A Spoonful of Sugar Dating

Shannon spills the secrets of the sugar daddy and sugar baby world…

Expectation: ‘Young, beautiful, adventurous sugar baby seeks mature, successful daddy to invite her into his world of luxury.’

Reality: ‘Young, broke female looking for lonely old man to pay her phone bill and give her enough money to quit her 9-5 at Greggs.’

In this online world we type, I mean, live in, it’s no surprise so many strive to do nothing but have everything. Bloggers tell us to ‘swipe up to buy now’ so commission can land straight in their bank accounts, whilst #ForexTraders bombard us with pictures of designer items set against city skylines, snapped through their iPhone X. So why would anyone young want to sacrifice their free time stacking shelves or waiting tables when there seem to be much easier jobs at our fingertips?

And that’s where sugaring comes in. But sugar is no longer just that sweet, yummy carb we should avoid. We’re talking about the ‘sugar relationship’ in which young people (the Sugar Babies), date older individuals (the Sugar Daddies), in exchange for money and gifts. The most common places to find a Sugar Daddy are apps like Seeking Arrangement.

This is so-called sweet lifestyle is one that a large number of young people think they want – but they don’t really know what these sweet treats entail. The fact that 78% of students are claiming they worry about money and in 2015 The Student Sex Work Project revealed 5% of students admitted working in the sex industry and an additional 1 in 5 reporting that they had considered doing sex work to pay their way through university, raises huge alarm bells as to how many young people are out there with this type of sweet tooth and why it’s not being spoken about.

This is so-called sweet lifestyle is one that a large number of young people think they want – but they don’t really know what these sweet treats entail.

So, November’s rent is looming, you and your housemates don’t fancy putting the heating on yet and the beans on toast you’ve been eating for dinner for the past four days really don’t have the same je ne sais quoi they once did… Or you just fancy some new clothes and cuisine. Fair enough. What’s the first thing you do? Print off 30 CVs and hand them out in Cabot Circus? Of course not, you log onto seekingarrangements.com to try your luck at sugaring. You think once you’ve completed your profile, it won’t be long till hundreds of successful Christian Greys flood your inbox with £££. Alas, the reality is that there’s no event invites or potential dinner dates fighting for your Friday evening. There’s only Steves sending the same copied and pasted message a hundred other girls have received asking for feet pics for a fiver. Luxurious.

However, if that’s the type of sugar craving you have then that’s fine, as long as you’re clued up and responsible. And I’m not talking about having one sugar in your tea instead of two, or saying no to that KitKat. I mean staying safe and knowing what you’re about to get involved in. Because not every man is a Steve – there might be a Christian out there that’s willing to wine and dine you. But it’s best to be sure what you’re doing before they put their hand in your cookie jar.

Memes poke fun at the sugar baby situation… but is it that easy?

With a sugar daddy arrangement, you’re essentially a paid girlfriend/boyfriend and unless you met your daddy in the playground (I said his name’s Christian, not Jimmy) there’s a high possibility he’s going to want more than just holding hands. And between two consenting adults, this type of mature relationship can be mutually beneficial, if that’s what you’re looking for.

With this in mind, I spoke to two young individuals that have tried their luck at the industry to give you the insider’s sugar scoop…

Sarah has been a sugar baby for three years and has been dating her current daddy for two years. ‘One date we’ll go to live music events, and another we’ll visit S&M dungeons,’ she reveals. ‘It works well. I really get along with him which is important. You can’t have a long-term arrangement with someone just because they’re offering you money, there have to be mutual interests and a common ground to build your ‘relationship’ on.’

I asked her what advice she would give to someone thinking of indulging in this lifestyle:

    1. “If you’re using a website like SA, find someone that doesn’t say they’ve got an extreme, unrealistic amount of money. It’s probably a lie.”
    2. “Choose someone adequately handsome, because this usually means they’re married, which ensures there will be no weird stage when a few months in they ask you ‘so what is this?’” (I asked what percentage of men she’s come across that have been married, and her response was a startling 70%. The other 30% were lonely young guys.)
    3. “Try and find someone that travels because they will go away and come back, reducing the intensity of the arrangement. And they might also invite you to travel with them, if you feel comfortable.”
    4. “Make sure you message for a considerable amount of time before meeting them so you can gauge what they’re about and whether you’re compatible for each other’s needs.”
    5. “Make sure you receive payment before anything to avoid being scammed.”
    6. “ALWAYS message a friend with your location and what time you’re expecting to finish the date with your sugar daddy.”

Memes like this one are on the rise, normalising sugaring in our social media feeds

Although we predominately relate sugaring to girls, it’s also popular for young men, so I sought out a male’s experience of the sugar bowl. Speaking to Andrew, I found out how the world of sugaring works for him. “I’ve been dipping my toe into the sugar now on and off for years, with date payments ranging from £200-£600,” he says. “The best experience was when I didn’t even turn up to the date and received £600 – light work! I’ve had around fifteen different arrangements and ten of those were non-sexual, simply dates and company. The majority of men I date are closet gay, as it wasn’t socially ‘ok’ for them to come out when they were younger and that’s sadly just stuck with them. That’s also why I don’t feel bad doing what I do, as most of them are right-wing, conservative men – to me it’s purely transactional. Despite the widespread nature of married sugar daddies, I’ve never dated one. However, I have had a man tell me ‘you remind me of my son!’ Let’s just say that was last time he had any of my candy!”

“I don’t feel bad doing what I do, as most of them are right-wing, conservative men – to me it’s purely transactional.”

So, do you think this so-called sugar bowlis merely sugar-coating sex workers? Or are young people allowed to feel empowered by this type of arrangement and the opportunities it can bring them? Can purely platonic arrangements exist where sugar babies don’t have to indulge in hard candy? Or are websites like Seeking Arrangements seedy, virtual pimps that are marinating young minds in the possibility of sex work?With a significant rise in the proliferation of porn, you could argue that the widespread nature of sex is making sex work less taboo. And with that, it’s important that we challenge the demonization of sex workers and admit that the stigma around it needs to be undressed – I mean addressed.

Whether you think sugar should remain strictly within the realm of food is up to you. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, as long as it’s knowledgeable and respectful. I just think there should be enough information around the topic so young people are ready for this jelly and don’t go head first into this sugar dating world with the impression men will shower them with gifts and money for doing nothing. Most people like the idea of a sugar daddy but aren’t prepared to give him any sugar… Anyway, gotta dash, about to start my shift at Greggs! Not so sweet.

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