The stigma of sugar babies needs to disappear

Sex workers provide more than sex; they provide companionship in a lonely world

Sugar+dating+fulfills+everyone%E2%80%99s+needs%3A+cash+and+networking+in+exchange+for+a+casual+romantic+relationship.+%28Photo+Illustration+by+Current+Staff%29

Sugar dating fulfills everyone’s needs: cash and networking in exchange for a casual romantic relationship. (Photo Illustration by Current Staff)

Anonymous

The writer for this piece wishes to remain anonymous to protect their privacy. 

When I tell people I am a successful sugar baby, I get reactions of disbelief.

After all, sugar babies are blonde, busty women in heels sitting in the laps of elderly men, wearing luxury brand clothing and sipping champagne. Their smiles are bright, their conversations vapid. Their only job is to look beautiful and non-threatening.

I don’t exactly fit that image.

I don’t even own a pair of heels.

The other reactions I get vary from curiosity to straight up disgust. After all, it’s borderline sex work. We don’t teach our daughters to work hard in school just so they can become sugar babies.  

But there’s the secret – you can work hard in school and still not afford it. You can get great grades but not have the connections you need to get into the industry you want. We can argue the socioeconomics of this injustice for days and not get any closer to a solution. Sometimes, all you need to get ahead is one little push, a little hustle, a side gig.

Getting a second job as a bartender to cover your bills? Great hustle! Tutoring? Throw that on your resume! Have dinner with a rich man while you regale him with interesting stories, ending the night with a kiss? Shameful.

That shaming needs to stop.

Before I got into sugar dating, I had a side gig as a phone sex worker. At a dollar a minute, you could chat with me on the phone about any topic that I didn’t deem violent.

Probably 80 % of the time, I chatted with men who were in their 60s. While it was a sex hotline, my returning clients spent the majority of their time talking about their lives. One man told me happy memories of his deceased wife. He confessed how nervous he was to be the lone parent of an 11-year-old. I asked him if he had talked to anyone else about his grief.

“You’re cheaper than a therapist,” he said.

Not only was I cheaper than a therapist, but he could feel good talking to a pretty young woman who listened attentively. I made him feel special. I made him feel heard. I laughed at his dirty innuendos and made a few of my own. I provided a service that he gladly paid for.

Sugar dating isn’t that different. I don’t have to be a model; I have to be real. I don’t shave my legs in the wintertime, I don’t wear makeup, and I think my one and only manicure happened a decade ago.

My dates want to have a pleasant night with someone real, happy and ambitious. I can hold a conversation on nearly any topic; a far cry from the “ditzy sugar baby.” They are charmed. They want me to succeed, so they contribute to my college fund.

How is that any different than a bartender nodding sympathetically at happy hour and getting a large tip?

The elephant in the room here would be the sex. Sugar babies sleep with men for money, right? Bartenders don’t do that.

Well, not everyone does. Sugar dating is like regular dating but with an allowance. Some people have sex on the first date, and some wait a bit until they trust their partner. Most sugar babies I’ve talked to will drop a sugar daddy if they feel pressured into doing something they don’t want to do. But who cares if a sugar baby sleeps with her date?

It isn’t any of my business who is sleeping with whom. If all parties are willing and happy, then I don’t care. I don’t care if money is exchanged. I don’t care if a deal had to be negotiated first. I just care if it was consensual and safe.

There is no reason for sex work to have the reputation and stigma associated with it. I’m not dirty. I’m not stupid. I’m determined. I’m hustling. I am using whatever talents I possess to get ahead in this world.