a not so new way to raise money

From US News & World Report and the San Francisco Examiner and other sites.

Paying for grad school isn’t easy, so Natalie Dylan (not her real name) is auctioning off her virginity and so far, the bidding is up to more than $3 million. I’m pretty impressed, although I’m not clear on why being someone’s first time is worth so much. I can see how some folks would say she’s cute, but that’s a heck of a lot of money.

One thing that I find so interesting about this is the response in the blogosphere. The blogger on US News & World Report said “[T]here are a multitude of student aid options that do not involve selling one’s body. (How about a Stafford loan?)” There’s two things I find compelling about this. First- sex work is NOT selling your body. How can you sell something and still have it when you walk away? sex work is selling your services, not unlike being a server in a restaurant, a doctor, or a car mechanic. Second, think about the difference between a Stafford loan that you might take 30 years to pay off or having sex with someone once and being able to pay for your education. That’s a pretty big difference.

But coming back to the emphasis on virginity, I’ve never really understood it. I mean, if you’re going to hire a caterer, wouldn’t you value someone with experience over a newbie? Sure- there was a time when female virginity meant both assurance of paternity and safety from sexually transmitted infections, but these days, both of those can be verified without requiring virginity. And when it comes down to having fun, hot sex, you’re much more likely to get that with someone who knows what they’re doing, aren’t you?

Of course, this could all be nothing more than a publicity stunt. Natalie already has a book deal, so maybe this is all going to go away. Whatever she chooses to do, she’s already had her 15 minutes of fame. I’m curious to see where this goes from here. And there are some interesting legal questions to be answered. She’s planning on having sex at the Bunny Ranch so getting paid for sex won’t be a problem, although some bloggers are speculating about the legality of soliciting for it online.

In any case, I wonder if this will be the sort of “flavor of the moment” thing that only works when it’s new, or whether we’ll start seeing more offers like this. Only time will tell…

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