Any good literary analyst can tell you that books are snapshots of the time period they’re produced in, in spite of whenever or wherever the book takes place.
I knew that the writing style of historical romances circa the 1970s/1980s was different than the 1990s and then the 2000s. The 70s/80s romance novels (historical or contemporary) were post second-wave feminism. The tales from the 80s were skewed more toward dark, violent and tragic. The 90s retained this grittiness but riding on the third wave of feminism were less abrasive in their violence toward women, and more about making women into complex characters. The 90s met the take-charge heroine, and so came the fall of the damsel in distress heroine. In the 2000s, there was a shift to fetish virginity and attach it to nobility of character and a dire need to make a martyr of the heroine with her always trying to save orphans, poor people and fallen women in the most conflated ways.
These are the trends I’ve noticed in the pop fiction, which really says a lot about the evolution of the perception of women by other women over the last two decades. The current trend skews toward martyrdom and I believe that comes with the more pseudo-sentiment of community we’ve been espousing for the last few years. The virgin excitement may come from a generation that is used to people not being virgins and finding that era’s norm a peculiarity.
I found these little things worth noting, because they really offer an insight into how women perceive themselves and how the values of a culture change over time.