The 'Sugar Daddy' Lifestyle.

**Disclaimer – I am not advocating this profession. Please commit to thorough research before considering getting involved in anything.**
There are a lot of individuals worldwide who turn to this lifestyle. Whether that person is the provider or the receiver, it benefits both parties. However, the lifestyle has received a lot of criticism and conflicting views, saying that it resembles a fancier version of prostitution. Due to this, there has been a lot of controversy around the subject and it is seen as a ‘grey area’ to most. For others though, it is a way to remain financially stable.
There is a large amount of research on cross-generational, intra-generational and inter-generational relationships; both in developed and developing countries. These relationships can be considered broadly as relationships within and across generational configurations (adolescence, adulthood, midlife and elderly stages). Across countries, societies and cultures in human history have been of the heterosexual or homosexual nature. While cross-generational consenting relationships have been in existence throughout the history of mankind, their extent with respect to sexual behaviours associated with the ‘sugar practice’ requires regular review to ensure it is still a safe lifestyle to commit to (Kuate-Defo, 2004, pp.13).
What is it?
A sugar daddy is known as an older man who financially supports a younger woman in exchange for companionship and sometimes intimate activities. The older man is usually very wealthy to be able to provide for the younger woman.
The relationship is mutually consenting on both sides and the young woman has complete control over the ‘arrangement’ she wants. She can be as selective as she wants and will also lay out her ‘demands’ beforehand. This can take the form of a monthly allowance, weekly gifts and other forms of payment. There are some Sugar Babies who have received a monthly allowance of £10,000, and others have received expensively lavish gifts such as cars and holiday trips.
Who and why do people do it?
Those who participate in the sugar lifestyle are very often university students, unemployed women or young business professionals. Each person takes part in the lifestyle for different reasons and some of those reasons include:
  • Paying off university tuition loans.
  • Getting a bit of a head-start in life.
  • Supporting children, themselves or paying off expenses for loved ones.
  • Paying for rent or any long-lasting debts.
  • Treating themselves to the finer things in life.
There is not always a reason as to why young women take part in this lifestyle. Sometimes, they just do it for fun, and really like the sugar daddy, therefore, want to take the mutually consenting relationship further.
Seeking Arrangement, Sugar Platform:
Seeking Arrangement is a self-proclaimed platform that provides ‘mentor-ship and quality companionship’ for university students – more often than not, young women. These women ‘sugar babies,’ are almost showered with riches by wealthier, older men – ‘sugar daddies,’ in exchange for companionship.
It is inevitable to think the only thing men seek is intercourse. That is a simplistic and inaccurate understanding of the matter. However, this lifestyle is well-known in western countries, especially in the United States and United Kingdom. However, it is also very popular in Africa. The website skirts the issue of prostitution by promoting ‘The Sugar Baby University,’ a platform  where young women can exchange ‘companionship’ for guidance and in some cases, intimacy.
The website launched in 2006 and has over 5 million users, of which 2 million are university students according to the sites statistics, which tracks student registrations with their edu (dot) email addresses. In the United States, these types of arrangements are not considered to be any form of prostitution because there is consent on both sides.
How does payment work?
Seeking Arrangement allows individuals to be explicit and to the point about what they are looking for. Many sugar daddies seek a young adult to invest their time and money in and sugar babies welcome those investments for their own well-being. Some may even deem it as a hobby, a new experience per se.
However, more often than not, sugar babies need the funds in order to provide for themselves and help reach their life goals.
On average, sugar babies earn from £100-£3,000 a month, which can be broken down into various categories. Most sugar babies receive expensive gifts, such as holiday and shopping trips. The website categorises the average allowance spending into 6 sections:
  1. Transport.
  2. Clothing.
  3. Books.
  4. Rent.
  5. Tuition.
  6. Other.
For university students, facing the economic uncertainty that awaits them after graduation can be very daunting as they have to look for other, less traditional sources of income. In an effort to pay off these loans, they sign up for websites such as Seeking Arrangement, which offer a selection of sugar daddies (Motyl, 2012, pp.927).
The Taboo:
Young women who have a sugar daddy are seen as a taboo to many people and considered to be immoral behaviour. A lot of people believe the taboo exists because of society’s hatred of older men dating younger women. This hatred was likely invented by older women and indoctrinated into us by the mothering process.
Due to the nature of this taboo, a lot of these relationships are kept top-secret and those that do take part in the lifestyle lead a double life, which can be difficult. It would be very awkward for a younger woman to come home to her parents or friends with money splashing out of her pockets, then having to explain where it all came from. She does not want to be called a prostitute so will keep the information to herself and older men will not tell their friends they have a sugar baby because he will likely be called a ‘dirty old man,’ or a ‘perverted old man.’
The Difference Between a Sugar Baby and a Prostitute:
According to Seeking Arrangement (2017), many individuals are quick to label the ‘Sugar’ lifestyle choice as prostitution, but there are many differences between this lifestyle and the oldest profession everyone is aware of. There are four differences that must be remembered when taking up this lifestyle:
1) A Relationship vs a Transaction:
A prostitute and a client have a transactional relationship, which means two individuals pay for some sort of physical activity (usually intimate activities) then part ways. This is usually a one time occurrence, otherwise known as a job. There is no relationship and no possibility for a future relationship, which is the key difference to a sugar daddy.
Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies have on-going relationships that are not transactions. They closely resemble a secretive and mutually consenting relationship. Similar to a girlfriend and boyfriend type relationship, only, the age gap is a lot wider. There are real connections and real possibilities at romance, which is something that is not in the realm of possibility for prostitutes or escorts. Just because a relationship does not follow the traditional rules of courtship, does not mean it is not valid and it is also not an illegal activity.
2) A Sugar Baby vs A Prostitute:
‘Sugar’ is a lifestyle choice, not a profession. A sugar baby is a woman who wants to date a financially secure man who can provide her with the life she desires. This individual can be as selective as she wants about who she wants to date. On the other hand, a prostitute cannot be picky about who she takes on as a client.
The risks involved with prostitution are countless and include the potential of getting arrested, abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and theft of services. Many prostitutes are also subject to some form of emotional and physical abuse, especially when involved with someone who has a violent background. In the sugar lifestyle, sex is never a requirement, only an aspiration. Individuals that choose sugar have the choice of what they want to do. They could just talk online or go out with their sugar daddy and provide them with younger company.
3) Dating a Sugar Baby vs Ordering a Prostitute:
A sugar daddy can be very generous and wants to see their partner succeed. When two individuals are involved in a mutually beneficial relationship, they respect and value one another’s time. These sugar relationships can even turn into long-term serious relationships.
Prostitutes on the other hand are paid to perform a service, while sugar babies sometimes receive funds as an ‘added benefit’ of dating a generous man. In prostitution, a ‘John’ does not want a hooker to leave and in the sugar lifestyle, a Sugar Daddy does not want his Sugar Baby to leave. While an escort may have a sordid sexual history, a sugar relationship is often monogamous.
4) Quality vs Quantity:
Most Sugar Babies are not solely involved in the sugar lifestyle. Sugar babies very often range from being teachers, university students, actresses and business professionals. They seek successful mentors that can advance their career, not as a temporary fix. Sugar babies can be present in the lives of Sugar Daddies because they have long-term professional goals and interesting personalities to keep everyone interested.
However, prostitutes use their trade and ‘skills’ as a source of income. It is a last resort for many women who are stuck for money. They are not usually looking for mentors or anyone with a specific level of expertise. You could meet hundreds of escorts before finding anyone to fulfill your emotional needs. The key difference between prostitutes and sugar babies, is that prostitutes are hired to play for the evening and will be whoever you want them to be. The escort will treat you like a job, not a man.
The Stigma:
Conventional dating methods are similar to that of the sugar lifestyle. The stigma stems from the fact that the man taking the tole of a sugar daddy is twice as old as the sugar baby. However, regardless of the age gap, sugaring involves people meeting and attempting to foster a relationship based on commonalities.
When does it become an illegal lifestyle?
There is a very fine line between a job and a hobby, which are taxes. As a hobby, there is a low risk when adopting the sugar lifestyle. It becomes illegal when sugar babies dodge government taxes and seek ways to lock-up their savings.
People in modern-day society will think that because money is being spent on a companion, that some form of illegal activity is taking place, but this is far from the truth and a common stereotype. This type of relationship is based around companionship and this way of dating works because it is mutually exclusive.
Yes, there is money involved, but the sugar daddy and sugar baby agree on what is going to happen beforehand. So, as you can see, many people do have the wrong assumption about the lifestyle. Yes money is involved, and companionship and affection and sometimes intimacy, but it is all done legally and each person is mutually consenting to the activities they agree on.
It is not all younger women and older men:
It is very common for younger women to be the main category of people to utilise sugar daddies and want the lifestyle, however, sports clubs (specifically football) also use sugar daddies. They benefit each other in different ways, but it works and is completely consenting on both sides.
Sports Clubs – Sugar Daddies sometimes invest their money into societies and sports clubs then become their owners. This is very common in football as a lot of finance is required for the profession. In the Premier League, the top tier of professional English football, rich individuals invest enormous sums of money to support the club. An example case of this was the ‘jack Walker’s’ investment in the second tier Blackburn Rovers F.C in the early 1990’s, which led the club to the Premier League championship in 1994-1995. This finance has become a very important trend in the football industry and the sugar daddy investment is not a uniquely British phenomenon, however, this is gradually changing (Lang et al., 2011, pp.557).
Even though this profession is given a bad name and has a bad reputation behind it, it should not be seen as a ‘grey area.’ Yes, there will always be those that have conflicting views on the matter and view it as immoral behaviour, but if both parties mutually consent to the agreement then it is not an illegal activity, nor is it a crime. So, why is this not being accepted into modern-day society?
What are your thoughts?
Thank you for reading.
  • Kuate-Defo, B. (2004). Young people’s relationships with sugar daddies and sugar mummies: what do we know and what do we need to know? African journal of reproductive health. 1(1), pp.13-pp.37.
  • Lang, M., Grossmann, M., and Theiler, P. (2011). The Sugar Daddy’s Game: How Wealthy Investors Change Competition in Professional Sports Teams. Journal of  Institutional and Theoretical Economics. 167(4), pp.557-pp.577.
  • Motyl, J. (2012). Trading Sex for College Tuition: How Sugar Daddy Dating Sites May be Sugar Coating Prostitution. Penn St. L. Rev. 117(1), pp.927.
  • Pardiwalla, A. (2016). Sugaring: A New Kind of Irresistible. Huffpost [online]. Available from: [Accessed: 07/09.2017].
  • Wade, B. (2017). Mutually Benefiting Arrangements. Seeking Arrangement [online]. Available from: [Accessed: 06.09.2017].

Chelsea RE

I am a graduate of university, with a degree in Applied Animal Studies. Higher education gave me the chance to get actively involved in political and educational issues that had a national effect on students. Therefore, I mostly specialise in Education and Politics within the UK, however, I try to keep an open mind when writing articles. Whilst animals have nothing to do with writing, I soon became very passionate about important issues that people seem to turn a blind eye to, so decided to start writing. As a result, this has intrigued me into wanting to write professionally.
  • Here in Vancouver there are a lot of Sugar Daddy’s and believe it or not Sugar Mama’s. During the so called harsh economic times, the mutual agreement between the two individuals has become a popular lifestyle even though money can’t buy you love. People work hours on end just to get by or rich people have a difficult time making time for companionship’s so the sugar lifestyle does make a lot of sense.

    • I could believe that there are also Sugar Mama’s. I could also understand with the way the economy is heading, people will look for non-traditional methods of earning an income, which is where this comes in to play. Even though it is not a strict form of love, it is still companionship and mutually consenting, which is the main point that counts. No-one is being forced to do anything and individuals can get a pretty hefty income from it. It’s a good thing it benefits both parties as well. It is becoming a more common thing in the UK. Yes, it still has its grey area when people talk about it or joke about it, but I think something like this should be acknowledged rather than swept off the shoulder.

  • Anh Ha

    I miss the original feature image dearly Little Chelsea.