Love & Sex

Inside the Mind of Elizabeth Raine, the Latest Woman to Auction Her Virginity on the Internet

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Inside the Mind of Elizabeth Raine, the Latest Woman to Auction Her Virginity on the Internet

She’s determined to go all the way.

By Therese Shechter

Virginity auctions have inspired endless tabloid titillation as well as sky-high bids like those for American Natalie Dylan ($3.7 million) and Brazilian Caterina Migliorini ($750K). Neither of those winning bidders were accepted, however. Now Elizabeth Raine, a 27-year-old American medical student, is entering the market, and she’s determined to go all the way, with a flashy website and a pledge to give a chunk of the proceeds to charity. 

I talked to Elizabeth Raine about the kind of guy who’d pay good money to be the “first penis in,” why you can’t prove a woman is a virgin, and how to negotiate boundaries when your first sexual experience is with a total stranger. 

Nerve: Tell me the particulars of your auction.
Elizabeth Raine: The auction will occur through my website. The bidding opens on April 1st, and will last for approximately one month, after which I will meet with the winning bidder to complete the transaction, if you will. The act itself will occur outside of the U.S. in a country where prostitution is legal. I am being careful not to break any laws. Australia is the working plan, but other options do exist.

Where do you draw the line on what you’re open to and not open to on your 12-hour date with the winner?
I think I am open to most things, except for anal sex and third party participants. However, my limits will probably depend on how comfortable I am with the gentlemen, what he wants, and how much he is paying me.

Are there any deal breakers where you'd call it off?
I would call it off if I didn't feel safe, for one reason or another.

How will you be negotiating boundaries? Is there a formal contract outlining your terms?
Boundaries will be negotiated well beforehand with the gentleman. There isn’t a formal contract yet, but when the time comes one will be drawn up that protects both parties. While I have thought a lot about my terms, they are still flexible.

How long have you been planning this auction?
I began thinking about this well over a year ago, when I sent my first email inquiry to a brothel in Nevada. I am juggling this project with my duties as a medical student, so it’s not moving at the most rapid pace. 

I read on your blog that you were inspired by Natalie Dylan.
When I first heard about her auction as it was happening, I probably had the same snap negative reaction as everyone else, but about a year ago I happened to come across her interview on Tyra. I was very impressed by how self-assured she was. She clearly knew herself very well and her limits, and she was a step ahead of everyone who was judging her, including me.

Tyra said something about her looking hot, and therefore not like a virgin.
What exactly does a virgin look like? There are so many virgin stereotypes, and they are barely ever right. 

It's like, if you're hot it's your duty to let guys have sex with you.
I think it's sad because it plays into the idea that women just want to be desired by men.

Which brings me to the question of what “virginity” means to you. What are you auctioning?
I think losing virginity is having heterosexual intercourse for the first time. If you are referring to another type of intercourse it needs to be clarified, for instance “I lost my oral virginity.”

So what do you think the appeal or fascination is for a guy? What do you think they think they’re buying?
For some reason or another it is a sexual fantasy [to have a virgin]. In some cases, I think they want to take on the role of sexual teacher. In others, they just want to try something new. And then there are some men who are just attracted to the idea of an untouched woman. 

I always assumed it was the desire for “first penis in” like planting your flag on uncharted territory or something. 
Men are very competitive and territorial creatures.

I sometimes think that if men are stupid enough to pay for a social construct, let them.
I can't disagree with that.

I really hate the mythology virginity auctions perpetuate. As long as there hasn't been a penis inside a woman, she and her body have value. But once that happens, she has none. No one auctions off the second time they have intercourse. 
Well that's not necessarily true, women with all levels of sexual experience are selling sex somewhere. I'm not saying that makes it right, but I do think it is more of a continuum than you think. Men preferring less 'promiscuous' women is not a phenomenon limited to virgins.

They are, but adding the #virginity seems to increase the value exponentially. I'm not sure Natalie would have gotten much interest if she had already had intercourse and was offering the second time to a lucky bidder. Do you?
I agree the value is inflated. Here is one more idea: The first time is a mystery. So, being in the position of the virgin, if you are going to lose it under these circumstances, it should pay well. 

The odds are slim on this, but what if your gentlemen isn't actually interested in intercourse? Will you do it some other way? Or like Caterina Migliorini, do another auction?
I do think the odds are very slim, and I hope this possibility would become apparent in pre-meeting negotiations. But should it happen, I really don't know what I would do. I do not like the idea of a second auction at all, but I can't rule it out. My first move would probably be to contact some of my other bidders to see if they are still interested. If not, then I would probably just lose it on my own. Still a sexual adventure, just an unpaid one.

You’ve said you haven’t gone past First Base, as we used to say in junior high, and can provide evidence of your virginity. As an almost-doctor, I'm surprised you'd say that. I have yet to speak to a physician that says you can prove anything.
It’s important to clarify upfront is that it is absolutely a false and dangerous misconception that if a woman is a virgin it can be proven. Hymens tear, some hymens are small, some women are even born without them. But, having said that, cases exist in which a woman is in possession of a hymen that is apparent and does not tear until intercourse. I happen to be one of those cases.

It puts some dangerous messages out there every time a virginity auctioner states a gynecologist can give her the seal of approval, so to speak. I just got my umpteenth email from a frantic girl who is sure her future husband will know she's not a virgin because she won't bleed or feel tight.
Yes, and that is really unfair to women, especially in cultures that value virginity. That's why I think it is really important to spread the medical facts on hymens. 

What was your family's first reaction when you told them?
My parents were very cool with it (my brother is another story), but I definitely cushioned the blow. I wrote my father a 5-page letter detailing my plans and explaining my reasoning. I wasn't there when he read the letter, but as far as I can tell he didn't blink. He said it was an interesting idea, encouraged me to be smart and patient with the process, and said he was with me no matter what the outcome. It was really remarkable and really moving.

And your brother?
Well, he is much more conservative than the rest of my family, so he had some very loud moral objections. There was an argument, but it is in the past now. He is not any part of this experience.

How much money do you think you'll get?
I have no idea. A small part of me is even worried no one will bid. But, having said that, I am aiming big.

So since you're aiming big: 35% is going to charity? And the rest is for you?
15% will go to my agent, and I will keep half.

You seem financially secure, and surely there are other ways to get the excitement you want in your life that won't involve having sex with some creeper in a hotel room. Not judging. Just curious.
I am financially secure and there are of course other opportunities for excitement and growth, but this was still too good of an opportunity to pass up. It is still money, whether or not I need it, and trust me when I tell you this is quite the experience. And I am not at all bothered by the idea of one night in a hotel room with a stranger.

How are you preparing for your first time having intercourse?
I suppose talking to friends mostly.

What advice have you received?
Just be yourself.

What kind of protection will you use?
Condoms and/or an STI screening, and also verification of the bidder's identity and I will probably require a deposit.

Why do you want to have intercourse?
It's time.

Who is the first person you'll tell?
My roommate, who is also one of my best friends.

And finally, if you could do it for the first time with anyone, fictional or real, who would it be?
With the person who will pay the most, whoever he may be.

That’s good business! People usually say Ryan Gosling.
No, no, not him. Unless he pays.

Therese Shechter is the director of the documentary How To Lose Your Virginity and has spent a whole lot of time thinking and writing about virginity auctions.

Image via Elizabeth-Raine.com