I’m still reeling from the revelations of the Bryanston Hockey Club. For those not in the know, it’s an exclusive club housed at a secret location in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. The realm of uber-wealthy men, who buy whatever sexual favours they can dream of from men and women. Money is not an object for those willing to indulge in pleasures of the flesh. It’s also the subject of a bestselling book.
This is not a book review, by the way. I have not read Jackie Phamotse’s account of her life as a ‘blessee’. Again, for those not exposed to this growing phenomenon, it’s a term used to describe men and women who are ‘blessed’ by extremely wealthy lovers, usually older, who shower them with anything and everything money can buy, in exchange for carnal relations. The contents of this ‘hot’ novel have brought to the surface discussions around transactional sex. And it has South Africa divided. Literally.
There are those who applaud this young woman for taking a stand against this culture of older men preying on younger ‘victims’ to, hopefully, show others the pitfalls of what is deemed a ‘glamourous, aspirational’ lifestyle. And there are those who are quite vehement in advocating the rights of sex amongst consenting adults. I have zero judgement against those consenting adults who choose to play out their sexual fantasies with whomever they wish. I have zero judgement against same sex/bisexual/whatever-turns-you-on between consenting adults
But here is my sentiment. We cannot position these interactions as ‘between consenting adults’ when it is clear that the power dynamic between the ‘blesser’ and ‘blessee’ is skewed and unequal. That the Bryanston Hockey Club favours a higher-class sect with the trappings of the mink and manure brigade, far removed from the township rendition of the sex-for-money clique, does not make it any different. And in a depressed economy with unacceptably high unemployment, especially amongst our youth, it’s easy to see how being #blessed can indeed be salvation for many. In some instances, the difference between food on the table and starvation.
Again, zero judgment to those on the receiving end of the ‘good fortune’. It’s a jungle out there and the fittest survive. Often, they thrive in extravagant luxury and beauty because they are usually the finer specimens of society. They have my empathy, even though many would haughtily laugh and accuse me of jealousy, at best, and wretchedness, at worst. But the reality is that prostitution is transactional sex, changing the players does not change the game. And in any transactional relationship, one party usually wields power over another. Our gender dynamics and rampant women abuse make this proposition all the more exploitive.
This is not a holier-than-thou rendition; I pray that’s not the takeout. I’ve had a life, some parts messy and unwholesome. Rather, it’s a reflective look at how we view our bodies and what we are willing to do with, and for, them. The body is merely a casing for the soul. In the spiritual world, the body is superfluous. Sex is not only physical, it is also emotional and spiritual. Every part of you is involved when you engage with another.
When we relegate sex to the physical experience only, we often interact with individuals whom we only know superficially. We may lust them, but once we get to know them on an intimate interpersonal level, may not even like them. Yet our spirits collide, unwittingly, more so in the case of transactional sex, all in the name of sexual liberation. In this process, we deposit parts of our spirits with each other.
And we wonder why we wake up, one day, with baggage that weighs us down heavily. Pain that is indescribable. Hurt that stabs at the heart. And sorrow that heaves a haunting emptiness. We accumulate pain bodies from souls we may never ever see again and take them on as our own.
Woman, your body is the home of your soul. It has been designed for your desire and enjoyment. It is your right to be nurtured and loved in a mutually beneficial connection that satisfies and pleasures both the giver and receiver. One can never put a price on that.