Auctioning Your Virginity Off to Help the Poor

This is my first post on my views on prostitution, or rather, the right to sell sex as a service. In the United States it is illegal to be paid for sex, or to pay someone for sex. You can however be paid, or pay someone to be filmed having sex. That’s not even the point though to me. You’re legally allowed to be paid for doing everything else with your body, but not sex. To me, there is no inherent difference between being paid to give someone a massage and being paid to have sexual intercourse with someone.

It’s also a false concept to say that legal prostitution victimizes women, it actually does the exact opposite: it empowers them. Case in point is the story of Catarina Migliorini from Brazil (from The CW39 Houston):

Two years ago, Catarina Migliorini saw an ad for an Australian documentary called “Virgins Wanted”. The production was looking for participants willing to auction off their “first-time”… Catarina decided she would be open for it, and applied claiming that some of the proceeds from her deflowering will go to helping the poor in her hometown of (oddly enough) Santa Catarina.

Now she’s hot on the market and the price for her purity is soaring. So far, the person who wants in on the action the most and holding the highest bid of $160,000

Key takeaways are in bold. No one forced this woman to sell of her virginity, and now she stands to make upwards of $160,000 for it. Here’s the real kicker, a portion of that money will go towards housing developments in her hometown. Not only was this was entirely her choice, it is going to help numerous other people. Nothing but positives in this, as the entire thing is built around consent.

I find it ridiculous that any government has the right to tell a woman (or man) that they can’t profit off of their sexual existence. As long as prostitution is illegal, you will continue to hear horror stories of woman being controlled by pimps, men beating them up with no recourse, and a society that views prostitutes as lesser people. Expect more on this topic from me.


7 thoughts on “Auctioning Your Virginity Off to Help the Poor

  1. “It’s also a false concept to say that legal prostitution victimizes women, it actually does the exact opposite: it empowers them.”

    I don’t think this sentence should be taken as an absolute. You need to differentiate between those who entered and participate in the trade voluntarily, and those who were forced into it by either literal force or circumstance. That said, as you make clear in the article, the prohibition of prostitution opens up a clear black market for human sex trafficking. In the case of this young woman, I applaud her decision to take control of her own body and use her proceeds towards a positive end. Kudos to her!

  2. As someone who also fights for ending the prohibition of sex work, and recognizing/respecting the individual agency of sex workers, I find this article problematic for a few reasons. I’ll say two of them here.

    First, to say that ALL sex workers find empowerment in their work is not true. Many sex workers have experienced sexual assault, trauma, exploitation, depression, and interpersonal and state violence, while many more suffer from coercive community/family neglect, stolen wages and preventable disease transmission due to forced unsafe sex practices. It is important to remember that sex workers are a very diverse group, rendering totalizing blanket statements such as “It’s also a false concept to say that legal prostitution victimizes women, it actually does the exact opposite: it empowers them” moot and likely offensive; many do find empowerment and joy in sex work, while many fall into harmful states of depression, anxiety and self-hate which can lead to violence, addiction and suicide.

    Second, sex work as we know it follows many of the same rules as the economic system that governs it: namely, capitalism – despite its place within the black market. You contend that sex work is always a choice – I think you are very wrong, not because I don’t believe sex workers decide their occupation, but instead because “choice” under capitalism is a false concept. When existing in a state of systemic, chronic poverty – as Catarina’s home community is, in part due to centuries of continued Western imperialism – making decisions in order to survive CANNOT be equated with “choice,” which implies that one is making a non-coerced decision from an array of possible options based purely on their desires. Many people make decisions when in dire times which they would not otherwise if they could avoid it – the choice to engage in sex work is no different. This is NOT ALWAYS choice, it is often coercion, a specific type of violent coercion which is an essential part of the “free” market. How many people would continue to engage in sex work if they hadn’t existed in chronic poverty, been disenfranchised from other employment due to lack of education/incarceration, being strapped by debt, lacking healthcare, etc etc?? Many would, but many would not.

    My point is this: in order for sex work to truly become choice, first the economic disparities inherent to global capitalism that drive today’s domestic injustices must be eliminated. Then, in a non-coercive economic system, could we see the emergence of a whole industry of truly empowered sex workers making real choices. Until then – since that’s obviously a long way off – we need to defend the rights and lives of all sex workers, while recognizing that some sex workers would love to leave the profession if it was economically possible. In a movement to end sex worker criminalization, sex workers and allies like myself must fight economic injustice as hard as we fight to change sex work laws, and defend both those wishing to remain in sex work, as well as those wishing to leave, for whom advocates must work to provide the necessary resources and tools for them to do so.

    Thanks for writing this, it is certainly thought-provoking.

    1. I really appreciate all the insight you’ve given me. Admittedly, I haven’t followed the sex workers rights movement as much as I should, based on my views on the subject. I understand that in legal systems women still can be victimized and coerced into sex work, but I was trying to make the point that criminalized prostitution inherently victimizes women, and that a legal system wouldn’t inherently do that. Of course there is no perfect system that ensures no one is being harmed or forced into a choice, but I do believe capitalism, with proper regulation offers the closest to that we can get.

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