When you think about escorting, you usually think about cheesy ads in the back of a newspaper.
They often read: “High-class female escorts and companions,” or “Classy VIP companion.” But technology has now moved that world online, where women can create profiles and decide who they want to make an ‘arrangement’ with.
The latest trend is the so-called “sugar baby,” where younger people, usually women, seek out “Sugar Daddies” and make arrangements to spend time with them in exchange for gifts or money.
Now, why am I talking about this? Recently I saw the online profile of an old classmate from University who, turns out, decided to become part of the “sugar world” almost four years ago, so I decided to reach out.
“In my own arrangements, most of them have been platonic. So I think that’s definitely not, I’m not sleeping with any of them, so that’s definitely not prostitution.”
Stephanie first joined the sugar baby world when she turned 25.
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“Starting up I wasn’t exactly nervous, I just didn’t know what to expect, but I remember just putting my profile live and overnight there were probably around 70 messages or so…but it was a bit overwhelming because I felt like fresh meat.”
She joined a site called “SeekingArrangement” where sugar babies create a profile and wait for interested Sugar Daddies to contact them.
“It’s just like a regular profile, so there’s an ‘about me’ section, there’s a description and what are you looking for. And there are some required fields as well, so it would be like your age, height, expectations. So it’s kind of like a tiered system, so it starts off with ‘negotiable’ which is kind of anything that you would negotiate in your agreement. Then it goes to ‘minimal’ which is I think up to $1,000 a month. Then ‘practical’ which is $1,000 to $3,000. Then there’s ‘moderate’ which is $3,000 to $5,000 and there’s another level and then there’s ‘high maintenance’ which is over $10,000 a month.”
She says each sugar baby is different, saying some will use it as a play-for-pay site. But for she says for her, things are strictly platonic.
“So I’m open to going out for dinners, travelling, gifts, allowance, stuff like that. Things I’m not open to, I’m not open to married men, I’m not looking for a threesome, I’m not looking for a relationship, this is not the website for that.”
But it doesn’t come without its risks. She says on one occasion she went on a trip without having done her homework about who she was going with or where.
“It was very risky, I could’ve died multiple times, or worse, I could’ve been raped. It could’ve been a very scary, scary situation.”
Is there a difference between “sugaring” and prostitution?
“There’s a really, really fine line between escorting and prostitution and sugaring. But for me, it is an ‘arrangement,’ so it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement between two consenting adults and, I mean there are like pay-for-play type options which I don’t like because I feel like that is kind of prostitution. But the idea is you’re in a long-term kind of arrangement or at least a short-term and it will go like six months and whatnot, so in that way, it’s a little bit different instead of I think, the prostitution might just be like a one-time thing and stuff. So, it’s really hard because the lines are really blurry in that sense.”
She says most men just slip her an envelope with cash into her purse at the end of the day or will take her shopping.
Currently, she makes anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000 a month. But because the money can be considered a “gift” most sugar babies likely don’t pay taxes on the extra income.
Sometimes, the ‘arrangement’ also involves travelling for free.
“Well we could start off with small places, so I’ve been to Whistler many, many, many times, to the Fairmont many times, great hotels. Seattle obviously, Portland wine country, I’ve also been to Connecticut, New York, Chicago, I’ve also gone to Cuba, and most recently Europe, which is awesome. For me it was wonderful, I went to the French Riviera, so I did that whole thing, we went up to Paris, London, yeah, it’s been great…”
Stephanie has a major in Criminology with a minor in Gender Studies from Simon Fraser University with a 3.0 GPA and works two jobs in the luxury travel and hospitality industry.
So what’s encouraging women like Stephanie – who have no financial need – to delve into this world?
For some, it’s debt. Stephanie says some women use the site to pay for tuition or rent. While for others, is having a little extra on the side.
So if the money is so good, why not quit and live off sugaring?
“I have never thought about that and I never ever want to do that. I think it’s so important for me to have my own life and not be reliant on somebody else’s money. It’s really important for me to make my own money and for my ‘sugar job’ to be you know, extra income, play money if you could call it that and savings. So that’s just extra bonus for me. I don’t think it’s wise to quit your job to do that.”
But could there be consequences?
Stephanie says when she settles down with a partner, if he truly is ‘the one,’ he will accept her past.
As for her career? She says there’s no reason future or current employers should judge her for her life outside of work.
So how big is the Sugar Baby world?
Stephanie says she’s noticed sugaring is becoming more and more popular, with many young women reaching out to her for advice.
“I have had a lot of girls reach out to me asking for mentorship and asking for help, which I’ve answered all their questions but I always tell them ‘by the way, you do have to do some work and you do have to practice safety and do your research on these people and do background checks on them and whatnot so, that’s also really important.”
Websites like “SeekingArrangement” make it look like an easy way to make some cash in a very expensive city, and allow women to experience a luxury lifestyle that they might otherwise not afford.
A recent tweet from the company reads: “Sugaring has paid for my student loans, a down payment on my house and I’m just getting started #MondayMotivation.”
— SeekingArrangement (@seekarrangement) March 20, 2017