A Sugar Baby Tells Us How Rich Dudes Empower Her
As the modern dating world folds in on itself, with endless hook-up apps and soul-less sex toys, the number of young people opting to become sugar babies is multiplying. But it's not always about sex.
Leading sugar daddy app Seeking Arrangement this week claimed the amount of UK students on its roster has exceeded a quarter of a million – that's 40% more young women on its books than a year ago.
Reasons why someone might seek out a sugar daddy or mama – a more wealthy person who buys stuff for or gives money to their 'sugar baby' – can vary greatly from needing their education paid for to simply wanting Beyoncé world tour tickets. There's just one vitality: the daddy must have sugar.
The sugar daddy/sugar baby paradigm has been marching on since as early as the 1920s, when the term was coined. Mainly being mobilised in the US, only recently has the phenomenon become so popular for British students, presumably struggling to meet ends meet.
The app makers believe it might be the way students and young people are sidelined by society – with rising university fees and accommodation costs – that makes them seek new ways of gaining funds. And what could be easier than scouting out a wealthy, older dude who's equally searching for a skint sugar baby?
The recent steep rise in sugar babies comes hand-in-hand with cuts to maintenance grants for university students, leaving Britain's youth feeling more alienated than ever. While some protest to fight for inside support, sugar babies are simply getting what they want themselves.
But why are so many young women (and less-commonly men) pursuing the sugar daddy 'arrangement' in modern Britain?
Well, some young women aren't just in it for money, but friendship and climbing the social ladder. Seeking Arrangement's European spokesperson, Angela Jacob Bermudo tells us girls from well-off backgrounds might take on a sugar daddy because they're "accustomed to a certain lifestyle, or perhaps want to move up the social 'economic ladder. Sugar daddies provide opportunity — it isn’t just about the money."
"If men are allowed to vocalise what qualities they want in a partner, say being educated and beautiful, then women should be encouraged to do the same for whichever qualities they value."
We spoke to Leeds University student Rachel, 22, who signed up to Seeking Arrangement four years ago. With a string of 14 sugar daddies, she's in it to get her masters education paid for, as well as climbing the ranks of social ladders to further her career. And, unlike what mass media would have you believe, there's no sex involved.
Konbini: Hi Rachel! So how did you get into being a sugar baby?
Rachel: I met a girl in fresher’s week when I was doing my graduate degree and she was on Seeking Arrangement. She introduced me to the website and told me about the places she’d been and I just thought it sounded really appealing. I joined and started getting messages from people and started meeting up with them.
So what were you hoping to get out of it?
Funding for my masters degree, which I’m currently studying.
What kind of arrangement are you in at the moment?
I get financial help with rent and tuition fees and get gifts if I can’t really afford to treat myself after paying for life. It’s a helping hand. I’ve had fourteen [sugar daddies] across four years and I’m talking to two at the moment. I go on dates, out for meals, get plus ones to events and when they’re in the city for business I’ll meet up with them. Really it’s about company.
"It’s opened a lot of doors for me which I probably would’ve struggled with"
How does it affect you personally being a sugar baby?
It’s amazing! It’s got loads of positives: it’s really good for my self-esteem, meeting contacts and I never go lonely. I make good connections and as I’m very career-minded so it gives you the opportunity to network with people I otherwise might not meet. It’s opened a lot of doors for me which I probably would’ve struggled with. It’s really empowering sometimes.
What about being a sugar baby makes it empowering?
I find it improves my confidence and it’s good to talk to intellectual and successful men. And it’s quite inspiring in a sense. A lot of them have built themselves up to very, very respectful positions from being an average student like myself.
Can it ever be oppressive?
I’ve never experienced anything like that.
Do your parents know about it?
They do not. Because I personally don’t tell them unless it’s something [serious] like say I met a guy and it’s not a relationship, I wouldn’t notify them.
"People are a bit narrow-minded and quick to judge something they don’t really know"
Why is the number of young people being sugar babies in the UK on the rise, do you think?
If they’re anything like me it’s probably because masters fees are extortionate and, you know, impossible to access at such a young age. I’ve not come from the wealthiest family – a very average income. Otherwise word of mouth people are saying good things about it and maybe just out of curiosity. I’ve had [a part time job] before and it clashed with my studies.
What do you say when people say sugar babies are just “gold diggers”?
I think people are a bit narrow-minded and quick to judge something they don’t really know. And in my opinion you shouldn’t really speak of what you don’t know.
The media repeatedly have negative views of the whole sugar baby/sugar daddy phenomenon, saying it’s often a sexual thing, what do you think of this?
The website clearly states that [sex] is not acceptable so that’s all I’ve really got to say. If people are breaking rules that’s on their head, their own ill doing.
Have you ever crossed the line?
Is there a correlation between sugar daddies and loneliness?
Well, company is a consistent thing you hear, they want someone to dine with, a friend. Company. I consider myself relatively good company.
Why do you think people turn to online sites like Seeking Arrangement for pairings, rather than finding them in real life?
There’s a lack of opportunity. They’re very busy men and don’t have enough time. They also don’t mix in the same circles as sugar babies. That’s a big factor.
Would you recommend being a sugar baby to friends and other young women?
I have yeah. And they love it.
Read More - > Men who buy sex share their brutally honest stories
By Lydia Morrish, published on 10/02/2016