In 2009, a 22-year-old California college graduate auctioned her virginity online, offering her body to bidders nationwide and garnered a winning bid of 3.7 million dollars. Despite the craziness of the endeavor, a 20-year-old Brazilian woman has followed in the Californian’s footsteps and has been auctioning off her virginity over the last few weeks, closing the auction at $780,000.
Both women claim “business impetus” as their chief motivation for the auction and purportedly, the Californian intends to include the auction as part of her master thesis on gender studies and the Brazilian intends to donate as much as 90% of the auction to build homes in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. This business manipulation of women’s virginity, combined with a “higher” purpose for the project raises some curious questions about what is appropriate and permissible when it comes to the commensuration of sex and sexuality with monetary commodities.
More interestingly, however, is a foil to the Brazilian woman, her male counterpart on the same website, Alex Stepanov, only brought in $3000 for his virginity. It begs the question, what is it that differentiates male and female virginity and what does it say about societal expectations when it values female virginity so much more than male ones?