So what is it with people publicly selling their virginity nowadays? Have we sunk that far as a culture that people have to take the wonderful gift of sex and degrade it in such a way, just to get their 15 minutes of fame? Human sexuality is an intensely beautiful yet private affair – or at least should be.
Yet when it is paraded all over the world it is cheapened, coarsened, and dragged through the mud. Of course our culture as a whole has done a terrific job of trivialising sex, and turning this act into a mere circus sideshow. So these latest moves should not surprise us.
If you are not aware of what I am referring to, consider these two recent examples. The first concerns a Siberian teenager. The story goes like this: “A Russian teenager who sold her virginity through an online auction site has been given the go-ahead by police to seal the deal.
“The 18-year-old from Siberia, identified only as Shatuniha, posted an ad on the Russian auction site 24au.ru where she described herself as ‘new, not used’, reports Gawker. ‘I am in urgent need of money, so I am selling the most precious thing I possess,’ she wrote. ‘I am ready to meet up soon, even as soon as tomorrow, and I am ready to have my virginity verified. I can come to a hotel at Predmostnaya Square with a document confirming my virginity, and with a person who will take the cash and leave, so that I am not fooled’.
“The winning bidder has been identified as Evgeniy Volnov, who agreed to pay $27,950 – about $3000 above the original asking price. Russian police said the deal broke no laws, and they had ‘no right to give a moral assessment of [the] girl’s actions. This situation is neither an administrative nor a criminal violation,’ a police spokesperson told The Siberian Times.
“‘Nor does it fit into a description of the ‘Prostitution’ clause from the Code of the Administrative Violations.’ According to The Times, the same woman had previously offered up her virginity for cash on another site earlier this year, when she was 17 years old.”
Um, isn’t this called prostitution? Hey, there have been times when I urgently needed money. I did what most people do in such circumstances: I got a job. That is usually how one makes money. Sure, there are immoral ways of making money, like robbing banks. And so too in selling sex.
And an English example from last month is even more revolting. Consider this story: “A gay student plans to lose his virginity live on stage – all in the name of art. Clayton Pettet, a 19-year-old art student at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, plans to have gay sex in front of a crowd of between 50 and 100 people in London on Jan. 25, 2014, for a project called ‘Art School Stole My Virginity,’ according to the Daily Star. He and his anonymous partner will have sex until completion and then hold a Q&A with the audience afterward.
“His aim is to explore the ideal of virginity. ‘I’ve held on to my virginity for 19 years, and I’m not throwing it away lightly. Basically it’s like I am losing the stigma around virginity,’ he said, per the Daily Star. ‘I want the audience to see if anything has changed between me and my partner. Since culturally we do hold quite a lot of value to the idea of virginity I have decided to use mine and the loss of it to create a piece that I think will stimulate interesting debate and questions regarding the subject’.”
The report concludes: “This teenager is not the only young person to make headlines recently for doing something unorthodox with virginity. Last year, a 20-year-old Brazilian woman named Catarina Migliorini auctioned off her virginity for $780,000. She later told The Huffington Post the whole plan was hatched by the filmmaker of a documentary called ‘Virgins Wanted,’ and she said she felt victimized. She never actually got the money or had sex.”
So what can one say? One is left dumbfounded by the sexual perversion and moral freefall occurring all around us. The really tragic thing is nobody seems to be shocked by this sort of stuff anymore. No one seems to care and even raise an eyebrow about such things.
Our culture has reached such a point of moral and spiritual disintegration that we read an item like this in the newspaper as we would the daily weather report. Our capacity to exhibit some moral outrage at our decadent and dying society seems to have all but disappeared.
Many years ago now the American Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote an important article about “defining deviancy down”. We are so overwhelmed with deviance that the only way we can cope with it is to redefine it, make it seem normal and acceptable.
A bit later Charles Krauthammer wrote on similar themes: “As part of the vast social project of moral leveling, it is not enough for the deviant to be normalized. The normal must be found to be deviant.” Yes, that is about where we are now at today.
Of course all this is not new. Two and a half millennia ago the prophet Isaiah warned about this very thing: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20).
How many more young lives must be ruined before we wake up as a culture and start saying enough is enough?