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Sexual identity: Dealing with Transactional Sex in Africa

hiv-aids-sexOur difference as human beings has made us use what we have to get what we want. In such scenarios, people appeal to emotions and feelings to induce motivation, irrespective of the abilities and persona. Such are the arguments when it comes to transactional sex; use of sexual favors to get something done or given something material in return.

The difference between prostitution and transaction sex is the motive. Prostitution’s end game is money while transactional sex target is favors. The reasons for such activities are both economical and professional. In economics, transactional sex is driven by the surge of people towards limited resources. The limited opportunities and ever-growing population in Africa are to blame for such behaviors. Career growth is the main reason for transactional sex in professional circles. Such uplifts come with high perks, executive powers and status in society. These favors cut across the board, although the probability is higher in women compared to men. The practice is not a secret anymore, thanks to the capitalistic tendencies and the shrinking opportunities with private enterprises blamed more as compared to public offices.

Transactional Sex at Work Places

A report carried out by the BioMed Central on the prevalence and patterns of transactional sex and prostitution in South Africa shows that out of the 1645 sexually active men interviewed, 66% agreed to having transactional sex with their bosses. The situation is more was for women as they not only have to work twice for benefits, but sometimes abused in the process. There are laws against workplace harassment but the urge for promotions, allowances, business trips and executive power is much stronger for any ethical consideration.

Transactional Sex as a Livelihood Means

The wealth distribution gap is ever widening, despite the investment in capacity building. Younger men and women prefer the easier way of getting rich quickly than working hard for a living. Such endeavors have increased the number of sugar daddies, sugar mummies and sugar babies. These young people virtually live off the backs of these benefactors, creating parallel lives. Suzanne Madlala, a South African working with USAID to alleviate the HIV/AIDS pandemic argues that such engagements are ways of getting essential needs or fulfill some consumption needs.

Effects of Transactional Sex

The practice is the leading cause of the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections in Africa. This significantly affects the steps taken by the civil societies, non-governmental organizations and well-wishers on generational change. It also kills innovation and productivity, especially in professional circles as people rely on non-productive means to get promoted.

All indications point at economic marginalization and thirst for a good life as the main cause of transactional sex. The governing authorities in Africa should formulate policies that will actively engage young people to earn a decent income and create advocacy programs that sensitize the masses on the risks of sex with benefits.

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