Sweet deal? Student debt and Sugar Babies
By Lorraine Kelly
The current tuition at the University of Puget Sound is $49,510, not including fees. Millennials are plagued with student loans, debts and the daunting fear of financial instability.
Some students are utilizing sugar babying to offset the costs.
With the arrival of websites like Seeking Arrangement, Sugar Daddy Meet and Let’s Talk Sugar, “sugar babying,” or dating older individuals for financial compensation, has become more and more prevalent. According to the Seeking Arrangement website, there are 10 million active members, which is broken down into 8 million sugar babies and 2 million sugar daddies and mommies.
According to Seeking Arrangement, over 3 million registered users are students currently seeking financial aid on Seeking Arrangement.com. The site even has an entire ad campaign dedicated to young, college-aged sugar babies, called Sugar Baby University. The campaign lists universities with the highest number of members, including Arizona State University, Temple University and New York University. There was no data available about students at the University of Puget Sound.
For the sake of investigative journalism and personal curiosity, I made an account on SeekingArrangement.com. The phone app asked a variety of personal questions about my weight, height and hair color. It proceeded to ask what my financial needs were and what my occupation was. There was a section to indicate my sexuality, although the site only offers “interested in males or females.” There was a biography section, as well as a section to outline what I was looking for.
Almost instantly, older men and women, mostly between the ages of 40 and 60, were contacting me, viewing my profile, sending favorites my way. Some immediately offered money, others tried conversation. One was bold enough to call himself “daddy” right off the bat. I responded with a few greetings and much of the following conversations revolved around what our ideal arrangements would look like.
Milan Hilton (pseudonym) is a sugar baby. I met Hilton through a mutual friend, and she introduced me to the act of sugar babying. She goes on dates with various men she has gotten in contact with via Seeking Arrangement for financial compensation. These dates range from dinners to overnight stays.
According to Hilton, most of these men are older and in search of company. She is paid for her time and services, sometimes meeting for over 12 hours at a time. Her “allowance,” or what she is paid per meeting, depends on the man. “Overnight stays are usually upwards of $1,000,” she said.
When asked why she started sugaring, Hilton cited the nature of college life. “Being a student is expensive; friends want to go to dinner or shopping, and I couldn’t keep up,” she said. Sugaring is an effective way to make money, and it can lead to new relationships for some.
Like any job, being a sugar baby comes with its difficulties. Hilton always alerts her friends before going on dates, and she shares her location in case something bad happens. “It really is dangerous,” she said. “In theory, I could get kidnapped.” Many sugar babies, along with most sex workers in general, carry pepper spray, knives or another form of personal protection. Most sugar babies don’t use their real name or give out any personal information until they know their client well enough to trust them.
Many worry about the relationship aspect of sugar baby/sugar daddy situations. “For me, it’s work. It’s a business,” Hilton said. Hilton has regular daddies that she’s seen for multiple dates, but she doesn’t consider them boyfriends. Being a sugar baby takes time and effort, and for many, the relationship ends up being mostly a platonic friends-with-benefits situation.
Sugar babying is an emerging option that gives people an opportunity to support themselves financially. Recently, stories of college women engaging in this line of work have become something of a media trend. Our intention here is not to imply that sugaring, especially sugaring by college individuals, is more or less legitimate than any other occupation, especially other taboo fields.
But everyone can agree that tuition is expensive, and we are a university publication that strives to speak to our students’ experiences. Being a sugar baby allows many individuals to become financially stable while simultaneously offering the opportunity to form meaningful relationships.