Is a woman’s virginity worth $3.8 million? That’s how much a 22-year-old from San Diego, California, said she has been offered through an auction she announced in September.
If you think Dylan’s auction amounts to prostitution, she completely agrees. She also said she’s not breaking any laws — after all, prostitution in Nevada is legal.
“I feel people should be pro-choice with their body, and I’m not hurting anyone,” she said. “It really comes down to a moral and religious argument, and this doesn’t go against my religion or my morals. There’s no right or wrong to this.”
The idea that virginity has a high value harkens back to the days of early humans — if a man has sex with a virgin woman, he knows for sure that her children will be his, anthropologists reason. In early civilizations, women were also considered the property of men, said Laura Carpenter, assistant professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
Today, about 95 percent of Americans have sex before they’re 25, Carpenter said. But worldwide, virgin prostitutes can claim larger fees, certain cultures still attach larger dowries to virgin brides, and some women undergo reconstructive surgery to restore their hymens.
Brett Austin Vanderzee, a 19-year-old student at Oklahoma Christian University who has pledged to stay a virgin until marriage, finds Dylan’s actions somewhat appalling, but not shocking.
Others say there’s just too much hype around virginity. Martha Kempner, vice president for information and communications for the nonprofit Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., said telling a young woman to stay”pure” misses the point that sexuality will influence her long after she loses her virginity.
“By putting the emphasis there, [on virginity], we’re actually devaluing the rest of women, the rest of her, and the rest of her sexuality for the rest of her life,” she said.
“Honestly, even if I didn’t do this, I’d always be the girl who thinks prostitution is OK,” she said. “I would always want to find a partner that can accept me for me.”