A Case of False Advertisement?

Not long ago, I stumbled across an article about a 19-year-old student from New Zealand who had put her virginity up for auction to pay for her education, supposedly agreeing on a sum of roughly $32,000 USD. I would have liked to have been shocked by the story, but I wasn’t. My lack of shock wasn’t due to having already heard of the case of 22-year-old Natalie Dylan (more about her later), but more so due to the fact this is actually a pretty familiar story.

Many female college students have worked in strip clubs and shed their clothes to earn money to pay for college.  Of course, I realize to compare selling your virginity to the highest bidder and stripping your way through college are two different things. Both are similar in that both cases involve the selling of a sexual act, with the difference being a matter of degree as opposed to being implicit in the acts themselves. We can already assume that western society, more or less, condones the selling of sex, since we are encouraged to purchase it in one form or another at almost every instant. So, what makes a case such as this all that special? Is it really because it would be the woman’s first time having full intercourse? And in this day and age, is that definition of “virginity” still applicable?

I think those people most appalled by this whole idea of one’s virginity being auctioned off are making the assumption that it will be this woman’s first sexual experience, period, which is a pretty broad assumption to make. Naturally there is risk involved in pursuing such business endeavors, but it should also be noted that in New Zealand prostitution is legal between consenting adults. Although this doesn’t relieve the young woman from any number of dangers, it does provide a basis for legal recourse should her transaction go badly.

But what about the flip side of this issue, by which I mean, as is pointed out in the article, the fact that procuring such high sums of money for a sexual act possibly obligates women who engage in such activities to perform acts outside a standard repertoire? Take the case of the abovementioned Natalie Dylan (whose story you can read about at the BitchBlog). Dylan was eventually offered $3.7 million for her virginity, and she had put it up for auction through the Bunny Ranch in Nevada. When regarding such large sums of money I have to ask myself whether the purchaser has lost his/her mind?!?! Also, when I see such figures thrown about, I am drawn back to the question I asked above: How are we defining “virginity” here?  Unless both women have abstained from everything beyond heavy petting (don’t see that phrase thrown around a lot anymore), I would question whether the buyer is really getting a “virgin”. Of course, operating along this logic, any lesbian that has stayed away from men all of her life (sexually speaking, that is) could potentially make the same claims to virginity as the two women in question, but we know that to do so would be just plain silly. So, in the end, unless the conditions of abstention were met, are we really dealing with a case of false advertising? Or to put it another way, are the winners (it was an auction after all) so totally deluded and prejudiced by an archaic view of sex that we should cheer these young women on in freeing the fools of the burden of wealth…especially the sucker paying $3.7 mil?

Okay, so either case is a little extreme; however, these stories do give us a portal into the minds of millions of westerners regarding their answer to the question “What is sex?” and informs us that we, as a whole, are still stumped by the question, having not come nearly as far as I would have hoped, given the broader implications of such thinking.

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