He is 26, from London, is worth near 2 million and has popped the big question… would you like to be my sugar baby?
He doesn’t want her hand in marriage or promises of a family, but just someone who is beautiful, has an amazing body and very arrogant. He also doesn’t mind if she spends a night with her friends because all he is asking for is to meet a few times a month, take her shopping and transfer £1,500 into her bank account every four weeks.
All she has to do is say yes and fulfill his needs by sending what he describes as pictures and videos of her ‘showing off’. It’s unclear what he exactly means by this term, but it’s surprising that some sugar daddies don’t actually want any sexual relations.
I’m pretty sure that most girls would agree that for that kind of money, that really doesn’t seem too shabby. Well, with over 5 million members signed up to this dating app, it would seem that way anyway.
Recently, the BBC published an article claiming that 250,000 UK students currently enjoy the benefits of using a dating app to find their very own sugar daddy. Unlike apps like Tinder and Grinder, the aim is not to find love or lust but to fund their degree and to embrace the finer things in life at the expense of someone else.
The ‘arrangement’ involves a young male or female who seeks out an older, wealthy male or female partner, or, vice versa. Realistically, the pair meet up with the expectation of sex in exchange for a monetary allowance or expensive gifts. It is also implied that the sugar baby may receive an allowance just for going to dinner, or ‘spending time’ with their sugar daddy, but that sounds a bit naïve.
According to the BBC, the app ‘Seeking arrangement’ has seen a growth of 40% in the number of young women signing up over the last year. But most interestingly, the University of Portsmouth has provided the most new sign-ups, along with the University of Kent.
It appears many of the young female students at Portsmouth are seeking a different sort of financial support for their studies; as funding is being cut and fees are living costs remain high.
While the report can’t confirm how many accounts are active and are currently dating sugar daddies, it shows that it is something that many are now considering. So we decided to see what it was all about.
A friend of mine, who wished to remain anonymous, excitedly volunteered to sign up to the app and to get her very own sugar rush.
Setting up the account was free and easy to do. Simply create a username, add a few photos and turn on your location settings. Done.
“BBC claim that 250,000 UK students currently enjoy the benefits of using a dating app to find their very own sugar dadd,y with the University of Portsmouth providing the most new sign-ups”
If you want to take it a bit more seriously then there are options to add more personal details, including your body type, drinking habits and what exactly it is that you are seeking.
The apps’ website promises that within an average of 5 days, most sugar babies organise their first arrangement and soon enough the messages started coming through.
Stephen*, 37, was the first to make contact and was simply looking for someone to spend time with. He kindly shared his private photos for us to view, but sadly I never saw more than his rather seedy, topless profile photo.
Shortly after, Paul*, 26, messaged and was offering something a little more tempting. For starts he didn’t fit the sugar daddy stereotype. He was young, looked in reasonable shape and didn’t seem overly creepy. In fact, the blonde, surfer haired guy looked just like the perfect, humble type that your mum would love.
He was straight to the point and was actively seeking a replacement for his current SB who was soon moving to Dubai. While I’ve never known arrogance to be an attractive quality, it was on his list of requirements. But so was finding someone willing to go shopping every month and who would accept well over £1000 as a monthly allowance. Sounds pretty perfect right? But unfortunately his way with words wasn’t so appealing…
“She’s bland, unattractive and not in your league and I want someone to email her to show her why she has no chance.”
Pretty smooth I’d say. Maybe he should have read the company’s article entitled ‘How to spot a gold digger’.
So maybe this is an insight into the downside of being a part of one of these undeniably intriguing arrangements. Beauty is everything.
Even the website defines a sugar baby has someone who is ‘attractive’ and continues to emphasise this point at any given chance. If you’re easily offended or upset by a guy who may suggest you’re not quite good enough, then this app won’t help your self-esteem.
It’s clear that the app is designed for those with money seeking those who have the looks to counteract the fact they may have none. Personally, I find this slightly awkward, as you have to participate in activities that genuine couples do, but know that at the end of your dinner date, it isn’t just the bill he is paying.
Some also dislike the idea of being someone’s baby and compare it to a form of protestation. And no offence to all the sugar babies out there, the first image your brain creates does kind of resemble a low IQ, materialistic woman who isn’t afraid to flash a little extra skin and go by the name of ‘Honeybee’. But I understand this is extremely prejudice and inaccurate, as for one, these babies got into university. It’s just a stereotype that sticks to those working within the sex industry.
But that’s the thing, is this sex work? Neither Paul* or Stephen* specifically asked for sex and some girls signed up on the basis they don’t offer sleepovers for money.
Lucy, a former Portsmouth student, has been in three sugar daddy relationship, is now a professional escort.
“Why can’t I sell my body like this? Who can tell me I can’t? I love my job and I have no plans to stop.”
She said: “By the time I was half way through my second year I started needing more support. Moving out of halls and having those bills made life really tight and I found my friends working more hours in bars or restaurants to get by.
“I don’t see the problem. All three of the guys had wives and children that I knew about, but we never spoke about. I was their get away from it all. I didn’t need to do this, I wanted to.”
Some may assume that a cash-strapped student will go from sugar baby to full-time sex worker. But Lucy said that she knows of other escorts that haven’t come from the same background as her.
It’s incredibly simple to ‘slut-shame’ or call out anybody who enters these relationships, but really, we could at least question why there has been enough of a demand for paid relationships for an app to be created.
It is a fact that with the raising tuition fees, students are becoming increasingly financially insecure. With escorts such as Lucy earning up to an extra £400 a week for a few hours of work which they enjoy, it’s not surprising many consider this career choice.
However, as ever, safety must come first. But, it’s easy to see why people may deem the industry as unsafe and risky when it involves meeting with total strangers.
Lucy said: “On the whole, sex workers that aren’t addicted to anything are generally safe. I would never work outside of an agency and even though I see some of the guys every week I wouldn’t meet them without the booking going through the agency first.”
Yet, for Lucy, the easiest way to make this industry safe would be for the Goverment to adopt a policy recognising prostitution as a legal right.
She said: “I think the whole industry would be safer if that was the case. Why can’t I sell my body like this? Who can tell me I can’t? I no longer see the difference between escorting and any other job. I love my job and I have no plans to stop.”
Yet, it is not clear whether this is a form of prostitution or not. The arrangement is clear in the sense that sugar daddies are loaded and are very generous with their money. A baby must also be accepting to the fact business comes first and sometimes even a family. But there are no regulations or rules around sex.
“With escorts such as Lucy earning up to an extra £400 a week for a few hours of work which they enjoy, it’s not surprisingly many consider this career choice”
When you read the information on the website everything seems very serious and legitimate, but you can’t help but feel a bit uneasy about some things. For example, they emphasise how ‘daddy is busy trying to maintain his cash flow’ and that all babies should help to keep daddy’s identity a secret in order to maintain the fun and rewards.
Basically, money buys your silence, sex and stilettos.
After browsing through the app and learning all about this unique form of dating, it is easy to see why girls are trying it. Especially if your arrangement only includes meeting for dinner dates and expensive shopping sprees, I mean who wouldn’t consider it when nearing the end of your overdraft.
But when the pictures and sleepovers get involved it certainly becomes something that isn’t for me. While it is a quick and fairly easy way to pay off your student debt, it’s not something everyone would be comfortable with.
Because to be honest, I wouldn’t fancy explaining to my actual Daddy where I got my new Louboutins from.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.