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Cross-generational and transactional sexual relations in sub-Saharan Africa : prevalance of behaviour and implications for negotiating safer sexual practices

LUKE, Nancy
KURZ, Kathleen
September 2002

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This paper is a literature and evidence survey of cross-generational and transactional sex in Africa. It examines the age and economic asymmetries in sexual relationships in an African context, prevalence of cross-generational and transactional sexual relationships, adolescent girls' and men's motivations and adolescent girls' negotiating power in relationships. It comes to the conclusion that adolescent girls have power when negotiating the start and end of relationships and they are strongly motivated to enter into cross-generational relationships for the material benefits and status that they bring. However, once they have entered the relaltionship the balance of power shifts to the man, especially in the context of gift-giving.
The paper also examines the evidence around cultural acceptance of cross-generational and transactional sexual relationships, violence and rape within the relationships, multiple relationships, and outcome of the relationships. The authors' recommendations are to: gather policy support for changing the social norm; mount programmatic responses; conduct research to investigate the success of programmatic responses, document the policy process, and fill other important information gaps

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