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Adherence to these expectations in transactional sex relationships varied between older and younger men and created hierarchies among men and between men and women and girls. We found that approval of transactional sex was contested. Although young men were likely to object to transactional sex, they occupied a structurally weaker position than older men.
Findings suggest that interventions should employ gender synchronised and gender transformative approaches and should prioritise the promotion of alternative positive norms over preventing the exchange of gifts or money in relationships. Existing research from public health and human rights documents a strong association between transactional sex and negative mental, physical and sexual health outcomes for girls and young women. Engaging in transactional sex can also allow girls and young women to exert agency to achieve their goals by accessing resources that would be otherwise unavailable to them Ranganathan et al.
This paper adds to a literature that goes beyond discussing the health impacts of engaging in transactional sex by interrogating motivations and emic local perspectives on transactional sex in Tanzania and Uganda Kyegombe, Meiksin, Namakula, et al. It informs the broader transactional sex literature, which tends to depict transactional sex in one of three broad paradigms Stoebenau et al. In the first of these, girls and women participating in transactional sex are portrayed as vulnerable victims of structured gender inequalities Fielding-Miller and Dunkle ; Dunkle et al.
In the second, girls and women are portrayed as agentic individuals who consciously choose to engage in transactional sex to access status through fashionable clothes, mobile phones and other consumer goods Leclerc-Madlala ; Silberschmidt and I want to fuck a trap Evaluation of efforts to reduce transactional sex in South Africa and Tanzania have shown little effectiveness Kaufman et al. This combination perspective facilitated the two complementary avenues of questioning, explained here.
The concept of hegemonic masculinity refers to the gender norms, values, attitudes and behaviours in a given society that perpetuate gender inequality, and which legitimise and maintain the subordination of women to men Connell This has been discussed in relation to transactional sex elsewhere in the literature Stoebenau et al. Men can validate or discredit other men depending on how they perform masculinity in the transactional sex arena. Importantly, masculinities are fluid and dynamic Groes-Greenand individuals enacting subordinated masculinities can resist hegemonic expectations, for example by rejecting transactional sex.
Using masculinities theory allowed us to consider gender and power in our analysis, dimensions often missing from social norms research Cislaghi and Heise Social norms are informal rules, or mutual social expectations, that govern behaviour and enforce conformity to a standard of social correctness Cislaghi and Heise They concern beliefs about which behaviours are frequently enacted, and which are socially accepted or rejected Bicchieri Social norms reflect the beliefs and behaviours of dominant social groups. Although not inherently negative, social norms often reflect existing inequalities within communities, and normalise harmful behaviours Mollborn ; Marcus and Harper One example of a social norm from within this context is that girls are expected to engage in sex with a man if they accept his gifts Wamoyi et al.
Social norms are adhered to and reproduced within groups of people, called reference groups. Norms are maintained by sanctions, which reward people who conform to prevailing norms, and penalise those who do not Mackie et al. This study was conducted to inform the development of a multi-component intervention to prevent transactional sex between adult men and girls in Tanzania. Data were collected in Mwanza between January and November Purposive sampling of participants and sites ensured the inclusion of a range of socio-demographic characteristics, including gender; age; and type of residence rural and urban.
Although women and girls were also recruited, this paper focuses on the data from men.
The FGD facilitators and IDI interviewers were trained social scientists with Bachelors or Masters degrees, and experience collecting data on sensitive topics and working with vulnerable populations. The data collection team used a snowball methodology to identify FGD participants. Selection criteria included engagement in various forms of informal employment, including subsistence farming and petty trade; and presence in market centres. They invited men and boys who mentioned partaking in transactional sex or who were especially active during the discussion.
Focus groups began by exploring general issues around transactional sex between older men and younger women and girls. We avoided asking about personal experiences unless participants volunteered the information, which some did. After transcription in Kiswahili, the transcripts were translated into English.
Transcripts included both Kiswahili and English so researchers could easily refer to the verbatim text. Using a thematic analysis approach, the first author LHM coded data through a systematic process of examining, organising and tagging Green et al. This included codes for reference groups, sanctions, normative beliefs about masculinities and transactional sex as well as gender and power dynamics within transactional sex.
Situating exceptional cases within the themes, rather than excluding them, established rich and nuanced datasets within themes. The researchers developed and refined existing codes, where necessary, iteratively revisiting the data and the literature.
In terms of reporting, we have included quotes that represented the views of the majority of participants and ensured that data was included from all 20 IDIs and eight FGDs. In order to ensure that the data interpretation remained embedded in the structural and cultural context, the first author who ed the research team after data had been collected sought critical input and insight from the co-authors to ensure that their knowledge of the original study and findings Wamoyi et al.
LHM also turned to bilingual team members to verify the interpretation of the data when needed. Before taking part in the research, participants gave oral and written informed consent after being informed about the aims, risks and benefits of the study.
All participants quoted below were given pseudonyms to protect their anonymity. Researchers followed ethical and safety guidance for research on violence perpetration Jewkes, Dartnall, et al. cover the two dominant sets of gender norms that men frequently display within transactional sex — men are expected to provide economically within relationships, and men should demonstrate their masculinity through heightened sexuality and sexual prowess — and provide examples of men who questioned the practice of transactional sex.
Some men targeted vulnerable and economically dependent girls, offering to exchange sex for basic needs, such as clothes for school. She was scared […] I penetrated until there was a problem, until she bled.
Fadhili, IDI, older man speaking about a year-old girl. There are [school] students with a money emergency […] it is very easy to convincelike that. I am ready to buy you chips, then we shall [have sex], what do you say? For younger men in particular, the ability to provide in relationships directly influenced standing in their reference groups. Another thing that removes [boys and men] from childhood is when they start to struggle with responsibilities, when he has a family that depends on him, and he has stopped depending on his parents, and they depend on him.
Emmanuel, FGD, older men. Younger men were often outcompeted by older men capable of providing more expensive gifts in transactional relationships. She abandons me and goes to the other. Young men described the lengths they would go to to avoid this loss of status. Data revealed the importance of sexual prowess and sexual desire in conferring status on men within a particular male reference group. You have sex because the body needs it, but it is not because you have time to have sex […] when the body wants it, you feel as if the body is harassing you.
Edwin, IDI, older man.
Among adult men, monogamy was believed to be unlikely to satisfy sexual needs and curiosity. There were tly reinforced expectations among men that they should be able to satisfy their sexual partners. Juma, FGD, adult men. Fadhili, IDI, adult man. A girl, her body is strong.
Nelson, IDI, adult man. Our analysis revealed that not all men engaged in or condoned transactional sex and some men drew on competing social norms and values to discredit others engaging in transactional sex. That is deceitful love. Find someone who loves you, [and] stop with the money.
A man who gives out money to get sex […] his muscles are small […] he doesn't have true love […] money is something you might get, or you might not get […] so when you don't have money, it stops there. Kibingo, FGD, young men. A boy FGD participant, Upendo, accused men participating in transactional sex of exploiting girls and failing to fulfil their role as responsible and family-centred older men in the community.
Four of the 12 older men interviewed, and one FGD participant explicitly rejected transactional sex. Most of these older men disparaged transactional sex on the basis that men who engage in transactional sex relationships outside of their marriages were not able to fulfil their provider role within their families. One man Ernest, IDI, older man decided to stop engaging in transactional sex relationships outside of marriage in order to better provide for his family.
When asked about transactional sex with younger girls, one man shared. He has lost his self-awareness that he has responsibility for a family […] he forgets that when he has more than one partner, then the expenses he is going to spend will be too high, and there are important things that his family is going to miss. Kiganda, IDI, older man. Two older men said that rejecting transactional sex was important for a man to maintain dignity in the community, serve as a good role model, and act as a protector to his family and children.
Fadhili, IDI, older man. So, to me I see them as though they are stupid, fools who are spoiling children. An old man of fifty years cannot move with of sixteen years. If you give birth towhat will he [the child] call you?
Salumu, FGD, boys.