Words By: Celeste Stephens
*Names have been changed to protect identity.
People crave the finer things in life: exotic trips, expensive restaurants, fancy cars, and designer clothes, all while hoping their part-time job money and financial aid refund check could provide.
Between working night after night and chasing a degree that’s costing more money than we’ll likely make in a lifetime, it’s safe to say that the struggle of a college student is real.
For every problem there is a solution…but that is if you’re sweet enough.
These days, an increasing number of college students are adding “sugar baby” to their resume. For those not familiar with “sugaring” (dating for money), it is an arranged relationship in which a younger girl, or “sugar baby” provides “companionship” in exchange for being spoiled by an older, usually wealthy, man, or sugar daddy, in return for her time.
“Since 2006, more than 5 million college students have joined,” said SeekingArrangement.com, the world’s largest sugar daddy dating site. “This year marks a ten year high for Sugar Baby students with over 1.2 million registered students currently seeking financial aid on SeekingArrangement.com.”
In 2016, Seeking Arrangement’s website reported a list of the top 20 universities and colleges with the fastest growing number of sugar babies based on the number of sign-ups.
|School||Number of Sign-Ups|
|#1 – New York University||225|
|#2 – Arizona State University||189|
|#3 – University of Texas Austin||163|
|#4 – Temple University||155|
|#5 – Kent State University||153|
|#6 – Texas State University||138|
|#7 – Georgia State University||131|
|#8 – Florida International University
#9 – Penn State University
#10 – Virginia Commonwealth University
#11 – University of Central Florida
#12 – University of Houston
#13 – University of South Florida
#14 – University of Arizona
#15 – University of Alabama
#16 – University of Minnesota
#17 – University of California, Berkeley
#18 – University of Colorado, Boulder
#19 – Columbia University
#20 – University of Georgia
Students who don’t take part in these phenomena are not surprised that their particular school is on the list. Senior Music Technology student Zayreton Slaton finds that this setup can be pretty feasible especially in Georgia State’s college town environment.
“It doesn’t surprise me because of the nature of GSU’s campus,” Slaton said. “It’s very fragmented, one minute you’re on campus and the next you’re in downtown Atlanta. This leaves a plethora of opportunity for all kinds of people to interact with students, unfortunately desperate students.”
On Seeking Arrangements, sugar daddies pay $49.95 per month for a premium membership or $1,200 a month for Diamond Club certification, which requires verification of one’s net worth through tax-return data. Sugar babies are able to join for free. While most might think the process of finding a potential daddy is extensive, the application takes all of five minutes in three simple steps.
Step one: Create a login. In it, the site will inquire about sex and if you are a sugar baby looking for a sugar daddy or momma.
Step two: Craft a profile. Add a profile picture, define your terms and explain your arrangement expectations.
Step three: Let the arrangements begin.
Once the profile goes public, potential sugar daddies can message if they are interested in setting up a date. Before responding to their request, the sugar daddy’s profile, which includes net worth, and a biography, can be viewed.
If approved, a line of communication will be opened and a meeting time can be arranged. This date is used to learn more about the potential sugar baby, lay out his sugar baby terms and conditions and attach a price tag. From there, its up to the sugar baby to decide their next move in the relationship.
For Regina Jones, a Florida A&M University alumna, her interactions as a sugar baby were enjoyable ones.
“My experience signing up with Seeking Arrangement was pretty cool. I met some really established business men, young and old,” Jones said. “I had two sugar daddies. My first dates for both were nerve wrecking of course but eventually I became comfortable. They made me feel comfortable, respected, and appreciated.”
According to the site, a sugar baby in a successful arrangement will receive an average of $2,440 per month in allowances and gifts from a sugar daddy.
“I never got an exact amount of money, just know all my financial needs were met,” said junior FAMU pre-med student Kelly King, “I had the keys to his house, keys to his car, and he even tried to buy me a new car. I had a 1995 Toyota Camry.”
Tammy Castle, a professor at James Madison University, whose research includes analyzing the content of escort websites, believes these Sugar Baby-Sugar Daddy relationships are nothing short of prostitution.
“Sugar babies are escorts,” Castle said in an interview with the Atlantic. “The administrators of Seeking Arrangements are trying to avoid the negative stigma of prostitution by advertising this as just another dating website, but money is exchanged for arrangements that may include sex.”
In some cases, sugar daddy’s are not up front about wanting to have sex and end up expecting it later down the line, catching their sugar baby off guard and potentially pushing them away.
“When I was first introduced to this site by The Real, they spoke in a way that women have to have sex with the sugar daddies didn’t,” Jones said. “They simply wanted your time and an ear to listen. At first, for me it started off that way but eventually they will want all they feel they ‘deserve’ to get as a sugar daddy. That was my breaking point. Although I knew what I was signing up for, I didn’t want to be a high-class paid whore.”
Whether in it for fun or in it for the funds, safety should be the first priority when entering in the world of sugaring.
“I see being a sugar baby as a job where there`s specific guidelines and a code of conduct that I and my client must follow to ensure the safety and professionalism [ of the agreement],” said Georgia State University student Melanie Thompson. “At the end of the day, an individual is paying for a service, and you get what you pay for.”