Comment: What's happening to virginity?

Brazilian Catherine Migliorini, who auctioned off her virginity online last year, now says she wants to sell it again as the deal was never consummated. (AAP)

We live in a world where virginity is cherished by some, quickly discarded by others, and can be bought, bartered, mocked and doubted. Why? asks Renée Brack.

In a world where sex sells, it’s a paradox that virginity is so valuable.

Recently, 21-year-old Brazilian model Catarina Migliorini went back to market to re-sell her virginity because the first time didn’t work out.

A 53-year-old Japanese millionaire was the highest bidder in the online auction and agreed to pay $US780,000.

But it all went pear-shaped.  The 53-year-old millionaire turned out to be a 21-year-old prankster.  Catarina claims she was duped. So she set up a site and returned to the auction block for another go. The winning bid is announced December 10.

The simple definition of a virgin is: anyone who has not had sexual intercourse.  But there are many other factors that come into play such as religion and gender.

For women, an intact hymen may indicate virginity but not guarantee it.  Hymens can be tough little membranes or flimsy bits of skin that tear due to everyday activities.  Strangely, horse-riding is still the common explanation for a non-sexually torn hymen.

Now, modern culture is breaking virginity down into sections: oral virgin, anal virgin, vaginal virgin.

It is fetishized in numerous porn sites and publications such as Barely Legal.

I spoke with a prostitute who sold her virginity multiple times by using a daub of superglue to fake a hymen.

Bollywood actress Neetu Chandra doesn’t want to ‘die a virgin’.  The sexy siren is regularly mocked for claiming to be one.

According to a Durex Network study ‘The Global Face Of Sex’, the average age for first time sex is 17.25 years old.

Austrians were the youngest to lose their virginity at 17.3 years, then Brazilians (17.4), Germans (17.6), New Zealanders (17.8), Australians (17.9) and Americans (18.0).

Malaysians topped the age range at 23.0 followed by Indians (22.9), Chinese (22.1) and Japanese (19.4).

Virginity continues to be heavily marketed by the wedding industry with white dresses symbolizing purity, the lifting of the veil is a metaphor for the soon-to-be-gone hymen and there’s the property transaction of a father handing over his daughter to another man.

It will be interesting to see how society reacts when a new documentary soon lands on screens with the misleading title How To Lose Your Virginity.  It’s less of a guide on what to do and more of an exploration of the myths and reality surrounding the commodity of virginity featuring interviews with abstinence advocates, sex educators and true confessions from people revealing details about their ‘first time’.

Despite modern media marketing sex more than any other time in history, virginity is still highly valued and enforced all over the world.

In some parts of Asia, virginity is a form of sexual control and is treated a business asset.

Spokesperson for the Australian Federation Of Islamic Councils Keysar Trad said, ‘Virginity in terms of abstinence outside of marriage is part of our faith teachings.  Any form of sex outside of marriage is prohibited in Islam for both males and females.  There is a statement of prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, where he says:  whoever guarantees his mouth and his privates, he/she will be guaranteed paradise.’

As the separation of sexuality and religion continues in modern western culture, someone who is a virgin until marriage is more the exception than the rule.

It might be time to have more positive language surrounding virginity.  Let’s stop ‘losing’ it and start ‘giving’ it.

Renée Brack is a journalist, media producer and adventurer.

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