Sugar Babies

In March I wrote a post about the supposed problem of lonely men renting out their spare rooms to skint women in exchange for sex. At the time I said:

So sad, lonely bastards offer homeless women a roof and a hot shower in return for companionship and, possibly, sex. Unless there is assault or rape going on, what the hell is the problem here?

This being modern Britain, some campaigner or other wanted it made illegal. However, yesterday a reader sent me a link to this article:

Penny lives in a grubby student house; the carpet in her living room is flooded, there are missing tiles on the kitchen floor and the hob doesn’t work. The heating is so bad that, sometimes, it’s cold enough in the house to see her own breath.

If it were just down to her maintenance loan, Penny would struggle to cover her living costs each month. But rather than getting a more conventional part-time job, she has – like an increasing number of other students – turned to ‘sugar babying’ to supplement her income.

And sugar-babying is…

As a sugar baby, Penny enters consensual, transactional relationships with older, richer men – ‘sugar daddies’ – who she spends time with in exchange for ‘gifts’, sometimes in the form of cash.

Isn’t this perilously close to prostitution?

Whether the sugar baby-sugar daddy relationship is sex work is a contentious issue. While some sugar babies do have sex as part of their arrangement, other services are also provided – such as companionship.

So at best it’s escort work, otherwise it’s straight-up prostitution.

“I’d prefer to have a date and get food out of it rather than just go to a hotel room and have sex with them,” Penny says. “I don’t really want that because that’s quite prostitution-y.”

You think?

Penny’s most recent sugar daddy paid for their first meeting in drugs: “He gave me £80 worth of coke.”

A minute ago she was doing this because she was freezing to death.

She is, however, considering sex with her latest sugar daddy. They have been talking for months, but she has met him only once before.

Unless he’s sending her cash every week, how is this a sugar daddy? They just sound like two people who are useless at dating.

“We have spoken about having sex and he’s sent me a screenshot showing that he’s clean. I trust him that way.”

Eh? Don’t you normally need tests and results to show you’re clean? And since you brought it up, how clean are you, missy?

She has decided to stay over when she next sees him and though she is looking forward to it, she confesses she still has nerves. Her meetings can often take her to cities and train stations she’s never been to before, and given the fact he’s still virtually a stranger, it’s hard not to see how this leaves her vulnerable.

Has she considered working from a brothel or getting a pimp for protection?

There is no research into the risks specific to being a sugar baby.

Meaning, the researchers don’t use that term.

And yet, there are no laws relating specifically to sugar dating. In the event that sex is offered in exchange for payment in these relationships, it would, theoretically, be covered by prostitution laws and therefore be legal in England, Scotland and Wales.

Indeed, how would the law distinguish between being paid for sex as a sugar baby and being paid for sex as a prostitute?

This article is most interesting when contrasted with the one I wrote about in March. Back then, a man offering his spare room in exchange for sex was an abomination, exploitative towards women, and should be made illegal. But apparently a woman can get her rent paid in exchange for having sex and it’s all okay; indeed, she doesn’t even have to endure the indignity of being a prostitute if she calls herself a sugar baby.


11 thoughts on “Sugar Babies

  1. Who she spends time with in exchange for ‘gifts’, sometimes in the form of cash

    Penny’s most recent sugar daddy paid for their first meeting in drugs: “He gave me £80 worth of coke.”

    Sleeping with old men for drug money (and all the description of her living conditions is just puff from the bbc to win sympathy). And given she is otherwise relying only on her maintenance loan it suggests she is from a background well-off enough to not have any government support. I wonder what the hell has gone on here with the parent-daughter relationship? Have they refused to give her money because they know she will blow it on blow?

  2. I wonder what the hell has gone on here with the parent-daughter relationship?

    I don’t know, but it’s gone badly f*cking wrong.

  3. that’s quite prostitution-y

    Tragic. I’d rate f*cking guys for coke below ‘prostitution-y’ in the scale of human degredation.

    there are no laws relating specifically to sugar dating

    I doubt the relevant law refers to ‘going on the game’, ‘turning tricks’ or ‘tomming it’ either.

  4. Courtesan, as seen in the movie Gigi never really go away. It’s just not codified in contract as seen in that movie. They’re just putting up a new paint and name.

  5. “Indeed, how would the law distinguish between being paid for sex as a sugar baby and being paid for sex as a prostitute?”

    Or a good deal of traditional dating/marriage………… how many marriages would the woman initiate divorce if her husband stopped providing the standard of living she had become accustomed to?

  6. Along with other accounts of female students in some variation of sex work this might explain the preponderance of females at college – it’s easier for them to afford.

  7. Isn’t this perilously close to prostitution?


    It is prostitution.

    In the same way that “polyamory” is a way for damaged older women to fool themselves that using sex to get attention is really about emotional bonds, “sugar babying” is a way for damaged younger women to fool themselves that whoring themselves out isn’t really prostitution.

    Disclaimer: on occasion I do consulting work for one of the larger sugar baby hookup sites. It’s been an illuminating experience. Note that in most jurisdictions actual prostitution isn’t illegal, for all the reasons Jim mentions. Solicitation/Communication for the intent is.

  8. …Penny has a bleak view of what the future holds for her; being a sugar baby is something she expects will continue even after university.

    “I doubt I’m going to get a good job where they pay really well,” she says. “So I’m just going to carry on doing it.”

    So, it really has nothing whatsoever to do with a means of supplementing her student maintenance loan. But rather everything to do with her not being arsed enough to study for a degree that will result in a fulfilling and well paid career.

  9. In the way of completeness I will repost the comment I made back in March on the other post.

    Back in the 1990’s I used to work as an IT Contractor for a weird subdivision of the Department of the Environment called Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Pollution.

    One of the “civvies” was a young lad in his early 30’s who came from a rather affluent middle class background, went to one of the older universities and owned a 2-bed flat in Pimlico.

    His idea of “dating” was to advertise the bedroom for let via a PO Box no. (see written correspondence only) and then filter through the applicants. He had a particular preference for German blondes and used to advertise on the notice boards of the local universities and language schools.

    He used to offer a provisional month before coming up with a full 6-month rental contract “To make sure we can both get along”. Basically if he wasn’t fucking her by the end of the 1st week of the “provisional month” then “it wasn’t working”, at least not for him obviously.

    Now you can accuse him of having a shockingly awful view of women (and he did), but more than anything else he was lazy and didn’t see why he shouldn’t utilise his most valuable asset (his flat) to get him women.

    I met both of the “girlfriends” and they were decent, attractive, intelligent women, so he must have had something going for him other than an absence of morality or character. I think those are against the Civil Service Code anyway.

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