Consumerism, Transactional Sex and Some Nigerian Undergraduate Students: More Complex Interrelationships than Alleged

  • Amaechi D. Okonkwo
Original Paper


Emerging transactional sex literature in Nigeria strongly suggests that consumerism drives female undergraduate students’ transactional sex. This assessment is factual but incomplete. Such individualist rendition of causation often informs similarly narrow behaviour change interventions, which are limited in effectiveness. To present a more rigorous account of influences on transactional sex, I synthesize and re-interpret emerging transactional sex literature with theoretical content analysis—sensitised by structuration theory. The objective is to demonstrate how some female undergraduate students’ transactional sex is also pre-scripted by their gender socialization and sexualisation, life options/experiences in a male-privileging political-economy, their knowledgeable and purposive actions, and so on. That is, the paper demonstrates how various structural influences, such as the gender structure and political economy, predispose the students toward transactional sex (agency) with older and richer men for money, consumer goods, influence and distinction on campus. The students subsequently draw on, and work on their predispositions toward cross-generational dating and xenocentric goods to engage older and richer males in transactional sex. Xenocentric goods make the students more visible (perhaps alluring) to older and/or richer males in search of younger sexual partners, and orient them to further transactional sex, and so on. Fundamentally therefore, influences on transactional sex are multiple, interdependent and recursive, such that no single influence, for example consumerism, unilaterally determines any student’s engagement in transactional sex.


Nigeria Consumerism Transactional sex Students Structuration theory 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he/she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This author did not conduct any study with human participants or animals for this article. Consequently, informed consent was not required.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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