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STUDY: WHAT SWAZI WOMEN WANT FOR SEX

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MBABANE – A new study gives an insight on what Swazi women hope to get in exchange for sex.


Some of the things women were hoping to gain included alcohol, a free night out, expensive clothing, sexual satisfaction, phones and basic food.
The study, ‘Cultural consensus modelling to measure transactional sex in Swaziland: Scale building and validation’, was published in the Social Science and Medical Journal last week.


It was written by Rebecca Fielding-Miller, Kristin L Dunkle, Hannah LF Cooper, Michael Windle and Craig Hadley. It was conducted between 2013 and 2014.
“We recruited a convenience sample of women from university, rural, urban, and peri-urban sites, as the literature suggested that women living in different areas may have different priorities,” the journal stated.


It was said Swazi research assistants (RAs) and the first author approached women in public spaces, that is, public shopping areas in urban and peri-urban sites, and in roads and by a river in rural sites and asked them to list as many items as they could think of in English or siSwati in response to the free-list question.


The study stated that the meaning was left to participants’ interpretation: an ‘item’ could be emotional (love), tangible (a cellphone), or relational (marriage). Researchers purposively sought women with a range of education, age, and marital statuses, although there was no specific quota, as the literature suggests that these may influence what items women would hope to get.


The women were divided into three cultural consensus models (CCMs), being married women, aspirational and university.
Married women relationships reflected those of married, older, more rural women with slightly less formal education.
Marriage conferred both social and economic stability, and married women were highly respected in their communities.


Married women linked a partner’s ability to provide financial support with the courtship process and family approval. They felt that a man should provide for his family and that marriage improved the social status for both partners.
Women in the aspirational group, who were more likely to be urban and have at least a secondary education, were predominantly characterised by the aspiration to either transform their relationship into marriage, or to mirror a marriage relationship as closely as possible.

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