Twenty-three-year-old Bailey Gibson is a virgin who has recently decided to sell her virginity online to the highest bidder. Taking a look back through her life, one can see how her decision may have been years in the making.
At just 1-year-old Bailey Gibson was adopted by a couple in Sacremento, California. Her new father was an elder in a local church and her new home was run by strict rules based firmly on her parents’ Christian values.
For the next fifteen years, Bailey would not be allowed to listen to secular music, watch secular television or even invite friends over for dinner or a sleepover. In fact, the limits her adoptive parents put on her behavior were so narrow that she found herself sneaking with her sister to watch teen-friendly shows like Hannah Montana and Carmen Sandiego.
At age sixteen, Bailey’s adoptive parents sent her to an all-girls boarding school in Stockton, Missouri. As a strict, Christian Academy, this boarding school shielded its all-female students from any male contact whatsoever and ensured that the girls were consistently engaged in rigorous religious study.
The values and habits Bailey learned in boarding school resulted in her commitment to waiting for marriage before having sex. And despite societal norms and expectations, she’s been able to uphold her commitment.
After graduating from boarding school, Bailey’s adoptive parents reinforced her suspicion that they’ve always regretted her adoption. They made it clear to her that returning home wasn’t one of her two options; she could either enroll in Teen College or the United States Air Force.
However, the heartbreak of her parents’ rejection was quickly overshadowed by a couple of unexpected reunions. Shortly after beginning the Air Force enrollment process, Bailey’s biological father found her and welcomed her to live with him in Charlotte, North Carolina. And after staying with her father for a bit, Bailey moved to Wisconsin to live with her biological Grandmother.
While in Wisconsin, 19-year-old Bailey met, began dating, and moved in with a new Christian boyfriend.
Bailey’s Turning Point
Upon moving in with her boyfriend (we’ll give him the pseudonym “John” from here forward), Bailey made it clear that she intended to keep her virginity until marriage. And John agreed.
Bailey and John shared a romance and a home together until Bailey found out that John had sex with his ex-girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. John was virtually the only companion Bailey had in her new Wisconsin home. So, while Bailey was devastated to learn about John’s infidelity, she was intent on finding a solution.
Hoping to salvage the trust John had betrayed, Bailey enrolled her and John in couples counseling. But it was there that Bailey learned John had been unfaithful once again. He disclosed that he’d recently had sex with another woman while on a first date with her.
Bailey’s Shattered Worldview
Bailey has spent a lifetime mentally reconciling the significance of people’s actions with her own self-worth.
She’s had to reconcile her birth mother’s decision to give her up for adoption because she was too overwhelmed with putting herself through college while raising Bailey’s older sibling.
She’s had to reconcile her adoptive parents’ refusal to let her return home after high school where she could have built stability before venturing out into adulthood.
And she’s had to reconcile her ex-boyfriend’s decision to break their shared agreement to wait until marriage for sex by cheating on her more than once.
The abandonment, rejection, and betrayal Bailey has had to reconcile with her self-worth since her first year of life have all culminated in a changed belief about waiting for sex until marriage. In her recently published tell-all blog post, Bailey describes her change of heart:
“I thought that I could trade my virginity for my boyfriend’s lifelong devotion. I was wrong. So, I decided that I was going to get something for my virginity — something that benefits me and my life. I wanted to lose my virginity in the most profitable way possible. That’s when I looked into selling my virginity and found Dennis Hof and the Moonlite Bunny Ranch.”
Bailey “Takes Control”
Bailey began contacting Dennis Hof, the owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, in hopes of auctioning her virginity via his services. His business houses one of the only legal brothels in America.
At first, Hof did not respond to Bailey’s contact. But Hof eventually responded and set up a deal to auction off Bailey’s virginity on his brothel’s website with 50% of the profits going to his company. According to the brothel’s communications director Jeremy Lemur, Bailey’s virginity is expected to sell for between $500,000 to upwards of $1,000,000.
Hof reflected on his business arrangement with Bailey:
“[Bailey] wanted to save herself for the right guy and live what she thought was a wholesome and righteous life, and the world threw her a nasty curve ball. … So many millennials find it difficult to get their footing in today’s post-recession America, and young women have it harder than anyone. … I applaud Bailey for using every commodity at her disposal to make a better life for herself and cultivate a prosperous future.”
Hof described Bailey’s virginity as a commodity and one wonders if Bailey agrees with such a classification. Bailey ends her tell-all blog post with a similar classification.
“At the end of the day, it is my body. I have the right do what I want with it… I do not think that capitalizing upon your purity makes you a bad person. … We all make choices. Mine was to wait. Now it is to sell.”
Prayer for Bailey
It is wise for us all to resist the urge to condemn Bailey to the status of irredeemable and unforgivable because of her decision. As we reflect on Bailey’s beginnings, her turning point, and the shattering of her worldview, it isn’t difficult to see how many of us could fall victim to a similar predicament if subjected to similar circumstances.
“1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2 NIV).”
One of the ways we can share the burden of Bailey’s decision to sell her virginity is by first empathizing with her and then by praying for her. Selling her virginity to the highest bidder will be a life-changing event and the prayers of people who care about her well-being will invite God’s Good work into her life at a time when she may not be actively inviting it herself.
1) Pray for Bailey to rediscover the value of bearing the image and presence of God.
Bailey may not be thinking about this in the wake of her pain, but there is a fundamental Christian principle that rubs against her statement that her body is her own and she can do with it what she wants. This principle, often discussed using the Latin phrase Imago Dei, is rooted in Genesis.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV).
As bearers of the image of God, we have been endowed with a quality that is not self-created. Many Christians call this quality “dignity” and consider it to be the thing about humanity that not only separates us from animals and plants but also distinguishes us with moral decision-making and responsibility.
But for Christians, Imago Dei is taken a step further. We don’t just bear a special God-given quality as all humans do, but we carry the presence of God with us a result of a transaction initiated by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus, the Son of God, died on the Cross to cancel the cost of Evil, Sin, and Death in the World, He promised that those who love Him would be left with His Holy Spirit in exchange.
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:15-18 NIV).”
In fact, shortly after rising to life from the grave, Jesus’s disciples were the first to receive His Holy Spirit and the power that comes with it.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven (John 20:19-23 NIV).”
Because Christians don’t just bear the image of God but also the very presence of God by His Holy Spirit, we are charged with relating with other people in ways that line up with the standards God set in the Bible. By this, we glorify God— bearing and honoring His image in the world— through every human interaction we share from the informally social to the intimately sexual.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NIV).
2) Pray for “John” to rediscover his responsibility to other people.
Remember Bailey’s ex-boyfriend? We gave him the pseudonym “John” since Bailey kept him nameless in her tell-all blog post. As we pray for Bailey, we can’t ignore John’s part in her decision— no matter how much our individualist culture tells us otherwise.
John’s behavior reminds us of a maxim from the New Testament that many of us call The Golden Rule. It comes from a teaching that Jesus gave to his disciples, the Sermon on the Mount quoted in Matthew chapters 5 through 7 and in Luke 6, which summarizes Jesus’s conception of moral behavior within the context of His Kingdom.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:9-12 NIV).”
This is how Jesus wants us to relate to one another: that we would do good to one another under the assumption that we all want good done to us. And this isn’t just because it’s the nice thing to do. It’s because we give life to more and more sin— in our lives and even in the lives of others— when we give in to the temptation to sin.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:13-15 NIV).
James describes sin as the viral and corrosive darkness that it is. And John demonstrates for us the viral and corrosive nature of sin in the way he treated Bailey. When he became consumed with his own desire for another woman and decided to cheat on Bailey, he transmitted an infection of selfishness that didn’t just stay in his own life. Just as he had no concern for how his actions would affect Bailey, Bailey now has no concern for how her actions will affect the bearing of God’s image in her life.
John’s own darkness, now full-grown in the aftermath of his temptation, has only given birth to darkness and more darkness in his life and in Bailey’s.
Bailey’s story affects us all in different ways. It may remind us of a similar decision we’ve made in the past or may caution against decisions we now consider in the privacy of our own thoughts. Nonetheless, let us empathize with her, abandon the temptation to condemn her and grow in the insight and wisdom that comes from her story.
Lord, please continue to reveal to Bailey Your unending love for her. Remind her that she is incredibly valuable to You as she bears Your image and the presence of Your Holy Spirit. Please, bless John with Your transformative mercy, that he would commit to doing good to others. And bless us with the insight to learn from Bailey and John, that we would love You, love others and value ourselves in ways that glorify You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.