Blessers: A curse in disguise?

Whenever the word blesser or sponsor comes to mind, I always think of a much older man

Old enough to have a few kids (or even a  few grandchildren); who’s having a relationship with a woman who is young enough to possibly be his daughter.

The main characteristic here is that the relationship is usually transactional, where one would get sex, and the other would get money, gifts or material assistance. “Blessings,” if you would like to call them that.

tsholo-and-sol

MTV Shuga Down South, however, explored that dynamic in a  non-conventional way through Tsholo and Sol, who are both young, with not so much of an age difference between them. They were engaging in a transactional relationship where Tsholo knew that Sol wanted sex, and Sol, on the other hand, knew what Tsholo’s material needs were and catered to them. Down the line however, it seemed like Tsholo bit off a lot more than she could chew, as Sol revealed his violent and controlling side; one that eventually had Tsholo feeling trapped and desperate.

There are different opinions when it comes to the topic of blessers. While some people feel that as long as both parties are aware of what the relationship entails, with the younger party at least of legal age and with both being happy with the arrangement, then it’s all well and good. On the contrary, many others feel that these sorts of relationships are wrong and should be avoided at all costs. I often try to steer clear of judgement, and while I did in the past hold no strong opinion on this, I have come to see that these kinds of relationships can be extremely detrimental,

It is interesting though to explore why these kinds of relationships exist. Because of their transactional nature I think it’s pretty safe to assume that for the older person, sex and a sense of rejuvenation is what they want, while for the younger person, there could be some material needs that they would like fulfilled. Whether it’s money to pay for certain things like school, gadgets, clothes or even travel (there’s an app that links older men to young women who want to travel the world in exchange for escort services), there seems to be an element of aspiration, or wanting to have access to things that would otherwise be harder to come by without a blesser.

While these are just some reasons why they exist, it’s important to address how things may go wrong. Relationships of all kinds begin in all sorts of ways but these ones especially can go horribly wrong. For instance, in the case of Tsholo and Sol, things turned violent with Sol becoming more and more threatening and controlling. It may occur that the older party becomes more demanding, more controlling and with higher and higher expectations as time moves on. They may also resort to blackmail to gain more control.

The dynamics of such relationships always favour the individual providing the blessings. They usually have all the control. They establish a set of expectations from the young girls receiving their blessings, and this usually develops into a heightened sense of entitlement. Entitlement to their “blessees” time, their undivided attention, their bodies, their freedom and even unprotected sexual encounters.

These young girls are also at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and HIV because truth be told, it is very rare that the blessers are engaging with just one sexual partner. It is very common to find blessers with concurrent partners, showering blessings over several girls at the same time, even though they themselves may demand loyalty from their conquests as this also gives them as sense of control and power. We saw this on the first episode of MTV Shuga: In Real Life, where Serge admitted that he would “cancel the contract” if any of his multiple partners would ever dare step out on him.

The large age difference between partners also means that these young girls can easily be manipulated by these men, who have greater experience in the ways of the world.

In the case where you find yourself in such a relationship and you begin to feel unsafe, or trapped or as though you are being controlled, it’s important for you to know that you can and should reach out for help. While feelings of guilt may have you feeling as though maybe this is what comes with the territory, it does not. You should never have to endure feeling unsafe, afraid or in danger.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think there are any situations where having a blesser could be a blessing or are they all bound to end up a curse?

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