I can remember when I was a teenager and became enthralled with my aunts; their style, their wigs, their music and especially their patterns of romance. My aunts would tell me that it was OK to have a man give me money or have him pay for certain things. These men were just ‘friends,’ but not boyfriends per se; they had advantages but not privileges. Little did I know what those ‘certain things’ meant to certain man; but I quickly learned what is now known as having a “sugar daddy.”
Although the term ‘Sugar Daddy’ isn’t a new term; the practice has become modernized by social media.
TIK TOK Dating
“I WILL NOT GIVE YOU A DEPOSIT BEFORE WE MEET, NOR PER DATE,” the Tik Tok conversation erupts. “I expect a man to appreciate me with their affection, time and money.”
These are the first of skits and memes that are overt hints that the age of “Sugar Daddy” and “Sugar Momma’ has little to do with old-school chivalry and discretions. With their emergence as a cultural phenomenon, “sugar daddy” Tik Toks have been characterized by some as a digital age reimagining of the oldest profession. The modernized sugar daddy dating trend is an expression of the stark realities of modern dating as paid-to-play sex from both men and it seems, women.
“I strongly believe that our culture has moved away from traditional values of sex,” another Instagram post says. “There aren’t a lot of women who believe in the traditional sex for love anymore.”
Sugar Dating Engagement
Sex for money, gifts, trips and clothes, however, seems to be going gangbusters.
The growing number of singles and and non-discreet marrieds have adopted their own set of overt rules of sugar-dating engagement: generally the most financially secure men and/or women will pay a negotiated monthly allowance ($4,800 is the average paid according to seekingarrangment.com) or provide other perks to generally attractive men and women who agree to date and or/service them. And by date, we mean have sex, according to interviews with eight self-proclaimed sugar daddies and sugar babies with profiles on three different sites that facilitate money-based unions. There’s no courting or getting to know you period; it has become a financial transaction; like ordering a cheese burger and fries.
“If I’m going to date anyway, it makes sense to spend that time and effort on men who are going to give me something in return,” says one 20-something college student. She expects at least $3,500 a month plus expenses, dinners and some travel. In return, she says, “I give them what they want — a hot girl to accompany them to events and no-strings-attached sex. I understand the game. They’re men. They want sex. And I want their money.”
It’s not exactly the stuff of Steve Wonder wrote love songs about. But it has become common vernacular for the growing ranks of dating reenactments, experiences and occurrences recorded by dating men and women.
What About the Prostitutes?
That growth has triggered the interest of prosecutors and law enforcement across North America. Allegations of prostitution are even being leveled at the sugar baby industry by those who know it best: prostitutes. Experts agree a key driver of sugar baby growth in recent years is economic.
The financial realities for young people — from spiking tuition rates to skyrocketing youth unemployment and unpaid internships — have given birth to the sugar baby bulge.
“It’s not at all surprising that young people, especially young women, are looking to find other ways to make money.”