After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey

Website Virgins Wanted have ended biddings for the virginity of two participants. We reveal the results of our survey which asked readers their views on paying for sex.

Laura Davis
Thursday 25 October 2012 11:51 BST
Virginity auction
Virginity auction

Earlier this month we reported on Catarina Migliorini, a 20-year-old Brazilian woman who decided to auction off her virginity as part of a proposed documentary by Australian fimmaker Justin Sisley.

The winning bid has now been revealed; a Japanese man, of unknown age, known as "Natsu" has offered $780,000, and been accepted.

Migliorini originally said she was doing this for the poor, as she will donate a portion of the funds to her local community in Santa Catarina.

She will apparently be 'delivered' to her buyer on board a plane between Australia and the U.S. to make the act legal, being interviewed before and after the sexual act.

"If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer", said Migliorini.

"The auction is just business, I'm a romantic girl at heart and believe in love. But this will make a big difference to my area," she told Folha newspaper.

A man, Alex Stepanov, has also auctioned his virginity on the site, but only reached a bidding of $3,000.

Both will be paid $20,000 and receive 90 per cent of their sale price. The winning bidders retain their right to be anonymous.

When we heard that the site Virgins Wanted was auctioning the virginity of two young participants to the highest bidder, the twinge of discomfort felt in the office led us to commission a survey to see what our readers thought about paying for sex and prostitution in general.

Over 1,200 people took part in the anonymous questionnaire, so it’s given us fair indication of public view (or at least those who read Independent Voices; aka. smart, funny and wise people).

The majority of respondents think prostitution should remain legal (73 per cent). Only 25 per cent thought being a prostitute was morally wrong, but a greater number thought visiting a prostitute was wrong (37 per cent).

17 per cent of readers had visited a prostitute, but a whopping 57 per cent would lie about it to their partner if they had. Which poses an interesting question, a chunk of readers must’ve thought that prostitution isn’t morally wrong, but they wouldn’t tell their partner about it – why?

The 17 per cent surprised us particularly, as the majority of prostitutes are female, with male clients. So, assuming an approximately even number of male and female respondents, this percentage is likely to be even higher among males.

Only 18 per cent of people had paid for pornographic videos/images or phonelines (this response was probably different before the internet was born).

42 per cent of people said they would think badly of a partner who had visited a prostitute, while only 37 per cent said they thought it was immoral in general. A case of it being fine for others but not for us, perhaps?

As for auctioning your virginity to make money for charity, most people didn’t think it was wrong, but the majority did consider it prostitution. Over one in five people would also be more inclined to pay for sex if it was for charity.

The debate surrounding prostitution is complex and one we hope to be exploring soon at Independent Voices. Many women are forced or coerced into the industry, but in the case of Virgins Wanted, it is their choice, in a public auction, which is likely to result in a much safer environment than many in the industry witness. Does that make it right?

The full results are below:

Prostitution isn't illegal in the UK, do you think it should be?

YES: 27% NO: 73%

Running a brothel (more than two prostitutes in same place) is prohibited by law in the UK, do you agree that these should remain illegal?

YES: 36% NO: 64%

Do you think brothels being legalised would increase the safety of prostitutes?

YES: 80% NO: 20%

Do you think being a prostitute is morally wrong?

YES: 25% NO: 75%

Do you think using the services of a prostitute is morally wrong?

YES: 37% NO: 63%

Have you ever used the services of a prostitute?

YES: 17% NO: 83%

Have you ever paid for pornographic videos/images or phonelines?

YES: 18% NO: 82%

Would you tell a partner if you had used the services of a prostitute?

YES: 43% NO: 57%

Would it negatively affect your opinion of someone if they had used the services of a prostitute?

YES: 42% NO: 58%

Do you think auctioning virginity for charity (as in the story of Virgins Wanted) is morally wrong?

YES: 44% NO: 56%

Do you consider this prostitution?

YES: 58% NO: 42%

Would you be more inclined to pay if it was for charity?

YES: 22% NO: 78%

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