gabrielle has not killed a man.
- Subverted in Dante's Cove, where a virgin is someone who has never used magic. Luckily for the characters, because a literal virgin would be even harder to find.
- When a vampire is delivered to the flat of The Young Ones, Vyvyan argues that vampires only attack virgins. All four lads are quick to deny their eligibility, but the vampire itself remarks "what a choice!," confirming that they're all lying.
- In the I, Claudius miniseries, a Roman soldier hesitates to execute a condemned family's young daughter because she's a virgin, apparently fearing the gods may punish him for such an unprecedented act. He's ordered to subvert this trope in the worst way possible before he kills her.
- The three Zoryas in American Gods are sisters who can tell the future, but the youngest, Zorya Polunochnaya, tells Shadow that she's the best at it because "virgins have the advantage".
- According to Brobdingnagian Bards, virgins have one of the least useful (but most plot driving) superpowers ever: tasting extra good to dragons. Discussed at length in Do Virgins Taste Better?
- The Bible:
- A virginnote brings the son of God into the world. It may or may not matter that she was a virgin; some denominations believe she was supposedly also born without original sin.
- In two male examples, her son, Jesus, and possibly (according to the apparitions at Fatima) her husband, Joseph.
- This is the case with many of the Catholic saints. St. Margaret of Cortona was an interesting one, in that Christ promised her in a vision that he would still honor her as a virgin in heaven even though she had a son before her conversion.
- In Classical Mythology, three of the goddesses — Athena/Minerva, Artemis/Diana, and Hestia/Vesta — were "virgin goddesses." Whether "virgin" meant never having had sex, or merely meant never having been married, is a subject of some scholarly debate. In any case, their special status would have been nullified if any of them ceased being a virgin. The plot tension usually associated with this trope, however, was noticeably absent that one time Artemis thought to have found a worthy partner: The hunter Orion. Unfortunately, her jealous brother put a gory end to the wedding plans...
- According to Roman tradition, Vestal Virgins were imbued with powerful magical powers as the health of the Roman State directly depended on their dedication. It was said that they had the power to freeze runaway slaves in their tracks if they have not yet left the city limits and their curses led to the grisly deaths of the first few Christians who tried to defile the Temple of Vesta. They also had many more mundane powers, such as being able to own property and draw up contracts, and any slaves and prisoners they touch must be immediately freed.
- Medusa was originally a beautiful priestess of Athena. However when Athena caught Poseidon raping her, she transformed Medusa's beautiful hair into serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone. That was the later, darker - and more well-known - version stated by Ovid in The Metamorphoses. The older version says that their affair was consensual. In fact, it's very hard to tell even what Ovid meant, as the ancient Greeks (and a number of modern cultures) define rape as having sex with a woman against the wishes of her patron - either her husband, her father, or in this case, Athena - the consent of the woman being inconsequential.
- As the goddess of chastity, the nymphs who followed Artemis also had to be virgins. Whenever one of them lost her virginity (usually thanks to Artemis' father), Artemis would cast them out.
- In some versions of the Arthurian Legend, Lancelot has this power. He is the best and strongest knight because he is a virgin. Once he sleeps with Guinevere, he loses his strength. This is why he cannot reach the Holy Grail, but his son, Galahad, can. Galahad remains a virgin. (This of course leads to a very funny scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)
- In the Mabinogion, the main work of Welsh mythology, the god Math ap Mythonwy would die unless his feet rested in the lap of a virgin while he was not at war. When his original virgin was raped while he was off fighting, Gwydion suggests his sister Arianrhod as her successor. To prove her virginity, Arianrhod had to jump over Math's magic wand. She immediately gave birth to two sons. Needless to say she was out of the running and royally pissed. There's a reason one of her roles is the goddess of revenge and karma.
- In Chinese folklore, Hé Qióng, aka Immortal Woman He or He Xiangu, the sole female among the Eight Immortals, took a vow of chastity while still human and fourteen years old, when a vision in a dream instructed her to eat powdered mica, in order that her body might become etherealized and immune to death. By doing so and remaining chaste, she was eventually able to live without any food, and eventually achieved true immortality.
- A young princess by the name of Kunti receives a mantra that she can use to summon a god for sex. She is told that she can use it up to five times without compromising her virginity. She does so, and has five sons as a result, the Pandavas. She gets curious, and uses it one more time than she's supposed to, and has another son by the name of Karna, whom she sends away.
- Her daughter-in-law Draupadi is also informed by the god Shiva that her virginity is renewed each time she bathes. When the Kauravas start Slut-Shaming her for having five husbands and refusing to have sex with Duryodhana in front of his court, the Brahmins in the area refuse to do any work, because of her honor being dragged through the mud. She is also very close with Krishna. Draupadi and Kunti are both honored as holy virgins, both in the epic itself, and in the context of Hinduism.
- In the Book of Revelation, the 144,000 of the 12 tribes of Israel will be celibate virginal men who have "not defiled themselves with women", with some interpreters suggesting that they may be imbued with supernatural power.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Vow of Chastity Feat in the Book of Exalted Deeds suppliment gives a character many benefits for maintaining virginity. This Feat is a requirement for two prestige classes offered in the book (one of which involves acquiring a unicorn as your companion, naturally). The spell lantern light from the same book requires the character to abstain from sex for at least 24 hours before casting it.
- The 3rd Edition Oriental Adventures book has a Prestige Class called the Eunuch Warlock. Being evil is a requirement.
- Dungeon magazine #23, adventure "Deception Pass": The soothsayer Lyllidia is a Fortune Teller with a limited ability to see the future. She has taken a vow of chastity in order to avoid losing her powers.
- Runequest: Zzaburi, a caste of magi of which one of the restrictions is chastity. (So much so that it is the only caste made up of children originating in other castes.)
- Cicely, one of the sample characters in GURPS Wizards, believes that if she loses her virginity, the elven goddess of chance will take away her seer powers. However, this is a delusion on her part, and her powers have nothing to do with the elven goddess of chance. Questioning her on this point is not recommended, as she's been known to become violent on the subject.
- Tales of Symphonia: The unicorn can again only be approached by "a pure maiden". Action Girl Sheena gets quite snappy when Raine implies Colette will have to go alone.
Sheena: Hey! Are you saying that I'm not qualified?!
Sheena: Y-You don't have to both say it at once!
Kratos: ...Then we shall send Colette and Sheena.
Lloyd: Why can't the Professor go?
Raine: Because I'm an adult.
- Raine's comment that she is an adult was likely an excuse, it is more likely she refused to go because she is afraid of water.
- The Witcher: Toyed with. At one point, you need to obtain the tears of a virgin for a potion that would cure lycantropy. The obvious solution is to ask the nuns at the local hospital, but virgins can also be found among the townsfolk — though, curiously, only women, except for a single man: the upright and pious-to-a-fault knight Siegfried. Too bad the potion ultimately does not work.
- In Apricot Cookie(s)!, Magical Girls who do it with a guy become an Office Lady when they transform and lose their powers, as Moonlight Spritzer unfortunately finds out.
- Metanoia: Zander is Ridden, or a voluntary conduit for an angel. Virginity is part of keeping one's "aura clear" to allow the angel to work through; other requirements include vegetarianism and not swearing oaths.
- The Order of the Stick:
- A trade paperback-only strip has the party encounter a unicorn in the woods. Haley tries to approach the unicorn... only for it to roll over on its back, laughing.
- Also defied when Lien the Paladin is captured by the tribe of orcs to be sacrificed to their new god... Banjo the Clown. She tells them they cannot sacrifice her because she is not a virgin before the orcs say that that was the point, since they wanted to sacrifice someone with experience (whether Banjo would have accepted the sacrifice at all is a different matter entirely.)
Lien: Why does my mother always end up being right about these things?!
- Oglaf probably inevitably plays with this trope occasionally:
- Only virgins can see the Enchanted City of Vanorva. Because of this, the entire population of the city is celibate, to avoid accidentally depopulating the city. If a supposed slut somehow enters the city (even if the sex activities were not consensual, as most of Ivan's were not), there is a widespread panic. Except, blowjobs don't count. Or flang. The jury's still out on anal. Ivan tried to convince Navaan it was okay, but she had second thoughts after seeing the soldiers looking for them.
- In the two-strip story "The Virgin Cobbler", the highly skilled title character tells her aristocratic clients that her skills are empowered by her virginity. One comely female client sets out to ensure that none of her rivals will ever acquire more stylish footwear than her own by deflowering the cobbler. (Lesbian is assumed to count here.) The cobbler seems quite happy with that, and then goes off to buy a potion of virginity restoration. The punchline is that the cobbler knows that the potion is just sugar water, just like cobbling skill comes from talent and practice. She and the potion vendor share an opinion of rich people.
- In the three-strip story "Lapis Lazuli", Vanka attempts to steal two huge gemstones from a temple, only to be stopped by two monks who claim to be undefeatable in battle, due to an "ancient secret". Vanka spots the text on their idol which says "purity is strength". She promptly rapes them, rendering them unable to even punch her, let alone stop her from leaving with the gemstones. They then change the inscription to claim their weakness is bees.
- Karin-dou 4koma: Mifi has some sort of power as the shaman of a now-vanished tribe that requires her to be a Technical Virgin. Elza insists on respecting this, to Mifi's immense (sexual-)frustration.
- In Skin Horse, the cast has to get through a system that will only let a princess through. Tip is willing and ready to pass as a princess, but one of the tests to pass is a series of questions called the "Purity test". Which he very much fails, as it needs a "total, inexperienced, never-been-kissed virgin". The one person in the team who fits that, much to his annoyance, is Nick, a former shut-in nerd turned Brain in a Jar, who's currently possessing a female drone body.
- Team Fortress 2: In this page of the supplemental comic Blood Money, we find out Merasmus is a virgin apparently for the convenience of getting virgin blood for whatever ritual you need it in a hurry. Of course, the 'young innocent female' side of this trope is subverted by the fact that Merasmus is a 6000-year-old male Card-Carrying Villain...
- Tower of God: Yeon Ehwa's aunt and matriarch, Yeon Hana, made a deal with a Guardian that she shall not have sex or be in a relationship with a man after her first love went sour. In return she got quite a bit of power.
- From the Evil Overlord List Cellblock B:
If a malignant being demands a sacrificial victim have a particular quality, I will check to make sure said victim has this quality immediately before the sacrifice and not rely on earlier results. (Especially if the quality is virginity and the victim is the hero's girlfriend.)
- The Advertising Server has made allegations concerning our very own Trope-tan.
- Futurama: In one episode, the mutants below New New York require a virgin sacrifice. Leela volunteers, and they use her... mostly due to a lack of options.
Vyolet: Nice try, Leela, but we've all seen Zapp Brannigan's webpage.
Raoul: When El Chupanibre comes for the, uh, "virgin", he will be snared by this rope trap.
- In American Dad!, The Weeknd reveals that he's a virgin and has been channeling the power he gets from celibacy into winning music awards. He hopes one day he'll store enough to make his balls a time machine so he can travel back in time and sleep with dinosaurs. At the end of the episode he uses all of his power, sacrificing his life force, to heal Francine from the bubonic plague, his soul merging with the volcanic island they were on afterwards like Te Fiti from Moana.