A subtrope of Human Sacrifice, Virgin Sacrifices typically fall under three main categories:
- As payment to a god or some other power, either to keep them functioning or to win their favor in general.
- As payment to a god or some other power for the exclusive use of some powerful Applied Phlebotinum.
- As a necessary fuel for one's own continued existence (eg: a vampire who needs to feast on—or bathe in—virgin blood every once in a while in order to continue living).
Popular places to conduct virgin sacrifices include, dark, skull-lined altars under glowering idols and the edges of active volcanoes. Abandoned churches with upside-down crosses in them make a nice setting for any vampiric or Satanically-themed sacrifices (although, if the church in question is in use, the alley next to it works just as well).
Virgin Sacrifices are usually young (but almost always past puberty), female, conventionally-attractive, pure-minded, and sometimes raised from birth to accept—even celebrate—their honored position as Virgin Sacrifice. If not, then they're usually a Love Interest or a member of the heroes' party who got kidnapped and carted away for sacrificial purposes. (If said member of the party is, in fact, not a virgin, you can expect some hilarious hijinks to occur when that fact is uncovered.)
Of course, the victim's actual purity tends to be directly proportionate to the intelligence (or lack thereof) of the ones making the offer, and inversely proportionate to the consequences for offering a non-virgin. Particularly incompetent and/or rookie villains will usually kidnap a girl known to be a hero's girlfriend just to spite him—ignoring the obvious risk inherent with such a victim—and ignore claims from a pleading victim that she doesn't qualify, only to eventually learn their mistake the hard way.
In the ultra-rare case that a male virgin is required for a Virgin Sacrifice, expect the situation to be played for as much humor as possible. Also, expect the victim to be far more upset that his friends have discovered his virgin status than he is about actually being sacrificed.
The virgin will usually be saved right from the sacrificial altar by the Big Damn Heroes, or via an elaborate scheme by her allies to impersonate the hungry god.
Despite the most obvious logical solution, Virgin Sacrifice situations are hardly ever resolved by giving the sacrifice-to-be an opportunity to have an intimate encounter, thus rendering the Virgin Sacrifice unsuitable. (Unless the victim is male and the story is a Sex as Rite-of-Passage comedy.) In a few cases, the save-the-sacrificial-victim sex may be non-consensual. That's probably the only time a "heroic character" can rationalize and "get away" with rape, if the hero is male and the Sacrificial Victim is female. Most professional writers probably shy away from plotlines like this due to the amount of Squick they dredge up, although such a scenario has been the plot to many a rape fanfic. And this is not exactly helped by the fact that the squickiest of such ceremonies (which are not shown on TV for obvious reasons) involve the virgin being raped as part of the sacrifice.
Also note that virgin sacrifices are never the most obvious solution—children—for obvious reasons. The most common in-story justification is that the victim's virginity is ritually significant for some reason connected to the fact that they might have but didn't, which lets the prepubescent population off the hook.
While human sacrifice is Truth in Television—though less frequently than religions have been accused of it—the Virgin Sacrifice is not so accurate.
- Fushigi Yuugi:
- The power that Miaka and Yui (and before them, Takiko and Suzuno) are granted is not only a Virgin Power, it also can result in a Virgin Sacrifice, if the wielder of the power isn't strong-willed enough to keep from being absorbed by the god she's calling upon. Suzuno and Miaka manage to survive mostly unscathed, with Suzuno living until ripe old age and Miaka growing up to marry Taka/Tamahome. Yui is absorbed by Seiryuu, but Miaka uses one of her wishes to bring her back to this world. Takiko begins to be devoured by Genbu, but her father commits suicide, effectively killing her, too, to prevent her from being fully devoured before she can ask Genbu to grant her a third wish.
- In Nuriko's character novel, Yukiyasha Den, the eponymous snow demon feasts only on beautiful, young, virgin girls. Nuriko befriends and attempts to protect the girl about to be eaten, Byakuren, but she ultimately sacrifices herself to protect Nuriko.
- Played straight in the anime series Vandread, with whole worlds up for the Virgin Sacrifice, both literally and figuratively, in combination with the subplot of Earth using its colony worlds as organ banks in a program known as the Harvest. The worlds of the principal characters, Tarak and Majere, are literal worlds of virgins (in a heterosexual sense) that have been taught that each is the other's enemy for precisely that reason: Tarak and Majere are to supply the sexual organs, and Earth wants them in as pristine a condition as possible. There is also the episode where the Nirvana encounters its first harvester ship; the planet in question has not physical virgins, but mental ones — kept in ignorance and taught that the harvesters are gods, sent to take them to Paradise. It's revealed during the episode that these people were kept in ignorance so that they would never progress; the harvesters are not going to take them to Paradise, but was sent to harvest their spinal cords.
- Parodied in Bastard!! as a vampire feeding on captured holy swordswomen bites into one and vomits before starting a rant about girls these days. Seems not all holy swordswomen are as chaste as they're meant to be.
- Maken-ki!: The seal atop Amonhara requires that a virgin with pure Element be offered to it, but she must also have close ties to the Tenbi region. So Yamato Takeru abducts Ms. Aki since she met both criteria, then taints her by forcing his Black Element into her body so she'll give birth to Habakiri, the divine sword that bestows godhood to whoever touches it.
- In Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, the dark priestess Naneel arranged for her ressurection by placing part of her life force into a baby who would be one of the three main components for the resurrection ritual. But the child fell into the hand of the priestess Old Neese who raised it as her own daughter Leylia. When the resurrection was finally to take place Leylia had long since been married and a child of her own, which made her unsuitable as the sacrifice. But her daughter, Young Neese, would also work. Despite nothing less than the End Of The World being at stake, the obvious solution never even gets brought up. However Leaf and Ryna do put considerable effort in bringing Neese and Spark together. If we hadn't have two Celibate Heroes, the entire showdown wouldn't have been neccessary.
- In Phantom Quest Corp., not only are vampires dependent on the blood of virgins, the women they feed from must be of the purest quality. As in: a female who doesn't smoke, drink, or do drugs either. Which is why Makiko had been singled out by Dracula after he'd reincarnated.
- Part of the back story of how the stone mask works in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Turns out that a Virgin Sacrifice was overkill as all that was need was a drop of blood.
- In the manga Maomarimo a small Japanese village offers a "sacrificial maiden" to their local shinto deity every year by sending her in ceremonial robes on a solo midnight boat ride across the local lake. Everyone assumes it's just a quaint local custom until a teenage boy named Mao takes his twin sister Akoya's place (she's afraid of boats) and returns as a girl. A village elder later reveals that she believes this is the true version of the "maiden sacrifice": a virgin boy sacrificing his manhood to become one. Everyone, including Mao, seems willing to accept this except his best friend Jiu (who is uncomfortable with his own feelings now that Mao has jumped the gender barrier) and Akoya who thinks Mao is being punished for her failure.
- Played with in Princess Tutu. The Raven has a taste for "pure hearts", and although he really just wants to eat Mytho's and be done with it, evidently he gets impatient and decides he'll settle for the hearts of pretty young women (or young men) in the meantime. Losing one's heart doesn't actually kill you in this universe, of course, but you're still left as an Empty Shell.
- In Anatolia Story, when Yuri is first summoned to Hattusa, the Queen prepares to sacrifice her. Prince Kail saves her life by interrupting the ceremony and claiming that she cannot be used as a sacrifice because he has already had his way with her (not actually true), and the ritual sacrifice being performed requires a virgin. Nobody questions this explanation because Kail is well-known as a womanizer. Played with in that the actual ritual the Queen was performing does not require virginity, but she cannot let anyone else know that or her Evil Plan would be exposed, so she's forced to play along.
- The Hentai Bible Black, revolves around this trope. The Big Bad of of the series has chosen the hero's Love Interest as payment to stay out of hell since her time on earth is almost over. The two episode prequel reveals that the Big Bad herself was victim of this since the new leader of the witch's coven decided that casting love spells and other minor hexes for profit was not exiting anymore, and decided to summon the devil.
- One was required to summon a demon in the Ramba story "Vendetta from Hell". Ramba spoils the satanists' plans by rescuing their sacrifice. And then having sex with her.
- Dreamkeepers has a sacrifice go all the way to completion. As the first scene in the comic!
- In one issue of Marvel Comics version of Captain Marvel, Marlo was attending the grand opening of a comic book store when the store owner revealed himself to be a wizard and, after seeing that she was the only one unaffected by his mind control soda (she'd accidentally spilled it), told her that the whole thing was just an elaborate ruse. After she pointed out how overly complex his plan was, he asked her to name an easier way to find 100 virgins on a Saturday night in LA. Her answer: "Star Trek Convention."
- The male version occurs in Red Sonja Blue. The sacrifice attempts to claim that he is no virgin but his claims are dismissed because the Evil Sorcerer making the sacrifice comes from his village and knows him, and because the demon involved can smell the innocence on him. The claim appears to be a desperate attempt to escape his fate rather than any shame at being a virgin, however.
- Parodied on the cover of XXXenophile #11, which features the volcano god rejecting the Virgin Sacrifice for failing the most basic criterion.
- Caballistics, Inc.: Subverted. Before Ravne offers Miss Simmons as part of a demonic sacrifice, he asks her if she's a virgin. When she says she isn't, Ravne explains how she best suits his purposes because innocent virgins don't actually make the best sacrificial offerings to Hell.
- The humorous male version appeared in MAD's "Monroe" series.
- One The Far Side comic has two women being carried up the side of a volcano by a group of natives. One woman assures her friend, "And you were worried they wouldn't like Americans! Why, they lit right up when we said we were Virginians."
- At one point in Doonesbury, Uncle Duke was governor of American Samoa. When the local volcano started to erupt, a virgin sacrifice was needed, with several young women vying for the honor. As the winner was preparing to dive into the crater, her younger brother was loudly complaining about why boys couldn't be virgin sacrifices too. ("I can be just as chaste as any dumb girl!")
- In Frozen Moonlight, Sano admits he was nearly killed as a virgin sacrifice in high school. Kaoru finds this fact absolutely hilarious.
- In Shadowchasers: Ascension this was what Jalie Squarfoot intended for both Penelope and Red Feather after taking them captive, but not by killing them; he was going to give them to the lustful Demon Lord Graz'zt as an offering to finalize an alliance between them. (Clearly, this would have been a Fate Worse than Death for the two of them had they not been rescued.)
- Kid Icarus Uprising 2 Hades Revenge has Pit be used as one, in order to create a 'zomboy' army.
- Played for laughs in episode 16 of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, when Pegasus threatens to send Tristan, Téa, and Bakura off to the Shadow Realm for interrupting his big musical number, Tristan, being the complete moron that he is, thinks that Pegasus is demanding a virgin sacrifice.
Tristan: He wants a virgin sacrifice! Quick Téa, have sex with me, it's the only way to stop him!
Téa: Hell no! I'm saving myself for Yugi... I mean, marriage.
- In the Adam Adamant Lives! fic "Red for Danger," Georgie is about to be sacrificed by cultists when Adam shoots the ringleader. It turns out to all be the plan of the actual ringleader, who knew her pawn was definitely a virgin, but wasn't so sure about Georgie.
- The movie Once Bitten is a comedy about a virgin male who attracts the attention of an evil vampiress. The vampiress needs to feed on virgin (male) blood three times before Halloween in order to maintain her beauty. The victim manages to escape from the vampiress' clutches by convincing his frigid girlfriend (who's been holding him off the entire movie for "just the right time") to finally have sex with him.
- Clash of the Titans, a loose adaptation of the Perseus/Andromeda story, put a spin on it. Thetis specifically demanded that Andromeda be "unknown to man, a virgin", as it was restitution not only for insulting her, but an indirect way to gain revenge against Perseus, who had become betrothed to her as a result of sorely injuring her son Calibos.
- The Tsui Hark film Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain contains an encounter where the young hero and a master swordsman discover an evil cult that sacrifices virgins. As they are about to fight them, the hero realises they want virgin males and can detect him.
- Predated by the movie Andy Warhol's Dracula; in that film, Dracula only subsists on virgin blood (the first two girls he tries to drink from, being non-virgins — heck, we see them having sex with the ostensible hero — make him vomit). The "hero" has no qualms about raping the virgin girl to save her, leading to the grotesque sight of Dracula licking her hymenal blood off the floor in desperation.
- Joe Versus the Volcano, featuring Tom Hanks as the virgin. He doesn't seem to be worried about his friends finding out, mainly because he doesn't really seem to have friends. He manages to get laid before the end of the movie, and the volcano spits him back out and sinks the island he was to be sacrificed for.
- The Wicker Man (1973). Officer Howie's unusual (for his time) beliefs about maintaining his purity until marriage, match the unusual twist that he (the enemy) is considered as the perfect sacrifice by the pagan villagers. Given an extra twist because it wasn't just the fact that he was a virgin that made him so perfect, [[spoiler:but the fact that he would willingly refuse sex from an objectively beautiful woman out of virtue. That kind of purity can be hard to find, and Lord Summerisle made it clear that while a child sacrifice was valued, it was nothing compared to "the right kind of adult."
- In Dead Gentlemen Productions Demon Hunters: Dead Camper Lake, Chris is taken as a virgin sacrifice to re-summon Duamerthrax the Indestructible. As expected, there are a fair number of "Wait, he's a... naaaaaah," moments.
- Dragonslayer, inspired by the story of Saint George (see below), features a town that selects virgins via lottery to feed to a dragon. It's the villagers' own superstition that leads them to do this, though; the dragon is basically a wild animal and probably couldn't care less about who it eats.
- In Lesbian Vampire Killers, the blood of a virgin must be mingled with the blood of the last of the McLaren's to resurrect Carmilla the Vampire Queen.
- The title character in Jennifer's Body is thought to be a virgin by a satanic rock band and thus is sacrificed to the devil in exchange for success. (The cult is clearly incompetent; for example, the ritual requires the victim's name, and because they don't know that, they have to ask her halfway through.) But since she's "not even a backdoor virgin", she becomes a man-eating demon instead. Oh well, at least they got the fame, fortune, drugs and whores they wanted...until Needy comes along to get some revenge, having inherited some of Jennifer's powers after being bitten and killing her.
- The monsters in Sleepwalkers must eat virgin souls to continue their incestuous, cat-hating existence.
- Conan the Barbarian (1982) (1982) has the Cult of Set sacrificing virgins to a giant snake. Conan saves one by accident (he kills the snake while stealing a jewel just before the virgin jumps into the snake's pit).
- In the sequel Conan the Destroyer, he saves a virgin princess from being sacrificed... intentionally this time.
- In Conan the Barbarian (2011), Conan has sex with the potential sacrifice before she's captured, yet it apparently makes no difference despite it being stated earlier that the sacrifice must be both of pure blood and a virgin.
- The Alchemist in Vidocq requires the blood of young female virgins to keep the mask that gives him his powers in the mend. The details are unclear, but one escaped subject seemed to have had her tongue cut out, and his laboratory contained mutilated human remains and rags that may have started out as human skins.
- The Lair of the White Worm has this idea as the centerpiece for the climax.
- All three versions of King Kong have featured variations on this trope, even if it does seem unlikely (at best) that Dwan, the Distressed Damsel from Dino De Lauentiis' remake/reimagining of the film, is technically a virgin (it was the 1970s, after all).
- Subverted in The Cabin in the Woods. The ritual calls for one of the sacrifices to be designated "The Virgin", but the sacrifice actually being a virgin isn't strictly necessary. As the Director puts it, "We work with what we've got." And inverted in that according to the rules of the ritual, the virgin, being the Final Girl has to die last and is the only one who can survive without displeasing the gods.
- 1991 TV movie Cast a Deadly Spell. In this "Film Noir"/horror pastiche set in an alternate 1940s Los Angeles where everyone uses magic except private detective Harry Philip Lovecraft, a cult leader has fathered and raised a daughter for the sole purpose of being the Virgin Sacrifice during the summoning of a Thing Man Was Not Meant to Know. Unfortunately for Daddy and his ritual, she got around his strictures by boinking an L.A. police officer... At that point, Yog-Sothoth devours the father for the crime of attempting to sell used goods.
- Implied to be what happens to Alex at the end of Paranormal Activity 4.
- In the 1987 film version of Dragnet, Friday and Streebek disguise themselves and sneak into a secret P.A.G.A.N. ceremony where they witness the masked leader attempting to sacrifice a virgin, Miss Connie Swail. Friday and Streebek disrupt the ceremony and save Swail. The term "the virgin Connie Swail" becomes a Running Gag for the rest of the film.
Friday: "Prepare the Virgin?" I don't like the sound of that.
Streebeck: Let's just hope they're not referring to you.
- During one of Lori's dreams in Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy makes her believe her friends wish to do this to her to lure Freddy right before he plants a kiss on her. This is also a hint at Freddy trying to take Lori's virginity later.
- Played with in Dragonheart, when Bowen visits Kara's village. His modus operandi has been to get the residents of different villages to pay him for "killing" the dragon (his buddy Draco) that has started plaguing them out of nowhere. When Kara's neighbors are reluctant to offer money, he suggests they do one of these instead. Naturally, they pick the loudmouthed redhead who's been trying to stir up rebellion.
- The women sacrificed by the cult in Curse of the Crimson Altar are apparently virgins, although this is never explicitly stated in the film. However, they are identified as "Virgin sacrifice #1" and Virgin sacrifice #2" in the credits.
- Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice by A.M. Ambrose is a snarky satire/fantasy novel about this trope.
- Gary Jennings' Aztec explores and inverts this trope during the "sacrifice" scenes. The Xipe Totec ritual requires the sacrifice be a virgin (then part of the preparation requires the sacrifice to have sex with most of the villagers). And it's a major plot point and inversion that Mixtli's sister be a virgin to be part of the Ochpaniztli ritual. When it's discovered she's not a virgin, the priest suggests she be the sacrifice instead.
- The main characters of Disappearing Nightly at some point suspect that the Big Bad is after virgins. Turns out this is true, he needs a virgin to summon a demon, and he has been keeping all the vanished girls and women prisoners, trying to finally get one who is actually a virgin. Not even the tiger he accidentally kidnapped is a virgin. He himself, on the other hand, is. Hilarity ensues.
- In Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett's subversion of the myth of sacrificing virgins to a dragon is that the only virgin Ankh-Morpork can provide in a hurry is the way-over-forty reclusive dragon-breeder Lady Sybil Ramkin, a rather large lady who hospitalizes at least three of the brutal soldiery trying to chain her to the sacrificial slab. Border on the Zig-Zagging Trope, in fact. Since Carrot's lady-friend Reet is clearly not a virgin, and Sam Vimes assumes the role of hero, it's pretty much required that Lady Ramkin be a virgin so that he can rescue her. This is Discworld, after all; somebody female's got to be a virgin.
- In a previous Discworld book, The Light Fantastic, the voluntary Virgin Sacrifice complained after her Unwanted Rescue that that was "eight years of staying home on Saturday nights down the drain".
- Mercedes Lackey's works:
- The rarity of male virgin sacrifices is mentioned in The Fire Rose. The villain needs a virgin sacrifice, and remarks that while the gender doesn't matter, it's so much easier to verify a woman's virginity than a man's.
- Subverted in One Good Knight. The townspeople offer up girls as virgin sacrifices to pacify a rampaging dragon, and at least one isn't virginal in the least. (It turns out that the royal wizard summoned the dragon as a means of social control — and the girls are all spared).
- Inverted in Burning Water: Tezcatlipoca needed to sacrifice a woman who had borne at least one child to return to Earth.
- In Roger Zelazny's novel The Changing Land, a wizard employs a "virgin detector spell" to locate a suitable sacrifice. The wizard is in a hurry to regain his power after a mishap and sacrificing a virgin is the quickest and easiest way. Naturally, the Big Damn Heroes arrive just in time.
- In the novel The Day of the Dissonance, some fairies decide to sacrifice a young girl who they have captive, stating that bathing in virgin's blood would help them. The sacrifice is called off when the girl breaks into hysterical laughter at being told this. Seems she was held captive by pirates for quite a while and doesn't qualify.
- In the novel Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff, an attempt by an evil keeper (a magic user who safeguards the balance between good and evil) during World War II to open a gateway to Hell in the basement of a bed and breakfast in Kingston, Ontario fails because her intended sacrifice of a teenage girl she assumed was a virgin turned out not to be and the keeper is placed in suspended animation. Then, in the present day she is accidentally revived and sets about to recreate her plan, this time with the chaste 20-year-old male cook/housekeeper of the B&B whose virginity is a surprise to his boss, Claire Hanson, the female protagonist of the series, who was further surprised to find out that her 17-year-old sister was not a suitable sacrifice because she had already become sexually active.
- A short story in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress anthology series covers a lot of ground with this trope. The local religious elders are known to cheat when it comes to selecting victims, "randomly" selecting girls who turned them down, and once a girl is known to be the next chosen, removing her from contention is unwise because the boy who helps her tends to find that it's harder to prove a male isn't a virgin. So the protagonist (female, next victim) finds the dragon she's supposed to be sacrificed to, finds that he doesn't care about the sexual history of his meals, and convinces him that fat priests are a better food source.
- Less extreme example in Lawrence Watt-Evans' The Legends of Ethshar series. One of the many, many ingredients needed for wizardry is blood of the virgin. Wizards are just buying it in reasonable amounts from virginal donors. It is implied in Taking Flight that virgin of any gender will do. Virgin's tears are also magically potent.
- In On a Pale Horse, Luna knows she's living on borrowed time, and sets herself up to be eaten by a dragon. The preference of dragons for virgin (not necessarily human) prey is actually explained: generations ago, the species was nearly wiped out by a strain of venereal disease that unlucky dragons contracted from eating infected animals. Ironically, Luna's selfless attempt to become a Virgin Sacrifice (in order to save the girl who would have become one instead) places her in the rare position of being unable to die: The act balanced out the evil on her soul, meaning that Death had to personally collect her soul, but being madly in love with her, he refused to do it.
- In a play on the story of The Minotaur, Minea in The Egyptian is to be sacrificed to the Cretan God... Only God Is Dead and rather than being sacrificed, she is killed to keep this a secret. Yeah, it's that kind of story.
- In Juliet Marillier's The Dark Mirror a virgin sacrifice is actually carried out to its gruesome conclusion — what's worse, the "good guys" are responsible for it. To be fair the sacrificer feels lousy about it and only does it because he's convinced the welfare of the kingdom depends on it.
- In Heart's Blood, a villain performs a virgin sacrifice in order to gain magical powers. A situation in which the heroine might be required to become a sacrificial victim is averted when she has sex the night before.
- We first meet one of the protagonists of the Farsala Trilogy, Soraya, when she is preparing to be sacrificed to ensure the continued protection of her country from invaders. At that point, most readers probably think it wouldn't be all that sad, but her father engineers her escape.
- Conan the Barbarian
- In Robert E. Howard's story "The Scarlet Citadel", the evil Tsotha, upon learning that Conan has returned and has freed his old rival Pelias, loses it:
"Oh, Set!" he lifted his hands and invoked the serpent-god to even Strabonus' horror, "grant us victory and I swear I will offer up to thee five hundred virgins of Shamar, writhing in their blood!"
- In The Hour of the Dragon, the wizard Xaltotun carries a young virgin girl to an altar with the intent to sacrifice her as part of a powerful spell, but he is interrupted by two good magicians who are allies of Conan.
- In Robert E. Howard's story "The Scarlet Citadel", the evil Tsotha, upon learning that Conan has returned and has freed his old rival Pelias, loses it:
- One of the earliest Doctor Who New Adventures, Timewyrm: Exodus, has Ace offered up as a virgin sacrifice. By a Nazi Mystic Cult. This may seem surprising given her later reputation, but it was one of the earliest novels.
- In Dragon's Bait, this trope is invoked in universe by an evil cleric and a girl's village. Alys is falsely accused of witchcraft and the evil cleric declares they can kill two birds with one stone by sacrificing Alys (a virgin) to a dragon who is terrorizing another nearby village. Lampshaded by the dragon who says the "virgin" thing was made up by men, because the important people in a village aren't likely to be virgin girls.
- The short story Do Virgins Taste Better? from the anthology of the same name inverts the typical female virgin sacrifice trope by sacrificing a male virgin instead. The entire country loses it's mind at the Gender Flip.
- In David Weber's Bahzell series, the demon god Sharna and his minions tend to want these. Being the Scorpion God of Evil Bastardy in a series where the heroes don't/can't always make it in time, this tends to end up as, well, Squick.
- The Tough Guide to Fantasyland goes for the squicky version of this, with the sacrifice being ritually raped and then disemboweled.
- In Seanan McGuire's InCryptid novel Discount Armageddon, we hear that the snake cult considers virginity a requirement for the sacrifice. The snake gods do not in fact care. In fact, none of their sacrifices are implied to be virgins, merely single ladies and the fact everyone thinks they are virgins is noted to be antiquted and sexist. Verity ends up laughing like a maniac when she's announced as a virgin sacrifice; considering not only is she noted to be experienced but recently had sex with her Enemy Mine ally? Pretty stupid to consider that.
- In Heroics for Beginners, mention is made of a king who decided to make virgin sacrifice to some dark power. As a result of this announcement, everyone in the kingdom embarked on a massive orgy in which every pubescent female in the country managed to disqualify herself several times over. Then one of the king's nobles took advantage of the fact that the king's guards had decided to abandon their posts to join in, and assassinated the king.
- One of Tamora Pierce's short stories, "Plain Magic", features a fire-breathing dragon that's destroying towns, and said virgin protagonist is offered as sacrifice. A wandering magician saves her, ranting about how dragons can't taste the difference between virgins and old men, and anyway, they're allergic to humans and our flesh makes them burp fire and destroy towns.
- In the book Sword Sisters from the Red Reaper stories, Aella meets Amelia by rescuing her from one of those. Amelia tries to claim she's not a virgin to get out of it but no one believes her. Mostly, due to the fact her boyfriend is gay.
- In A Night in the Lonesome October, the Vicar keeps his stepdaughter a prisoner with the intention of sacrificing her when the Game reaches its climax, and Larry Talbot, uncertain of his role in events, makes plans to rescue her. He fails, but the Great Detective doesn't.
- In Loyal Enemies, a house-sized basilisk terrorizes a dwarven community and demands to be given fifty virgins between the ages of twenty and fifty. The number of qualifying virgins drastically drops below twenty overnight. Smelling something fishy, the heroes set out to investigate and find a bunch of thugs hired by the villains to somehow get them fifty people to sacrifice for a ritual, but fortunately, that can be averted.
- This trope is a major plot point in two of British Author Dennis Wheatley's novels, To the Devil, a Daughter and The Devil Rides Out. The latter is a rare case where the virgin actually is a child, though it is definitely not played for squick.
- One of the last episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess revolves around this trope, and the virgin involved in it. Or, more specifically what happens when said virgin wants to be sacrificed. And what happens when she turns around and devotes herself to the Goddess of Love and Sex, Aphrodite. Hilarity Ensues.
- A first season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer involves a Praying Mantis demon that uses virgin males to fertilize its eggs, then eats them. Its chosen victims are a jock and Xander, both of whom are insistent that they are not virgins after Buffy rescues them.
- Played for Laughs when a wizard tries to sacrifice his own daughter. Unfortunately for him, virginity is a requirement, and he discovers he hasn't been isolating her from men as effectively as he'd thought.
- In season four, Jasmine-possessing-Cordelia had to use fresh virgin blood so she could give birth to herself. It Makes Sense in Context.
- In The Shroud of Rahmon, Cordelia converses with Wesley about her feelings on virgin sacrifices, particularly women:
Cordelia: Why is it always virgin women who have to do the sacrificing?
Wesley: For purity, I suppose.
Cordelia: This has nothing to do with purity. This is all about dominance, buddy. I can bet if someone ordered a male body part for a religious ceremony, the world would be atheist — (snaps fingers) — like that.
"When this is over, I'm going to have so much sex."
- Combined with Someone Has to Die in "Jus in Bello". Ruby comments she can cast a spell that kill all 30+ demons in the area (including herself) to save Sam and Dean, but doing so requires the vital organs of a virgin. The virgin in question, Nancy, is actually willing to go through with it, but Dean refuses and insists they will find another way. As they work on that plan, she makes it clear she will never be this situation again:
"But not with you."
- It comes up again in "Like a Virgin", as a virgin is apparently needed to be a host for the "Mother of All". Dean comments that in his experience, "being easy is pretty much all upside."
- This is combined with Deal with the Devil and subverted in The Drew Carey Show. (This is naturally a Halloween Episode, by the way.) A guy named Jack who claims to be the Devil had made this deal with Kate because she claimed to be a virgin. As it turned out, she had been drunk at the time, and was lying. When this revelation is made, Jack doesn't want her soul anymore, and simply leaves. (Whether Jack was telling the truth about who he was or whether he was just a nutcase is left ambiguous. Stranger things happened on the show...)
- In the third season of Teen Wolf, the new Big Bad produces a series of sacrifices that Stiles quickly deduces to have a pattern: they're all virgins. Which quickly freaks him out, since he's still a virgin:
Stiles: You know who else is a virgin? Me! I'm a virgin, okay? You know what that means? It means my lack of sexual experience is now literally a threat to my life, okay. I need to have sex. Like right now. Someone needs to have sex with me like today. Like someone needs to sex me up right now!
- One Saturday Night Live sketch involved an ogre who demanded a yearly virgin sacrifice, but then decides he'd actually prefer it if they sent him sluttier girls instead.
- Played for laughs in an episode of Laverne & Shirley, when the girls are playing cavewomen in a movie and are about to do a scene where they get sacrificed in a volcano. The director calls them "the village virgins", causing Laverne to say "Hah!"
- Classical Mythology:
- Happens a lot in Greek mythology, such as Cetus and Andromeda. Fortunately for Andromeda, Perseus said "Hell NO" and killed Cetus.
- Iphigenia was sacrificed by her father Agamemnon to appease the goddess Artemis. (Although his wife Clytemnestra had him murdered for it, and some variants, the goddess snatched her away and substituted a deer, making Iphigenia one of her priestesses.)
- One of the classic examples is the story of Saint George, in which a town in North Africa is plagued by the depredations of a dragon who demands that the townsfolk offer up a virgin for it to devour on a regular basis. The dragon is usually interpreted as a metaphor for Satan and/or pagan beliefs.
- This trope also turns up in a lot of fairy tales, especially ones where a dragon is holding a town hostage and demands regular feedings.
- In Japanese Mythology, the Thunder god Susano-oh walked on a couple mourning how their daughters had become this to Orochi, and now he's coming for their last daughter, Princess Kushinada. In exchange for the princess' hand in marriage, Susano-oh stops Orochi's plans and slays him.
- In the Book of Judges, a very zealous man named Jepthah makes a promise to God that he will sacrifice the first thing he sees if he wins the battle he's fighting. He wins the battle...and the first thing he sees is his daughter. Since he can't go back on his word, he ends up having to sacrifice her, though he gives her (as a last request) two months to go up into the hills with her friends and mourn. In this context, though, it could mean that she was to be dedicated to work in the temple (sort of an equivalent of a Miko) for the rest of her life, meaning she'd never marry or have children, both of which were considered a big deal in her society. (Though most interpret it as a more conventional sacrifice.)
- Sketch show The Burkiss Way subverts this trope in an episode sending up the Trojan Wars.
(King Priam) We need to propriate the gods. Where's the official virgin sacrifice?
(Perky female voice) There was one here a moment or two ago, sir!
(King Priam) Damn!
- FATAL: Requires virgin sacrifice. And recent rape victim sacrifice, and infant sacrifice, and...
- The Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition supplement The Book of Vile Darkness has a mechanic for evil spellcasters to make sacrifices to gain bonuses to spells. One option increases the sacrifice's power if the victims is "pure", in whatever sense the DM deems appropriate (i.e. whatever most fits the person the PCs need to rescue).
- Cards Against Humanity has the white card throwing a virgin into a volcano.
- In Euripides's The Trojan Women and Hecuba, the Trojan princess Polyxena was sacrificed at the demand of Achilles' ghost.
- In Euripides' Heracleidae, the children of Hercules seek sanctuary. The Athenians intend to protect them, but grow reluctant when the oracle says they must sacrifice a noble maiden to succeed. One of Hercules' daughters, Macaria, volunteers for the role.
- The Golden Calf scene in the Schoenberg opera Moses and Aaron includes the sacrifice of four naked virgins.
- In I'm Sorry the Bridge Is Out, You'll Have to Spend the Night, Dr. Nasser needs a virgin sacrifice for his mummified pharaoh. Turns out that it doesn't have to be a woman; he's more than happy to use hapless protagonist John Wellgood upon discovering that he's the only virgin around (which takes John aback when this is revealed to him, as he believed that his fiancée Mary Helen was also a virgin).
- Happens Twice in Romancing SaGa:
- Early on in the game, during the Quest "A Suspicious Demise": Humans that worship Saruin sacrifice virgin women to gain power; you can stop them mid-ceremony.
- And later on, during the "Water Dragon Rite" Quest, Daughter of Kjaraht's potentate is captured and offered to Strom, one of the 4 Elemental Lords; you can free her, but it involves a very annoying Chain of Deals or killing Strom. Killing Strom is much easier than having to go about his request.
- In the introduction of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, a group of cultists, led by the dark priest Shaft, sacrifices a woman to revive Dracula.
- The Fatal Frame series uses this as a major element, with a sacrificed maiden linked to a dark ritual that failed. Her cursed spirit serves as the Big Bad for each game.
- Fatal Frame: The Rope Shrine Maiden and the Blind Demon, a pair of Mikos sacrificed to seal a gate to hell. The last Rope Shrine Maiden, Kirie, fell in love and her ritual ended in failure.
- Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly: The Twin Shrine Maidens, usually teenaged girls (but sometimes boys) sacrificed to appease a hole into the underworld. One sister strangles the other to death.
- Fatal Frame III: The Tormented: The Tattooed Priestess, a miko inscribed with mystical tattoos containing the pain of worshipers' loss. When her body was fully covered, she would be crucified in a shrine deep within the temple as a sacrifice.
- Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse: The Vessel is actually a subversion, as she isn't intended to die during the ritual. Her death is actually a sign that the ritual has failed and very bad things are coming soon.
- Fatal Frame V: Maiden of Black Water: The Pillars, mikos sacrificed to purify the Black Lake once their Psychic Powers had been exhausted.
- An instance of a male Virgin Sacrifice is found in Ben Jordan case 3.
- In La-Mulana, you can see a never-ending procession of virgins plunging themselves into a spiked pit, which causes their blood to drip down and heal the Mini-Boss Shu.
- Blood Magic in Dominions can't use just any blood: it has to be virgins, and even then, most virgins aren't good enough for the job.
- A sidequest from Drakensang involves this. Namely, you have to stop the Too Dumb to Live Mayor from sacrificing a maiden to the Dragon Jafgur in an attempt to spare the village. However, if you decide to go straight to Jafgur and kill him, the mission is considered failed.
- The trope figures into the backstory of Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, along with some heavy-duty Celtic Mythology.
- Parodied in Guacamelee!. When Carlos Calaca states that he captured El Presidente's Daughter for this very reason, she awkwardly comments "Yeah... About that...".
- Nosferatu: The Wrath Of Malachi: The Count needs to sacrifice a virgin aristocrat (i.e. Rebecca) at dawn to unseal Malachi. He succeeds.
- The webcomic Jack Of All Blades features the "party member who is not actually a virgin" twist and the male virgin sacrifice in the following strip. Oh, and the villains make the sacrifice to summon a god that will destroy the world.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Subverted: when a female sacrifice mentions that she's not a virgin, her captors explain that their god (which, for the record, is a handpuppet) prefers sacrifices who have "been around the block a few times".
Lien: Damn it, how does my mother keep being right about this stuff?
- Also, V is encouraged by an imp to use virgin's blood as a means of strengthening a spell. V rejects this recommendation, partly on moral grounds, but mostly because there aren't any virgins to be had on the deserted island where this conversation takes place.
- During a battle with Roy, Sabine mentions that she and Nale plan to sacrifice his corpse on a desecrated altar. "We should get like nine months of evil happiness by eating your heart. Twelve, if you're a virgin." (Though he's not.)
- Subverted: when a female sacrifice mentions that she's not a virgin, her captors explain that their god (which, for the record, is a handpuppet) prefers sacrifices who have "been around the block a few times".
- Played with in the cross-over of Clan of the Cats and College Roomies from Hell!!!, where a spell requires the sacrifice of two were-beasts and a "virgin for better digestion".
- Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic has one character barely escaping such a sacrifice in the flashback. The page is called "A Wolfish Smile". We already saw this smile, since it was the start of Wolf's long career...
- One item on Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG: When a ritual requires a virgin sacrifice, may not look knowingly at the Paladin, Monk, Hermetic Magician, or Hacker.
- Subverted in lonelygirl15, in which it turns out that whether or not the victim actually is a virgin makes no difference to the ceremony, and the "purity bond" is just religious mumbo-jumbo to keep the victims in line.
- Played with in the Hitherby Dragons episode "Angus' Bad Day": Apparently, in a pinch, it doesn't really matter if the person whose blood is being spilt is a virgin, so long as the implement with which the blood is being spilt has never had sex.
- Whateley Universe example: in "Ayla and the Grinch", when a demon wants to bring itself further into this reality using a sacrifice of multiple virgin girls, but it is in Los Angeles, it goes to... a local Miss Teen U.S.A. pageant.
- The Evil Over Lord List, rule 214: 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 first season of Carmilla centers around girls at Silas University going missing with no explanation, with the school obviously trying to cover it up. It eventually comes out that Carmilla's mother, the Dean, has been sacrificing girls to the Deep One for centuries, forcing Carmilla and her other children to help. One of this year's targets is Laura — who Carmilla falls in love with. The trope is then subverted when the Dean offers Carmilla a deal — if Carmilla keeps Laura from intervening any further, she'll take Kirsch in her place. Carmilla is confused, since she thought the ritual required female virgins, when Kirsch is neither, to which her mother replies, "What? Oh. You've been reading Berkely's translations. That man was obsessed. No, we only take girls because it's traditional."
- It appears that the tribe of sewer-dwelling mutants have taken to worshipping a monster who lives in the drains as a god, believing a virgin sacrifice will prevent mass-scale slaughter. Leela volunteers as the sacrifice to draw what she thinks is Nibbler out - only to be derisively mocked. ("Nice try, Leela. But we've all seen Zapp Brannigan's webpage.") It transpires that there's no one else available, however, meaning they have to use her anyway: "So when El Chupanibre comes to take the (airquotes) 'virgin'..."
- Leela has had to escape been offered as a sacrificial lamb other times (she has the worst luck) like in "The Problem With Popplers," but it's usually for other reasons.
- Also in "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", when the governments of the world decide to crack down on the Trekkie movement for becoming too powerful, they bump them off in the manner befitting virgins. Cue two men tossing Trekkies into a volcano, saying "He's dead, Jim... He's dead, Jim..."
- Drawn Together. Toot Braunstein is stranded on an island and eating everything in sight. The natives use up all their virgins appeasing her, so they have to resort to using the sluts.
"NO! I gave that beast my daughter, I will not give it my wife! (That's right, I know. I've always known.)"
- An early episode of Johnny Bravo has Johnny being offered as a virgin sacrifice by a tribe of Amazons. Johnny reacts with an offended "Virgin?". Furthermore, the volcano he's thrown into for that explodes in apparent disgust at soon as he's in, with all the implications that carries.
- A flashback on The Critic showed Jay Sherman and his then wife sunbathing on a tropical island on their honeymoon. He is then approached some of the island natives:
Tribal Leader: I'm sorry Jay, but to appease the volcano we must sacrifice a virgin.
Jay: (to his wife) Did you have to tell everybody?
(next scene: Jay is tossed into the volcano)
Jay: I'm HOT!
(The volcano erupts as Jay is "rejected")
Jay: (present day) After that, they had ten years of pestilence and plague!