While the Ministry of Health asks the general public: “Who is in your sexual network?” through billboards strewn across the capital city, many cringe at the thought of who and how many could be hidden within their networks.
However, many men in Botswana have taken to using the internet to grow theirs.
Casual sex has become easier on the web.
“I log on to social networks because they make easy prey,” confesses 30-year-old Simon. “Instead of going through the awkwardness of trying to convince women to have no strings attached liaisons to their faces, where they could easily reject you. Social networks offer privacy from rejections.”
And he adds: “You find a lot of women longing for companionship on the internet, and they make easier targets.”
Tebogo, a 34-year-old, however, says casual sex is not what he is after when logging on to social networks.
“I sign on to networks to communicate with peers so that if I travel to their part of the world, I have someone to hang out with,” he said of his predominantly female pen pals.
Michael a 24-year-old Motswana man schooling in Malaysia, mentioned while we chatted on a social network that he uses the networks purely for business, and not pleasure.
“I am financially minded,” he repeated during the interview, “I am not looking for sexual prospects; that’s dangerous,” he said, lest he hooks up with a psychopath.
However, 29-year-old Barapedi, says he would not go onto the internet for dating but believes that women should still consider the web for dating prospects.
“They should realise that the likelihood of meeting a legitimate man on the net is limited; we have a lot of posers. There is no way of figuring out a person from chatting to them online,” said Barapedi, adding, “I believe in the old school way, it’s more personal. Going out on a date and drinking a little bit of wine. Eye contact. Getting to know the person,” he said.
Barapedi likens internet dating to being in a nightclub.
“The likelihood of dating someone you meet in a club is very very slim because many men go out to the clubs to get drunk and get laid,” he says, adding, “And many men go onto the net for easy hookups, nothing serious.”
Phatsimo, 29, says she is not interested in serious dating.
“People you meet on the internet do not require much emotional commitment and tend to be up for a bit of fun; the downside is that many tend to have girlfriends who then find out about our trysts, then we have a problem,” Phatsimo said.
Christine, 25, believes the old adage that good men are either married, gay or dead still rings true today. She says that good men are hard to come by these days and that the internet offers an addition to casting her net wider.
“It increases my chances of finding a guy,” she says. “Yes you might kiss a few frogs, but there is a greater chance that you could meet the prince.”