As this discussion indicates, virginity has biological, psychological, and moral connotations. Biologically, the most obvious sign of a loss of virginity
is pregnancy. The presence of an intact hymen has also long been regarded as a form of biological proof, though as any gynecologist knows, such
determinations are necessarily uncertain. Simply put, there is no way to verify with certainty that someone is a virgin. Some would stipulate that the
sexual encounter that ends virginity must be consensual, but in some cultures even victims of rape are subjected to shaming, which may in some
circumstances extends even to "honor killing" of the victim.
Of even greater note are the psychological dimensions of virginity. This is especially true in an era when relatively newly developed techniques of
contraception have largely decoupled sexuality and reproduction. At one time, even a single act of sexual intercourse involving a non-pregnant,
reproductive-age woman entailed some chance of conception. Today, competently employed, a variety of techniques have virtually eliminated the possibility. Regardless her state of mind, Ms. Migliorini's offer carries essentially no risk
of unintended pregnancy.
To some, virginity also bears moral connotations. At various times in the past, and even to a degree in the present, some women have expressed a desire to
"save themselves" for their eventual marriage partners. Virginity has been variously associated with concepts such as innocence, integrity, and purity. Yet
expectations have shifted. For example, when Diana Spencer was preparing to marry Prince Charles, it was rumored that she was required to undergo a medical
exam by her future mother-in-law's gynecologist to prove her virginity. No such concerns were raised last year prior to the wedding of Kate Middleton and
The morality of sexuality means different things to different people. Some seem to regard sexuality as a largely harmless form of amusement. So long as
unwanted pregnancy is prevented, no one gets sick, and all parties consent to the act, its moral significance is on par with a hand shake. At the opposite end of the spectrum, others see human sexuality as a wondrous, perhaps even divine gift, which enables human beings not merely to
please themselves and one another but also to give physical expression to their love for one other.
To those who see sex as just one of a number of morally neutral biological activities, there is nothing troubling in the notion that a young woman would
choose to share her body with a complete stranger. Whether the sex involves a soulmate or a casual stranger, whether she remains loyal for a lifetime to a
single partner or "hooks up" with a different person every day, it is nobody's business but hers. The fact that she might earn a little money, or even a
lot of money, for doing so, whether for herself or her favorite charity, is of no moral significance. She is free to share her body however she chooses.