Selling What’s Priceless

WARNING: This post contains content that may be offensive to some readers. Discretion is advised.

You may have seen the story on the news this week: A 20-year old woman from Brazil, sold her virginity via online auction. The final price: $780,000, to a buyer from Japan. The highest bidder beat out five others who bid above $600,000 for “chance to bed the virgin,” as the Toronto Sun put it.

There are all kinds of stipulations and particulars attached to the auction. For example, Migliorini must be examined by a gynecologist and provide the winner with medical proof of her virginity. The winning bidder must submit to a medical exam and criminal background check, and cannot be intoxicated at the time of the “meeting.” There is absolutely no kissing permitted. Migliorini and the winning bidder will agree to the length of their rendezvous, though the rules for the auction clearly stated that “the minimum consummation time is one hour.”

There was, by the way, a young man who also auctioned his virginity. His was sold to a buyer from Brazil for $3,000.

Now, Migliorini says she intends to use the proceeds to start an organization that will serve the poor in Santa Catarina where she was born. In fact, she has pledged that at least 90% of the money will be used for that purpose.

She also says of what she did that she does not think of it as prostitution. That is interesting, since the definition of prostitution, according to, is “the act or practice of engaging in sexual intercourse for money.” It would seem that what Migliorini has done is exactly prostitution.

From a purely ethical and philosophical standpoint this topic could generate a very interesting debate. After all, I can imagine passionate and vehement arguments being made on all sides of the question of when, if ever, it is acceptable to sell oneself or one’s virginity. The fact that Migliorini purports to have noble intentions for the money makes the question all the more ripe for debate. Of course, the concept of buying and selling sex is not a new one; prostitution has been called the oldest profession. Big-budget movies starring major Hollywood players have addressed the topic of a one-time sexual rendezvous for a huge sum of money (Indecent Proposal).

The problem is, ones virginity is, short of life itself, perhaps the most valuable thing anyone possesses. Doesn’t it cheapen it to sell it, to surrender one’s most intimate moment to a complete stranger…for money? I would say yes, of course it does. But I would also suggest that we live in a world that has created the environment for this to occur. After all, sex has been devalued through a constant cultural shift. First sex was no longer something to be reserved for marriage. Then it wasn’t even important that sex be reserved for two people who were going to get married. After all, the argument went (and still goes) it is important to experiment and try it out before making (what is supposed to be) a lifelong commitment. It was not long before we moved into a “hook up culture,” with media of all kinds glamorizing the lifestyle of sleeping around and engaging in sex with lots of people, even complete strangers. Within that context, how can we fault Migliorini for at least putting a price on what our world has argued so long we should not treat as so valuable? Put another way, it is quite fascinating to ponder how she could cheapen something that so many give away every day for “free” by selling it for three-quarters of a million dollars.

This is what happens when we treat carelessly what God has designed to be special and beautiful and priceless.

I believe it was that great philosopher Yogi Berra who said, “Be careful. If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up there.” When it comes to the “sexual revolution” that has been going on around the world, I don’t think Yogi could have been much closer to the truth: No one stopped to consider where we were going, and now, here we are.