I'm all for everyone doing their own thing so long as there is informed consent, but this skeezed me out. Putting such a ridiculously high price on what is truly a figmment of human imagination is...weird to me. This whole concept kind of rubs me the wrong way.
Also, if she's an American/Californian citizen, wouldn't this be prostitution, and so, illegal?
I found it interesting that an Australian is 'in the lead'. I know prostituion in certain forms is legal is Australia; does he really think sex with a Natalie, a virgin, is going to be 1) that much better/different than sex with a professional sex worker 2) worth over two million dollars?
(I really don't love how the author keeps alluding to her breasts...and ugh, there's that 'P' word again!)
-------------------- “I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.” --John Waters Posts: 205 | From: Bay Area, CA | Registered: Oct 2007
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What's funny is she could do that and not even really be a virgin. It's impossible to verify whether someone is a virgin or not by looking at their vagina. Not that I'm saying she's lying, I'm just saying there's no telling either way.
By the way, what's up with the virginity obsession? I get it, but at the same time, I don't. It's so sexist and backwards. Someone who desires a virgin that much probably has a poor understanding of a woman's anatomy and will question her claim because of a lack of hymen and/or blood loss.
I thought she was from the UK? "I don't remember it saying where she's from. But, yeah, that's illegal in California.
Interesting side note, once my friends tried to auction off one of our friend's virginity (as a joke) on craigslist and it was taken off within the hour.
-------------------- Learning about sex from pornography is like learning about physics from action movies. Posts: 9 | From: California | Registered: Jan 2009
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Interesting to see the way it has been advertised - her virginity is supposedly 'priceless' and yet it's being given a price, she has a degree in women's studies (!) and also it is a 'gift' - why is it a gift, when you're buying it?
Also raises the question of whether you consider selling sex okay or not, and if you do, under which conditions.
'she was happy to undergo medical tests for any doubters' - what tests?!
I'm going to be a bit provocative with this topic -- to see how we might not broaden perspectives -- and suggest that it's worth considering how many women, through all of history and today DO literally "sell" their virginity or their bodies for a price.
Now, sometimes, that is or has been a monetary price, though it's safe to say infrequently anything close to as high as this young woman and others like her are fetching (and is that better or worse to get valued as more or less?). But dowries, for instance, not even paid to a woman, but to her FATHER, by a husband, were very common for eons, and a woman whose husband was also purchasing a virgin bride would always be worth more dollars.
How many women "sell" their sexuality or bodies to husbands in marriage agreements, and continue to do so with obligatory or one-sided sex for basic needs or comforts?
Is any of this different than this story? If so, I think it might be interesting or helpful to talk about how.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 63428 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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A couple of months ago, a young American woman using the pseudonym Natalie Dylan got the bright idea to pay for her studies by auctioning off her virginity through a Nevada bunny ranch, thereby guaranteeing the transaction would be legal, safe and well publicized. Natalie had completed her undergrad in women’s studies at Sacramento State but wanted to become a family and marriage counsellor and couldn’t continue her education without the appropriate funding.
Auctioning off one’s vaginal virginity (and the various virginity sub-categories, such as anal) through a brothel is nothing new: it’s been going on for as long as whorehouses have been around, most famously in Japan, where the deflowerer becomes a lifelong patron of the geisha. Sexist as it is, there is a civilized, time immemorial quality to the Japanese take on the deal. As George Michael sings in his salute to the hymen, “I’m Your Man,” if you’re going to do it, do it right.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before using the internet to facilitate the transaction became trendy. Sure enough, in 2004, an 18-year-old British student named Rosie Reid sold her straight virginity (Reid is a lesbian) to a 44-year-old divorced engineer for $15,000. Reid began by auctioning the item on eBay but was forced to move negotiations to a personal website when eBay withdrew her lot.
Women have also long been funding their academic and social betterment through sex and even before there were women’s studies courses on the sex trade, they used the same rationalizations taught by the whore-positive theorists: that sex work is intrinsically feminist, that we live in a capitalist culture and that they are merely providing a service without moral attachment. They are fully in charge and are using their sexual power for their own advancement as women.
Natalie, herself chock full of the latest truisms about sex and sex work feels this way about virginity: “It’s a socially constructed abstract thing of importance we preach to women to save and men to take. Having said that, that is why I think some men are so willing to pay huge money. In my psyche, I don’t subscribe to this idealized fantasy, which really boils down to a common, mundane act, hence the reason I have no problem with it whatsoever. I know this is a controversial move in our puritanical society, but what I hope everyone can agree on is that what is good for some is not for others. Everyone should have the common courtesy to live and let live.”
Such youthful idealism! But let’s face it, leaving people’s sexual choices alone is never going to happen because all almost everyone wants when it comes to the subject is to be right, which is why the message boards “discussing” Natalie’s choice are just boiling over with either scathing insults or you go girls.
Natalie, who herself predicted there would be a real divide, says, “The experience is fascinating — my thesis is basically writing itself, as you may have guessed!”
By the way, the crux of Natalie’s thesis is, “in a sense, pointing out the hypocrisy of people saying my actions are taking the feminist movement back when I am employing my own sexuality in a way where I feel rather empowered.”
Oh lord, not that old chestnut again. Natalie, trust me, your professors have heard it a million times, though I am sure there is something to losing your virginity on a bunny ranch that will benefit your career as a marriage counsellor.
I think we can all see the double standard in using feminism to profit off a patriarchal construct but despite this, I don’t think what Natalie is doing is not feminist. It’s just that when I think of sex work, feminism isn’t the first political issue that springs to mind. For many hookers — ones that get banged more than once anyway — the bigger issues are decriminalization and labour rights. Again, the banner of feminism is often unfurled from a privileged station, the one occupied by academics and women’s studies majors, though as a sex worker I’ve used it myself to bolster my choices and it certainly feels legitimate in an empirical setting. My body, my choice: feminism at its essence.
Natalie describes herself as “pro-sex” (a stance I find slightly amusing, considering she’s never had it) and insists that she feels that she is in the position of power because she gets to call all the shots. This is also interesting, the concept of using a stipulated position of non-power, sexual ignorance, to garner a position of power.
When I ask about her suitors, Natalie writes, “Men are very territorial creatures by nature and they love the idea of going ‘where no other man has gone.’ They want to be my first because they never want to be forgotten and I will not ever forget this experience. Most have not expressed concern over my sexual pleasure. To be quite frank, my pleasure derives from the money and they are aware of that.”
Natalie hits all the theoretical notes perfectly: our puritanical society, social constructs, idealized fantasies. But is she going to live up to the astronomical bids or is it going to be a “common, mundane act,” as she herself describes it, for the chosen man? She confirms that the rumours she’s been offered up to $3.8 million are true. That’s a lot of money. I mean, ****, you wouldn’t catch me slogging away at a hackneyed dissertation with several million in the bank, that’s for sure.
I’m left with one question and it’s this: why must we bring feminism into it at all? Do we feel so guilty being acquisitive that we need the women’s movement behind our desire to make money? In a way, and despite her capitalist claims, Natalie is simply pandering to the image of an apologetic woman unable to accept what has traditionally been reserved for men: the making of craploads of cash under contentious circumstances. Whatever the case, I would certainly have rather gotten $3 million than HPV my first go round.
Posts: 13 | From: Toronto | Registered: Dec 2008
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quote: How many women "sell" their sexuality or bodies to husbands in marriage agreements, and continue to do so with obligatory or one-sided sex for basic needs or comforts?
Is any of this different than this story?
I think what Natalie Dylan is doing is a little different. When I think of women “selling” their sexualities/bodies to husbands, there’s a certain lack of choice in that, of being a victim (which I HATE) of a patriarchal society. i.e. being female means that you are lesser than a human being, and that the only worth that you have is defined by your virginity (another patriarchal construct). So it's not a stretch (pun unintended) to put a price on that, as something men can claim and own. In a way, Natalie Dylan is doing something similar - i.e. she's playing into the construct of virginity as something men can claim and own, but the difference is, she's cashing in. By a lot. Just like any free market transaction, both the buyer and the seller benefit. That wouldn't be the case with women "selling" their bodies/sexualities to husbands, but it's something they have to do, and are obligated to do, and can be enforced with violence.
I'd be interested to know how this affects her emotionally and psychologically, and what she has to say after the fact. How is she going to look back on this 5-10 years from now - either as a really smart business move (which she seems to think of it for now), or something she'll regret? These are things you can't predict beforehand, but I'd be interested to know if her perspective doesn't change after she has that experience.
Posts: 13 | From: Toronto | Registered: Dec 2008
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I'm having conflicting thoughts on this, so I hope I can explain it adequately.
In my religion, virginity IS important. However, that's because sex is held as something sacred between only two people, ever (barring something like being widowed and remarrying). It's also supposed to be important for BOTH partners--not just the woman.
However, men who sometimes seem to have no sexual standards for themselves but desire sex with virgins just creep me out. To me, it's either something special to be treasured which shouldn't be bought or sold (despite history), or it's not and there shouldn't be a super big deal about it.
This kind of reminds me of high school, honestly. Early on girls who are waiting are sometimes regarded as weird. But as the years progress and it's obvious that a girl is purposefully waiting (not that she just can't "get some"), some guys almost desire girls like that or see it as a challenge. I just reference girls in this because I honestly didn't know girls who were so obsessed with "deflowering" guys. The girls who were attracted to virginity were the ones who were virgins (or at least at that point intending to wait, despite the past) themselves. But I just don't know what it was about that that guys desired. The only difference is inexperience and potential physical pain, right? Are they sadists? I just don't get it.
Posts: 81 | From: MO, USA | Registered: Mar 2003
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I think that this girl in the article concerned is very disresepectful of herself. Call me old fashioned but surely she should be having sex with someone she cares about and someone who also cares for her. Women are not sex toys for Christ sake!
Also who in their right mind would pay that much for sex and how is sex with a virgin better? This whole thing has completely baffled me. Yeah, she may be desperate for money find a job like the rest of us! Or just be a stripper or something, it's more respectful than selling yourself.
Well, this certainly brings up a whole mess of issues.
I mostly agree with her argument that it is empowering. As Heather noted, historically that sort of transaction only benefited men, where as here she is the one benefiting from the fiscal rewards. ULTIMATELY she is and should be free to do what she wants with her body and sexuality.
However I also agree with bluefreak that sex should be a sacred thing that happens between people who love each other. Not a service given for cash, however an extreme amount.
The amount is certainly extreme, but one has to note that unlike most whorings , this one has garnered a massive amount of attention. I'm sure every time an article is printed the price goes up $100,000. Certain men who value virginity in this way will have extra impetus to get that which has caught the attention of so many. For the few ultra-high bidders it will be more about using their wealth to gain a perception of masculinity, than the sex itself.
Posts: 21 | From: US West | Registered: Dec 2008
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