Making ends meet: being a sugar baby at FAU

College life may not be all that sweet — some needed alternative ways to make money during school.

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Making ends meet: being a sugar baby at FAU

The act of being a sugar baby is called

The act of being a sugar baby is called "sugaring," according to letstalksugar.com. Photo by Melanie Witherup

The act of being a sugar baby is called "sugaring," according to letstalksugar.com. Photo by Melanie Witherup

The act of being a sugar baby is called "sugaring," according to letstalksugar.com. Photo by Melanie Witherup

Cameren Boatner, Staff Writer

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Editor’s note: Diana, Michael, and Sean’s names have been changed, as they wished to remain anonymous.

Diana came to FAU on scholarship in her freshman year but lost it halfway through after she wasn’t able to maintain a high GPA.

Coming from a low-income family, she couldn’t rely on her parents to cover the costs, nor did she want to ask them for help. So she decided to take matters into her own hands.

That was three years ago. Now a senior at 23 years old, she’s paying for college, works a job in the field of politics, is finishing her degree in political science, bought herself a new Subaru in cash, and has $25,000 saved up for law school.

Diana is what most would call a sugar baby. She gets a monthly “allowance” in exchange for companionship, in many senses of the word. She has two “sugar daddies,” as they’re called, named Michael and Sean.

“Really, truly, I do enjoy it because I wouldn’t be living the life I am without them,” she said.

However, it’s not always easy. To most, getting paid to hang out with someone seems like a no-brainer, but Diana said it takes a toll on her wellbeing.

“I hate it, but I love it. It is degrading, it’s difficult, but you have to just look at it as a job,” she said.

Just a job

Diana set up her profile on Seeking.com, which basically works as a dating website for sugar daddies/mommies to find sugar babies, and vice versa.

Just like a regular dating profile, she has a cute, yet modest profile picture and a little bit about herself in her bio. But Diana doesn’t like the terms “sugar baby” and “sugar daddy.” She says the bottom line is, it’s just work.

“I don’t call myself a sugar baby. It’s just a job. At the end of the day, it’s sex work, and I’m a prostitute,” Diana said. “But sex work is real work.”

Diana has been with Michael and Sean for two years, and she gets an allowance of $2,000 a month to meet with them once a week on average. Working two other jobs along with sugaring, Diana makes a total of around $50,000 a year.

Decked in a plaid, expensive-looking pantsuit and heels, Diana says her shopping trips typically cost upwards of $1,000.

“My mom knows I have nice clothes, and she must assume I spend quite a bit, but she wouldn’t be happy if she knew I was spending thousands on clothes,” she said. “My mom is a super feminist liberal, and she thinks sex work is real work, but I think it would be different if she knew it was her own daughter.”

Sugaring goes both ways

While most stereotype a sugar baby as a young woman, some are male as well. Ben, who wanted his last name left out of this article, uses Grindr to find clients.

The sophomore at FAU has been sugaring for two years and says the most important part of his job is to enjoy himself, on his own terms.

“It’s all based on my circumstances and what I want. They like to think I’m doing it for them, but it’s all for me and my pleasure,” he said.

Ben, who is bisexual, became a sugar baby when someone offered him money for sex on Grindr. He wasn’t actively looking for a sugar daddy but decided he wanted to have sex and figured the payment was a bonus.

He was slightly nervous at first, but has found nothing to be dangerous so far, he said.

“In the male gay community, at least, they’re mostly sincere. I ask them if they’re clean, and if they say yes, I have no reason to not believe them. And if by some chance they did give me something, they’d have a lawsuit on them,” Ben said.

He says the usual offer is around $75, the men are normally in their 30s to 60s, and he goes for men that live in “easily multi-million dollar” homes in West Boca — they’re willing to pay more. But he says you can’t always be searching for these people.

“Don’t get picky, because then you won’t enjoy it. Just have fun, and if you ever feel uncomfortable, leave,” Ben said.

Ben says whatever he does, he always makes sure to enjoy himself with his job.

“Being a six-foot-tall man, not many people would want to try me. But if you were a girl, I’d say carry a weapon, because it can be dangerous. I also feel like women doing this could be paid a lot more. I’d pay more for a girl than I would for a guy. Women just don’t need to pay for companionship,” he said.

He says being a male sugar baby is much different from being a female sugar baby — it’s safer but pays much less.

How does sugaring line up in the US?

Out of every 1,000 women in Florida, about 21 are sugar babies, and out of every 1,000 men, about 5 are sugar babies. This makes the female ratio the fifth highest in the U.S., and the male ratio the fourth highest, according to Seeking.com. At the top of both lists are New York and Nevada with the “highest concentration of activity” per male and female.

As of October 2018, there are about 3 million college students in the United States who are sugar babies, with the average baby being about 26 years old.

Sugaring safely

Diana said she never recommends sugaring to anyone, but if they choose it, she has some tips.

When Diana set up her profile on Seeking Arrangement, she soon found tons of men messaging her with skimpy and too-good-to-be-true offers. Here are her tips on engaging in sugaring:

  • Stay sober
    • Diana was nervous on her first “sugaring date,” as she called it. She went to dinner with a man and decided to drink to calm her nerves. She ended up getting drunk and went back to a hotel room to sleep with him. Diana says do as she says, not as she did.
  • Screening “candidates”
    • Another important factor is to carefully judge the profiles. If there aren’t pictures of the people, red flag. If there’s a skimpy bio, red flag. A lot of the screening, she says, is common sense. You just have to be aware of what can indicate a person is fake or potentially dangerous.
  • Never take low offers
    • The biggest piece of safety advice Diana offers is not to take men up on offers that are too low. “If some man offers you $300 or less for a sugar date, they are fake and you should run the hell out of there,” Diana said. “The whole point of sugar dating is for the money and the experiences you get. You have to be looking for men with millions of dollars.”
  • Social media rules
    • When setting up a profile, Diana says to use a fake name. Diana is her “sugaring name,” which appears on her profile instead of her real name. Once she feels comfortable and sure the person is safe, she will tell them her real name. She also says to use pictures that aren’t already on your social media to avoid stalkers back-searching the image.
  • Use a fake email address
    • Like using a fake name on social media, using a fake email address is another important step in separating sugaring from day-to-day life. Many jobs provide their employees with a work email, and it makes it easier to separate the inbox.

Terms to know

The world of sugaring comes with its own vocabulary.
  • Sugar baby: A man or woman paid in cash or gifts in exchange for companionship. This can be in the form of dates, sex, trips, and other common aspects of a relationship.
  • Sugar daddy/mommy: A man or woman who pays their sugar baby for companionship.
  • Allowance: The monthly amount of money a sugar baby gets.
  • Generous: A term used on dating sites to determine whether someone is willing to pay for sex or companionship.
  • Sugaring: The act of being a sugar baby.
  • Arrangement: A “relationship” in regards to a business transaction.

Source: letstalksugar.com

Cameren Boatner is a staff writer with University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].