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Posted by on Jan 13, 2009 in Society | 4 comments

Free Market Forces and Virginity

Natalie Dylan is back in the news. The 22 year old student and aspiring Family and Marriage Counselor (!) had been seeking a way to pay for her Master’s Degree and decided to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder. The offers have now reached past $3.5M.

Miss Dylan, from San Diego, California, USA, said she was persuaded to offer herself to the highest bidder after her sister Avia, 23, paid for her own degree after working as a prostitute for three weeks.

She said she had had a lot of attention from a wide range of men, including “weirdos”, “those who get really graphically sexual about what they want to do to me” and “lots of polite requests from rich businessmen“.

Miss Dylan said she did not think it was particularly significant to be willing to sell your virginity and insisted that she was happy to undergo medical tests for any doubters.

She said: “I get some men who are obviously looking for a girlfriend but I try and make it clear that this is a one-night-only offer.”

Coming from a more libertarian perspective, I frankly don’t care whether or not the young lady auctions off her virginity, and if someone is foolish enough to pay her more than three million dollars for the somewhat dubious honor of deflowering her, that’s between the two parties in the contract as far as I’m concerned. But legal and moral questions are still sure to abound.

Miss Dylan is apparently a resident of California and, last time I checked, prostitution is still not legal anywhere in the state. Arguments that she is not engaging in prostitution but is selling her virginity as a commodity would likely fall on deaf ears in any court of law. Were that an acceptable defense then any hooker could claim they were simply renting out their body and Eliot Spitzer’s life would be a lot easier. On the other hand, once you have 3.5 million in your pocket you can afford some pretty good lawyers. Beyond that, the penalty for the crime of prostitution, particularly for a first time offender with no other priors, is so light that she could probably plead no contest to the charge and laugh all the way to the bank.

The moral outrage is predictable. Some will undoubtedly ask what sort of “example” this sets for other young women across the nation. To that, all I can say is that if your daughters are looking to an internet hooker as a role model you need to take a long hard look at your parenting skills. Give the girl her fifteen minutes of fame, a one time payday, and let her live with the consequences. If we’re to take her at her word she’s not going to be losing much sleep over it, (well… with the exception of one night, of course) and we can all get on with our lives.

UPDATE: I stand corrected on the legal aspects by James Joyner, who points out that the “sale” will take place in Nevada at a legal brothel.

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