For most normal people, it was lost in a brief and disappointing moment as a teenager on a pull-out bed or bus stop bench with someone that no longer even features as a Facebook friend. Nowadays, it’s possible to lose your virginity it in exchange for six-figure sums in a private jet in international airspace. Don’t believe me? Think this sounds like the fever dream of an Essex teenager? Well, listen to this. 20 year-old Brazilian chica Catalina Migliorini is auctioning that most precious of all things (except platinum, diamonds, enriched plutonium, a toddler’s smile, a shoe full of puppies and so on), her virginity.
In fact, the whole thing is the brainchild of Australian filmmaker Justin Sisely, the man behind the project, a documentary film entitled Virgins Wanted. The premise is very simple – you, a virgin, will audition for a spot on the Virgins Wanted website, where any interested parties can bid cold hard cash for the dubious honour of being able to take your virginity (for money… I’ll just repeat that). Except auditions are now over, having been held originally in 2009, and the virgins have been chosen. Oh yes, that’s right – there’s two, and one’s a man from Russia called Alexander Stepanov.
Once the auction finishes, and all the ‘pre-flight checks’ have been completed, the lucky two will be put on a private jet that flies from Australia to the United States, thereby theoretically bypassing prostitution laws, probably in a manner similar to how international waters are popularly but wrongly believed to be free from the law. On this flight, they’ll have sex with the winning bidder, after which they’ll be awarded $20,000, for their participation in the documentary, and 90% of the winning bid.
The whole project has been in the pipeline for years, and was originally supposed to take place in Las Vegas, at pimp and entrepreneur Denis Hof’s famous brothel, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch. This was ultimately stymied by pesky US prostitution laws. In this video, the first of – presumably – three parts of a trailer released by Sisely’s Thomas William Productions Youtube account, we can see Alexander and the original choice for the lead female role. It ends with the somewhat unsurprising reactions of the girl’s father – “No [x25], this is crap, you’re kidding, you’re kidding us” and, to the cameramen, “Guys, you’re out” – as she tells her parents that she’s going to sell her virginity online. This video was put up on Youtube five days ago and the other two parts aren’t out yet. Oh Justin Sisely, you tease.
In a 2009 interview, Sisely talked up the film’s artistic qualities, saying that it’s an exploration of the commodification of human beings. Later in the same interview, he goes on to say that: “It’s exploiting human beings. Absolutely.” Whether art, exploitation or both, what’s obvious is that this documentary is going to polarise opinion, whether it’s puffing you up with moral or religious indignation or leaving you staring indifferently at your computer screen thinking “so what?”. In an interview with Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paolo (oddly the only interview that she’s done), Catalina said: “For me, it’s not prostitution. When someone does something once in his or her life, this is not considered a profession. If you take a picture and it comes out good, you are not a photographer because of it.”
She professes, too, that she’s doing it for the poor in her area of Santa Catarina. Is it still prostitution if you use the money to help the poor combat poverty and improve their lives? Well… yes. Yes it is.
Bidding currently stands at $190,000 for Catalina, and $1,300 for poor old Alexander. Winners will be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and be required to wear a condom. Somewhat unromantically, there’s no kissing allowed and you can’t use sex toys, be drunk, involve anyone else or record it, so we’ll just have to use our imaginations. For further information on the rules of engagement, read the grisly terms and conditions.
Whatever you think, whether it’s disgusting and sad or kind of hot, it certainly raises a few awkward questions about prostitution and the increasingly blurred line between entertainment and illegal exploitation.
Or, of course, it could all just be a hoax. It’s certainly not legal, and the claim that international airspace is free of prostitution laws is dubious at best.
*Assuming it’s not, the Virgins Wanted auction continues until the 15th of October 2012 at midnight AEST (GMT+10).
Tenuously linked main picture: La Vierge les vierges (‘The Virgin among the virgins’), Gerard David