OpEd, Politics

Why has sex become transactional among young people today?

By Chol Peter Majoh

From the word transaction comes the word transactional. Therefore, what’s transactional sex? Well, according to me, yes, it’s the exchange of consensual sex for material support like gifts, money, food, and many others.

Among young people, the exchange of sex for gifts, etc., occurs in many parts of the world. South Sudan is not exceptional in this case. What triggered this? What intrigued young people to engage in this practice? Well, there are absolutely so many reasons associated with this stuff.

Perhaps the economic crisis in the country is one of them. In the context of South Sudan, the current war over our local currency has not only affected the economy but also the social, marital, and moral aspects of life among the people.

Young people who are jobless, as well as some others who are employed but whose jobs do not fully support them, are tempted to engage in transactional sex to earn a living. This practice has played a role in the rise of sexually transmitted diseases.

Also, this practice has led many to think that the value of a human being is wealth, as young people think a sexual relationship with someone who has a good job is a safer option than one with an unemployed, unmotivated person who is unable to provide for or meet their expectations.

Last week, social media circulated a video of a South Sudanese girl talking about men who take their girlfriends out and buy them chicken wings and pizza in comparison to guys who take their girlfriends out only to buy them ‘chapati’. This video is an example of how sex and relationships are transactional. In other words, they are commercialized.

Besides that, in South Africa, The Conversation (an online development news outlet) carried out research on this matter at one South African university, and they came up with a number of findings.

“We were interested in their perceptions and understanding of transactional relationships; some reflected on their own experiences, while others reflected on those of others they knew. All were aged between 19 and 26. While the number of participants was relatively small, their perceptions were helpful in assisting us to get some understanding of how women students perceive transactional relationships,” the conversation reported.

In their research about these sorts of sexual-economic relationships, they found out that participants in our study disclosed some examples of how a man’s financial status is gauged by the car he drives and the money he has.

One of the participants disclosed: “A sexual relationship with a man who has a good job is seen as a safer option than one with an unemployed, unmotivated man who is unable to provide for or meet the young women’s consumer expectations.” This is one of the comments made by the young women in their study.

Another lady also said during the interview: “Most girls in my age group tend to go for guys who have money or who are well established. a sense of where they are going with their lives. Most girls are tired of going for guys who just sit at home and do nothing the whole day.”

Why’s this practice not recommendable or actually bad?

In the same research carried out in South Africa as the conversation, it was found that there are dangers associated with this practice.

First, there’s no real love or true relationship, as materials are valued more than love itself. “If a guy comes to you driving a Volvo and a guy comes to you driving a Mazda 3, the latest, I don’t think girls will go for the guy driving a Mazda, but the one driving a Volvo, that’s all; that’s how I see it recently,” said one of the ladies.

Secondly, some transactional relationships may offer the pretense of real love and create the illusion for the male sexual partner that he is the only object of the young woman’s affection. Other relationships are initiated on the implicit understanding that they are non-exclusive or multi-partner arrangements, with a tacit agreement not to discuss other sexual partners.

Thirdly, mistrust, jealousy, and anger arise at times. If a man has multiple girlfriends in a transactional arrangement and they learn about each other, the women often turn their anger towards each other. This may lead the women to try and “stake their claim”. For example, some
told us that, in a sense, one becomes a “PI” (private investigator) assessing or “researching” their partner’s “true colors” or “their intentions and motives” and hoping for “transparency.”
from their partners. These concerns often centered on concerns about contracting HIV, AIDS, or other sexually transmitted diseases because their boyfriends had multiple partners.

All in all, transactional sex isn’t okay. However, there are reasons that force young people to indulge in it. According to the conversation, it is very clear that young people who engage in transactional relationships also have faith in future marriages lasting for a long time or that their husbands will be faithful. They also want to experience genuine love or pursue marriage, which would also result in having children. But why transactional relationships or sex?

This is what parents, communities, governments, and organizations need to understand and think about in order to have a decent and sexually moral society. If we manage to fight poverty, we will have this problem addressed.

For any inquiry, compliment, or comment, reach the author via email: cholpetermajo@gmail.com, cell/WhatsApp: +211(0)922295373.



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