Prostitution is, they say, the oldest profession. But like every other profession out there, this changed with the advent of the digital age. Recently, in an odd but perhaps not unexpected turn of events, some enterprising people – generally women – have taken to selling their sexual debut to the highest bidder online. The ethics around the recent phenomenon of selling one’s first time online are at best confusing. As a one-off transaction, which has been seen to reap enormous financial dividends, these incidents have attracted enormous media attention – but the thorny issues surrounding the business of prostituion still apply to these cases, despite their unique nature.
As a society we tend to believe that sexuality is such a personal and private aspect of human life that it shouldn’t be commoditized, and as such many governments have established the act as illegal or at least heavily regulated. In Europe, prostitution is largely legalised, but with heavy restrictions on the circumstances around the transaction. In the U.S., it’s illegal in every state save for the noteable exception of Nevada. As is demonstrated in the very varied and complicated laws that exist around the act, the whole thing is far from being established as unambiguously right or wrong. Indeed, as well-loved American comedian George Carlin once famously asked, ‘why should it be illegal to sell something that’s perfectly legal to give away?’ The many possible answers to that question are deeply complex and undeniably personal. Whether or not we agree with the act of selling sexuality, though, the fact is that it happens – it always has, and probably always will. And now, with the internet serving to remove taboos as well as logistical and spatial restrictions, it happens in more creative, diverse and sometimes disturbing ways than ever before.
If you haven’t heard, an American medical student just sold her virginity in a highly publicised and controversial online auction for $801,000. Believe it or not, that immense figure falls pretty short of the record for this sort of bid. Yes, not only have others sold their first time before – some have even been far more successful in doing so.
What sort of people decide to do this, and what are the circumstances around this decision? To shed some light on this unusual phenomenon, here’s a rundown 5 of the most expensive virginities ever sold
Elizabeth Raine has since reneged on her agreement with the auction winner, who paid over $800,000, as he declined to submit to the vetting process.
5. Alina Percea: $14,900
“I was attracted to him, so I enjoyed it.” The then-18 year old Romanian teen sold her virginity to pay for her computing degree via a two-week web auction in 2009. The winning 45-year-old Italian businessmanreportedly flew her to Venice and showed her the sights before sealing the deal at a five-star hotel. “He told me he had a good job, but he didn’t say if he was married or had a family, and I didn’t ask him,” she told the Daily Mail. “I hope to see the man again. And next time I won’t make him pay!”
4. Shatuniha: $27,950