Perceptions of sugar mommy practices in South Africa

SOURCE: Journal of Psychology in Africa
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.Phaswana-Mafuya, O.Shisana, A.Davids, C.Tabane, M.Mbelle, G.Matseke, M.Banyini, Q.Kekana
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC), Office of the CEO (ERM), Office of the CEO (OCEO), Office of the CEO (IL), Office of the CEO (BS), Office of the CEO (IA)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8348
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/2259

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The study sought to explore sugar mommy practices regarding their occurrence, acceptability as well as perceived reasons why older women and younger men enter into sugar mommy relationships. An exploratory qualitative study involving 135 participants from 11 diverse focus groups in terms of age, gender (females = 27%) and geotype throughout the nine South African provinces was conducted. Data on the participants' views, opinions and experiences of sugar mommy practices were collected using focus group interviews. The data were thematically analyzed. The study found that sugar mommy practices were prevalent in South Africa. The perceived reasons for acceptability were: love, survival, and correctness. Perceived reasons why older women have sexual relationships with younger men included: sexual fulfillment, domination, reduction of stress, physical attraction, procreation, lack of self-control, youthful feeling, migrancy, difficulty in finding partners of compatible age and young men being seen as not demanding. Perceived reasons why younger men have sexual relationships with older women included: material gain, reduction of stress, being enticed, rejection by women of compatible age, peer influence and belief that older women are purer. Given the increase in sugar mommy practices, which may have significant implications for the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, it is necessary to understand the underlying perceptions of these practices, in order to develop culturally relevant and socially acceptable intervention programmes.