After getting a winning bid of $801,000 to auction off her virginity three days, 28-year-old medical student and self-described “Virgin Wh0re” Elizabeth Raine decided to call off the whole thing. Why did she call it off? Why did she even start the auction in the first place?
“With the blessings of my management and the high bidders, I have decided to put a stop to this kerfuffle (to describe it nicely) and return my focus to my medical training,” “At this point, I no longer care about the auction, at least not nearly enough. This was a very easy decision.”
Raine (which is a pseudonym to protect her real identity) says she does still “possess some spitefully strong beliefs about virginity, prostitution, and a woman’s right to do as she damned pleases, but school is my first priority (as it has been for my entire life).” She has undergrad degrees in biology and engineering and is working on a combination MD/PhD program, and says that her focus on schooling is why she’s never had time to lose her virginity.
But why did she decide to auction off her virginity in the first place? In a previous blog post Raine revealed that initally this was all just about getting as much money as she could, but as the situation escalated in the media, she realized how complex auctioning off your virginity really could be.
“In its initial stages, this project was about the money. I hoped to make it quickly and quietly and go about my life,” she writes. “It is no longer about the money. Instead, very broadly, it is about how society continues to exercise control over female sexuality by chaining it tightly to female morality. It is about the fact that we have not left patriarchy in the past (we all know male morality is not judged by the same standard), and that a woman still cannot chose to do with her body what she pleases without eliciting condemnation and hate from those (or some of those) around her. In the eyes of some, this auction may define me simply as a ‘wh0re’ or a ‘prostitute.’ But they are overlooking my much larger and complex (and not terrible) character, as well as the oppressive social reasons why those labels carry so much stigma and power in the first place. This auction is no longer practical for me, it has come to mean so much more than that.”
Raine started the auction March 31, and originally didn’t reveal her face. By April she did post pictures of her face online. “I actually didn’t like the anonymity. People mistake it for shame,” she told The Huffington Post. “Plus, there has been some speculation that I’d be outed and I wanted to do it on my own terms.” She confirmed her identity to The HuffPost with passport photos and a student ID. She said she spoke with multiple lawyers about the legal implications of her actions, and some of them thought she might get kicked out of school if her identity was revealed, and others thought that “definitely” wouldn’t happen.
She told the website that while money was the #1 reason she decided to do this, she was also motivated by adventure, eroticism, scandal and the change to challenge norms about virginity. She’s from the southwest US, but spent a lot of her childhood in Saudi Arabia because her dad worked in the oil industry. She lost her mother at age 10, and while some psychologist speculate that this loss may be partly to blame for her virgin state, she dismisses this interpretation. “I am not emotionally damaged, broken or shut off as a result of it,” Raine said. “To the contrary, while it was truly devastating and the only difficult experience I have ever been through, my character and outlook on life are much better for it. I have become more compassionate, strong, motivated, and free in spirit. I have learned not to take life too seriously, but also not to take it for granted.” She said that the real reason she’s still a virgin is because she’s been too busy for sex and dating.
“I’ve been planning this for a year and I’ve had a personal transformation because of it,” she said about what has become a bit of a social experiement. “I’m more educated about prostitution, virginity and sl*t-shaming.” When the auction was still a go, Elizabeth had set up certain rules about the encounter. She was going to ask the winner to provide proof that he had no STDs, he had to wear a condom, he had to be sober during the event, and could not treat her violently, among other stipulations.
UPDATE: Elizabeth’s identity has been revealed. Her name is reportedly Hanna Kern, and she goes to the University of Washington.