How Much Is Virginity Worth?
But Australian filmmaker Justin Sisely has decided to find out exactly how much virginity is worth, by getting two young adult volunteers to sell theirs off for the public good.
“This is going to be a good opportunity because I can hopefully change the way we think about sex in society,” says Catarina, the 20-year-old Brazilian woman who put her virginity up for auction on Sisely’s website, VirginsWanted.com. 21-year-old Alexander joins her, though the highest bid for his virginity so far is a mere $2,000, just 10% of the $20,000 fee the two virgins received for participating.
The bid for Catarina’s, on the other hand, is currently up to half a million dollars. (The first public bid for the prize was for $1.)
Though Sisely and Catarina insist that the project is about questioning sexual mores, the contest itself is unquestionably heteronormative, with the rules stating, “The penis entering the vagina defines consummated sex,” and the “Virgin Sex Terms and Conditions” including the bizarre, Pretty Woman-esque touch that “the winning bidder cannot kiss the virgin.”
The rules also highlight the stark gender inequality involved in the assumptions underlying the auction. In addition to Catarina’s virginity being far more highly priced than Alexander’s, her body is also far more publicly scrutinized: he just needs to have two family members vouch for his virginity; she has to undergo a rigorous medical exam and be medically certified a virgin by a gynecologist, who will then turn over her records to the purchasing bidder.