In the past few days, there has been so much noise, especially on the social media, about Falz’s new album. Even more so about his comments on transactional intercourse.
How did it all start?
Let me hazard an explanation here.
During an album listening session for the new work, Falz elaborated on some of the tracks in his latest album. The album titled ‘Moral Instruction.’
Falz was asked about his obvious criticism of prostitutes or women who opt for transactional sex. This was in the lyrics of one of the tracks ‘Talk’, he said:
“I detest transactional sex. It’s not my thing; that’s what I believe in. You’ll continue to hear it in my music whether you like it or not.”
I guess that would have been okay if he stopped there, but he went further to say:
“The same feminists will say that the woman is free to do what she wants to do and who am I to say to the woman not to put herself up for money?
It’s the same feminists that will say that women are being objectified.
Self-commodification, self-objectification, I detest it and I will continue to speak against it.”
Perhaps this comment about women objectifying themselves was what got a lot of women and some men so enraged. They have been dragging him on Twitter.
A myriad of comments have been made and some have argued that Falz has the knack for condemning a certain group of women in his music without equally blaming the men who patronize them.
A particular Twitter user said:
“What’s annoying is that Falz didn’t drag MEN that pay for sex.
The men are clients of runs girls/sex workers.”
But then, to this argument actually, Falz earlier made the comment:
“Their argument often is that I speak about the runs girls and I don’t talk about the guys.
If you are going to talk about a certain epidemic, obviously you are going to use the more popular scenario. That is why I always use the runs girl.”
My own take on the issue is this:
If Falz is insistent that the practice of transactional sex is repugnant and as a musician who is bent on exposing the ills of society, he must constantly speak against it regardless, why did he do the song ‘Something Light?’
While I love the song and consider it a legit bop, it is indeed about a girl that didn’t want to sleep with him even though he took her out and bought food for her?
Isn’t that transactional?
But then, that is not even my gripe.
I am neither a vehement proponent nor opponent of transactional sex, but if you really think about it, isn’t sex always transactional in some way or other?
Maybe we should start by asking what transactional sex really means.
According to Wikipedia, ‘transactional sex refers to sexual relationships where the giving of gifts or services is an important factor.
It is a superset of prostitution, in that the exchange of gifts for sex includes a broader set of (usually non-marital) obligations that do not necessarily involve a predetermined payment or gift, but where there is a definite motivation to benefit materially from the sexual exchange.’
The participants do not necessarily frame themselves in terms of prostitutes/clients, but often as girlfriends/boyfriends, or sugar babies/sugar daddies, and those offering sex may or may not feel affection for their partners.
It is also also clear that there is the pervasiveness of transactional sex in Sub-Saharan Africa (of which Nigeria is included), common in non-marital relationships across all income categories, closely linked to socio-cultural expectations of gender whereby a man is expected to act as a provider to their partners and women expect a compensation for ‘giving’ sex.
A good example would be where someone in a relationship refuses to have sex until they get what they want (monetary or material).
Or where someone offers to give the other person gifts, money or status provided the relationship involves sex.
Tell me, is that not what every relationship today is all about?
A friend of mine once told me it’s not really a relationship if sex is not involved, meaning that for one party to get the security of being in a relationship, they have to offer sex.
Isn’t that a transaction?
The way I see it, all sex is transactional.
It comes at a cost, even if the price is simply changing the sheets.
Every place you go to meet people, be it a bar, club or even restaurant is nothing but a sex store where the customer uses whatever currency they possess.
It could be their looks, riches or pattern to acquire the most desirable sex partner they can get – or settle for the one they need.
The other partner is judging their own self-worth against what the seeker is offering and decides to engage based on that comparison.
If we condemn transactional sex, wouldn’t it really mean casting a stone when one is not without sin?