At the Popular Romance Studies: International Conference, organised by the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR), there was a brief discussion to explore this question: Are older under-represented in the romance genre? If so, why? Good questions.
The average age of heroine in U.S. romance novels is between 24-26 (and possibly younger in historical romance). And yet according to the Romance Writers of America RWA), the biggest slice of romance reader demographics is “women aged 31-49 who are currently in a romantic relationship.” (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/readership_stats#Readers**).
Could it be the same reason why the majority of readers prefer their heroines to be virgins or virginal: reclaim the innocence?
**The Age of Romance Readers
The mean and median age of romance novel readers is very close to that of the general population.
- Mean: 44.6 years
- Median: 44.9 years
Those aged 31 to 49 are more likely to read romance and comprise 44 percent of the readership.