Transactional sex

Transactional sexual relationships are sexual relationships where the giving of gifts or services is an important factor. Transactional sex relationships are distinct from other kinds of prostitution, in that the transactional sex provides only a portion of the income of the person providing the sex. Those offering sex may or may not feel affection for their patrons.

In the western world, transactional sex usually involves a woman living in extreme poverty. If unable to pay her rent one month, she might have sex with her landlord. Any number of other services, legal and illegal, can be paid for with sex acts.

Transactional sexual relationships are particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa, where they often involve relationships between older men and younger women or girls. In many cases, the woman in a transactional sexual relationship may remain faithful to her boyfriend, while he may have multiple sexual partners. In other cases, the woman may have multiple partners. In both of these cases, transactional sex presents an increased risk of HIV infection. As a result, transactional sex is a factor involved in the spread of AIDS in Africa.

The general consensus among those studying transactional sex is that it is associated with the joint onslaught of poverty and the influence of Western consumerism, the differences in economic power between men and women, and the breakdown of traditional African marriage customs involving bridewealth.

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