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Demise of unemployment, promiscuity or prostitution?

By Nteboheleng Leseo

‘Blessers’ also known as sugar daddies and sugar mommies phenomenon has been omnipresent in Lesotho for some time now. This is a form of transactional sex and social image in which older opulent men and/or women (blessers) tend to pay-off young women or gentlemen (blessees) with money and luxurious gifts in exchange for social favors that often extend to sexual pleasures.

Factors leading to blesser and blessee relationships

Young females in Lesotho are habitually getting involved with blessers because they do not have occupations or enough money to sustain their lifestyles. They find themselves drowning in poverty with no money for just the mere basics, as a result they engage in these kinds of relationships with people who can actually afford and are willing to spare some cents in exchange for both social and sexual pleasure and control. Unemployment leads colleens into sugar daddy relationships. It is a survival stratagem for these young females to comprise sexual favor in exchange for money so that they can be able to get basic needs like, food, shelter, clothing, protection, affection and livelihood opportunities.

Peer pressure also influences young females to be engaged in relationships with blessers, according to Berzonsky (2003) peer pressure is another factor influencing the sexual behavior and motives for engaging in sexual relationships with blessers or older men. Society and fashion have set the bar, young girls want to be in conformity with their peers and all this requires money in the pocket, if one is short then they must find the means to earn in even if it means getting it through unconventional practices/ways.

The above piece led to my conclusion that young women choose to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do because they want to feel accepted and valued by their friends. It just isn’t always about doing something against their will it’s a matter of “choice”.

Blessee *Fifi, 24 years old lady disclosed that she started being in a relationship with her blesser at the tender age of 17, after losing her job. She explained that she was at her lowest, desperate for money. She further explained that in the beginning of the relationship she had no affection for her blesser, all she needed from him was money. 

Why blessers?

Blessers take on a leadership role in the lives of this young females by providing for their financial needs, such as paying for their tuition, accommodation and food.

When questioning why Fifi cherry-picks blessers over boyfriends, she laughed out loud and enlightened that her pockets never go dry. She recalls receiving M10 000.00 in her bank account for the very first time. she said her Papaki (as she calls him) called her to say, “Nana it is yours, go out and spoil yourself and your friends. It felt like a dream receiving such a huge sum as I had never before,” explained the blessee. Besides that, she indicated that her room is full of beautiful luxurious furniture because of her blesser.

Why not blessers?

In most cases these blessers are married men who secretly engage in extra marital affairs with colleens, the relationships come with a high risk of transmission of diseases between the blessee, blesser and the blesser’s spouse.

Fifi said even though her Papiki provides for her every need, the relationships come with attached terms and conditions.  The blesser is married, so communication is restricted to only certain hours in the day. The young lady clearly indicated that they are well aware that they are just being used, same way they also use these men, they also know that often when they are told by the blessers that they will leave their wives they know that too is a lie.   Fifi further divulged that often these relationships with the blessers are very toxic, the red flags will be noticeable but the blessees just ignore and suck it all in for a pay.

Public views about blessers – blessee relationships

“I provide for these young females because they give me one thing that I don’t get from older ladies who are supposed to be in love with me, and that is ‘respect’, blessees are very submissive and obedient. That is one of the reasons I go for them. Also, they are not as demanding, they don’t nag and are available all the time. Touching on sexual pleasure, all I can say is that they aim to please, these young women are very open to experimenting, they don’t bore me with the same position.”  Blesser *Tee depicts.

“Lots of young females endure poverty and see blessers as their escape, a solution to their problems. On that note these young girls are so money hungry that they would practically do just about anything for a penny. Also, some blessers do not necessarily requires sex from blessees they just need attention, closure, and companionship,” elucidated *Lipholo.

“These young females want to live an extravagant life which they cannot afford, “always slaying” so they end up entangled with sugar daddies who can afford their lifestyles financially. I get it, we all do whatever it takes for our survival but what they should understand is that there are always consequences to everything, they will reap what they sow,” * Mmopa stated.

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