Catarina Migliorini, a 20-year-old Brazilian college student who wants to make a "positive impact on the world," has found a curious way of doing it: Auctioning her virginity online. The winning bid of $780,000 was made by a Japanese man named Natsu, and Migliorini will reportedly donate the bulk of the money to a Brazilian initiative that builds homes for poverty stricken families. Here, a guide to this curious mash-up of the prurient and the philanthropic:
Really, a virginity auction?
Yes. The auction is part of an in-progress documentary called Virgins Wanted, produced by Australian filmmaker Jason Sisely, which follows men and women trying to get beyond that most intimate of human milestones. Two years ago, Migliorini, a physical education student, answered an advertisement seeking virgins and has been one of the documentary's subjects ever since. This past month, people from all over the world bid on her chastity, along with that of a Russian male counterpart. Fifteen bids came in for Migliorini's chastity — from Brazilians, Americans, and Australians — but Natsu's bid of $780,000 ultimately prevailed on Oct. 24.
So a man auctioned his virginity as well?
Yes, 21-year-old Alexander Stepanov offered up his innocence as well, but he wasn't nearly as successful. Eight people, mostly Brazilians, placed bids for Stepanov's virginity, which ultimately sold for only $3,000.
And how will these transactions take place?
First, the virgins must "prove" their chastity. Migliorini will be subjected to a rigorous gynecological examination, "providing the winning bidder with medical evidence of her virginity." Meanwhile, Stepanov's bidder will basically have to just "take his word for it," says Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett at the Guardian. Not that there is "really any medical way to prove" a woman's virginity either. The successful bidders are allowed to remain anonymous but will be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Assuming they get the all clear, the respective couples will hook up in international air space aboard a flight from Australia to the U.S. to avoid local prostitution charges. Sex toys are forbidden, but a condom is compulsory. The documentary makers won't film the act itself, but will interview the subjects before and after coitus.
And Migliorini is actually donating her winnings to charity?
That's what she claims. After the filmmakers take their cut, she will receive $722,000 — 90 percent of the auction price, plus a fee of $20,000. She will reportedly donate that amount to efforts to build homes for impoverished families in her home state in Southern Brazil. She says she should not be confused with a professional sex worker. "If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute," she says, "just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer." Which, "isn't quite the same thing at all," says Taylor Berman at Gawker, "but okay."