Talking With a Sugar Baby: Sex, Salary, & Self Growth

I remember at one point being completely grossed out by my mom’s four year age gap with my dad. But soon enough, I started crushing on older celebrities (yes, that's you, chef Gordon Ramsay) and it wasn’t until my first year that a professor with a dad-bod melted my ovaries. I think I’m finally at the stage of my life where I feel compatible with an older companion.

Typically, we’d think that a younger woman with an older man is patriarchy shoved down our thinking pipes by outdated culture and misogynistic media. Turns out, it's also science. It's a fact: women mature faster than men (Newcastle University, 2013), therefore, wanting a partner that's more stable in his life is instinctual. So when my 22-year-old friend Ashley* talked to me about her experience with dating men 15-20 years older than her on a site called Seeking Arrangements, I was all ears.  

Ashley is a sugar baby. A sugar baby is a person in a romantic relationship who receives monetary or materialistic benefits in exchange for being in the relationship. The practice is also referred to as "sugar dating". The sugar baby's partner is known as the "sugar daddy" or "sugar momma" who is usually wealthier and older than the sugar baby.

 

Zahra: How did you get into sugar dating?

Ashley: I started [sugar dating] not because I was looking for money or a relationship, but because I was curious...I thought sugar dating made sense because I'd be dealing with older people, usually successful, and I saw that as a networking opportunity.

Z: Is sex is an expectation?

A: Before meeting someone I ask them, “Are you expecting sex from me?” I'm not on this because I’m selling sex and it's cool if you are—as long as you’re comfortable and in control of your body. I had someone message me that he only wanted to do an online thing and he said he’d pay $350 per show. I told him I’m not cool with that. He wanted me to go on Skype and just masturbate or whatever and he’d just transfer the money. You have to know when to say no.

Z: What's the biggest “gift” you've ever received?

A: One of my biggest allowances was $500 on the first date because we clicked and we knew we were going to see each other again. He was like, “Hey, I know you're struggling with textbooks, let me help you with that.” Another guy offered to fly me to Florida. He was willing to pay for the hotel and give me money to go around while he’d work.

Monetary and materialistic gifts aside, I think the biggest gift was finding people that were really willing to help me financially because they understood how circumstances could hinder my growth as a student.

Z: Women have been fighting for years to have financial independence from men, are you concerned with being dependent on a man?

A: I was very careful of what mindset I had prior to opening up to Seeking Arrangements. I didn't want to buy a new laptop and think that a sugar daddy would help me pay for it. If I let the sugar daddy have my independence then the system wins. By doing this, I want to expose men to what it's like to be a woman. Everything I had before sugar dating, I maintained myself. What I make with sugar dating is all extra. I make sure they know I don’t need them. I already have a day job.

I think emotional independence is also important. It's important to understand that I bring on my happiness, not him. It’s me who has opened up my life to accept this new kind of dating. This is the most important dependence that I know I don't have on them.

Z: If it's not about money, what’s it about?

A: I show [sugar daddies] what young women are like today because there is such a generation gap. They are at least 10 years older than me. I give them a new perspective on life because not only am I a different sex but I’m growing up in a different time. A lot of these people are really affluent white males and I’m this small Filipina who came from an immigrant family. We give each other insight. I often ask them, “How do you think your white privilege helped you in your success?” And it's conversations like that I would never have if we were dating. A lot of older people just tend to stay in a bubble, so I like popping it and saying this is what millennials deal with and this is where we're coming from.

Z: Have you told family and friends about sugar dating? What do they think?

A: A lot of them were intrigued. The majority of them are super interested in what it is. Some worry for me because they think of this old guy with lots of money is taking advantage of me. This idea comes from the media, movies, and articles. Especially ones that make fun of millennials. There are so many things that put down people our age. The perception of the media is not reflected in my experience.

I haven't told my parents.

Z: Any advice for girls looking to sugar date?

A: The most important thing you need to know prior to putting yourself in this situation is that you have the power to say no and you don't need to feel bad about saying it when you want to. You need to be strong in yourself. You need to understand that you are not being bought with this money. It's called an arrangement because there are two parties.

 

I’m not going to say talking to Ashley about being a sugar baby made me want to hop on that bus; however, it did help me realize that there are always different sides to a story. There is no reason to shame people when consent is involved.

Our twenties are for experimentation. Do you.

* Names changed to protect identities and privacy for all parties involved.

 

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