Free Press Journal

Sex and the city: Transactional sex

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Q: My girlfriend keeps asking for expensive gifts each time we have sex. I have already bought her jewellery, a smartphone and a watch along with several clothes and perfumes. I have started feeling that I’m having ‘paid sex’ and that there’s something seriously missing from her side in terms of emotional investment. I’m getting uncomfortable with this ‘transactional sex’. Does she want the ‘good life’ or me? Please guide me.

A: Based on what you have shared; it would seem that your girlfriend is enamoured with several aspects of the ‘good life’ – which entail valuable material possessions like the ones mentioned in your question. Human beings have an infinite amount of needs and desires. Based on their personal journeys and preferences, this desire for ‘more’ is what snowballs into the demand vs supply pricing and; sales economy that all financial investments and market instruments are based on.

To want more, is to pretty much be like everyone else on the planet. However, there are other dimensions to human living and loving that go far beyond material goods. Companionship, friendship, compassion and empathy are important for relationships to thrive.


If you feel like an emotional investment is missing from her side, perhaps you should consider asking her what is it ‘exactly’ that she wants from the relationship and from a possible shared future with you (since you are in a relationship). This question may pose an ultimatum to the status quo, but it will force her to think and at least be accountable for her role in this equation. It could also get complicated if you get down to brass tacks.

You must be willing to engage in a talk with her if you want to find a way out of this situation. Let’s try to understand her behaviour now. Some women become enamoured with material possessions for their outright bragging rights potential. It also makes them ‘feel good’. It could be a possible means to show their social circle or family ‘the sweet deal they got’.

This could be a way for them to gain some kind of position of prestige with people who matter to them or to a wide audience on social media. Material possessions are a way for some women to benchmark themselves as having ‘arrived’ in the world. It’s a way of vanity fulfilment and gives them a ‘temporary high’ till the next shiny thing comes along. You are quite possibly a ‘supply metric’ for her apart from

someone with whom she can have her sexual needs and desire for attention and romance met. This is the harsh truth. The common thread in all sagely journeys of all great religious leaders involved the common theme of ‘renouncing all material aspects of the world’ not because the material world is evil. Journeys of self-discovery are believed to have always been impeded by the constant chase for ‘better stuff’ and ‘more stuff’.

In order to discover what you and this relationship stand for, you’ll have to confront some truths about her behaviour that may be unsavoury, but an investigation of what is keeping her in this relationship with you may be an honest place to start.

(Aman R Bhonsle is a qualified Psychosocial Analyst and a Professional Youth Mentor with specialisation in Transactional Analysis and REBT. He is available for consultation at the Heart To Heart Counselling Centre.)