Australian Filmmaker Will Take His “Virgin Auction” to Nevada

From the movie French Kiss .

Luc: You were how old when you lost it?

Kate: It? What “it?”

Luc: You know, it. Your, uh, flower.

Kate: My flow — oh! [Indignant.] My flower is none of your business.

Luc: I ask you because some people, they rush towards that fateful moment, their bodies bursting to discover. Others, they guard it like some precious gift.

Kate: And you, I suppose, rushed?

Luc: Like a bull.

I love that movie, and this scene between Keven Kline and Meg Ryan is particularly well-played, but is virginity a precious gift? Are you considered a crazy-eyed zealot or prude if you think so? Maybe you’re ambivalent about the “gift” aspect, but answer me this: Is it okay for a guy to make a documentary that first auctions off virgins to the highest bidders, then films their first sexual encounters?

An Australian filmmaker named Justin Sisely plans to do just that, and because he’s been threatened with charges for inciting prostitution in his home country, he’s taking his production to the United States. Each virgin — one chosen female and male — will be paid $20,000 for their participation, on top of a 90% cut of their final auction price. The remaining 10% goes to the Nevada brothel that is hosting the auction. (This brothel is reportedly in Las Vegas, but since prostitution isn’t legal there, I can only assume that it’s outside city limits?) The cameras will then “[follow] the principle cast … as they shed their virginity to a complete stranger in front of a worldwide audience.”


I enjoy a good documentary, and I’ve been known to watch a few tacky, time-sucking reality-TV shows that are the intellectual equivalent of a traffic accident: Reason tells you to look away, but you can’t peel your eyes from the scene. But where do we draw the line for what is acceptable to film and watch?

Then there is the issue free will. Assuming production is taking place outside of Clark County, and assuming Mr. Sisely isn’t found in violation of the Mann Act, should this film still be given the green light? According to the project’s website, those auditioning for the role of “Ben Smith” and “Veronica Peach” have to be 18 years or older. And boys like “Ronan,” mentioned in the Herald Sun article, are “sick of waiting for the right girl” — the guy just wants to get laid already. So should he be denied this opportunity?

I would have to say, sorry, Ronan. You don’t need this in your life, buddy, or the legacy that “Ben Smith” will leave you. And because neither you nor the filmmaker seem to possess the common sense to tell you it’s not a good idea to auction off your virginity on camera, you should be protected you from that decision.

Yes, by definition, sex trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion, and this film’s subjects are not only receiving a large monetary sum, but are actively choosing to participate. However, this film is not a sociological study of a person’s typical experience losing his or her virginity. After being sold on an auction block and filmed in a most intimate scene with a stranger, these former virgins might feel like the cash wasn’t worth it. And if we need to get technical, they do not, by default, have the breadth of experience needed to recognize exploitation before it happens to them.

Join me in telling Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons to keep filmmaker Justin Sisely and his “virgin auction” out of their state.



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