Sugar babies and sugar daddies are an online dating phenomenon where young women make “arrangements” with older men in exchange for money.
FOX43’s Rebecca Solomon sat down with so-called “sugars” who have chosen to remain anonymous because they don’t want friends and family to know about their dating lives. You may be surprised to learn the lifestyle isn’t always about sex.
One Sugar Baby, who will go by Megan, is like most young women. But her dating life is far from ordinary. She's a sugar baby, not to be confused with a golddigger. She says she dates older, rich men for companionship.
Megan says, "I want to travel, go to places I can't afford. I want to network and meet people I wouldn't necessarily meet."
She started the dating process known as "sugaring" a year ago. She was laid off from her job. Unemployed and unable to pay the rent, she turned to a website called "Seeking Arrangement." It's specifically designed for daddies to meet babies.
Seeking Arrangement spokeswoman, Kirsten Johnson says, "This is a great avenue for someone who is for men or women who are successful and don't have time to traditionally date, this is an easier option and also if they are looking to date casually as well."
Johnson says the website was founded in 2006. Now, 3.6 million members are sugaring worldwide.
Megan says, "He'll take me to dinner, to a fancy place, where a plate costs $40. I'm like I would never in a million years pay $40, that's half my groceries for the week."
In return Megan owes her daddies nothing.
She says, "I have actually have not had sex with anyone I met on this site. I'm sure they want to, but I'm very clear as to what I'm willing to give and what I want and don't want to have sex with someone for money."
As for the daddies, one sugar daddy who spoke with FOX43 says, "Intimacy with a younger woman is often times nicer than intimacy with an older woman."
We met the sugar daddy on Craigslist. He started dating younger women about five years ago, after two failed marriages.
He says, "It does something to a man's ego. I'm not God's gift to women, but I'm not the worst looking man in the world either."
His last sugar relationship lasted three years. Then, there are the babies he'd like to forget.
He says, "There are some that absolutely have redefined the word narcissism and very beautiful girls. Have you ever met someone that was very attractive but because of their personality it's like, 'Ew.'"
FOX 43's legal analyst, Steve Breit says paying to date others on websites isn't prostitution. He says, "Certainly, consenting adults can agree to have sex. The question becomes, are they having sex as part of a business venture? That's when you may be in a foul of prostitution laws because then you may be doing sex for money."
He says websites like "Seeking Arrangement" are protected by the Constitution.
Breit says, "We have First Amendment here and freedom of speech and freedom of association, free to contact another individual, so the websites are protective speech as long as they're not directly soliciting or creating a sexual business relationship."
For sugars like Megan, there's always hope for an arrangement to grow. But it's not always sweet when the family disapproves.
Megan says, "They're very traditional and would not approve of this, it's understandable, but I love my family and would love their support and it can feel lonely, my family's a big part of me."
She'll continue to date daddies, privately if need be. She encourages others to keep an open mind.
A psychologist we spoke with says many times, sugar daddies cater to younger women if they've had a daughter or granddaughter who they wanted to help out but maybe were unable. Like any relationship, sugaring is healthy when both people agree to a mutually beneficial relationship.