Sugar babies and their daddies don't get much respect. People view the relationship as a rich old guy pampering a much younger paid-off pretty woman who lounges around like she's in a Lana Del Rey video. But inaccuracies and myths obscure the facts about what sugar babies do for their sugar daddies. Most people assume a sugar baby is a sex worker, yet according to sugar babies, the two lifestyles are totally different - and that's not the only thing people get wrong about the baby/daddy relationship.
The main criticism levied at sugar babies is they're lazy and just in it for the money, but their relationships aren't solely superficial. The complex world of sugar babies includes many intricacies and idiosyncrasies that remain a mystery to the general public.
In the best sugar relationships, both partners get something out of the arrangement and aren't involved in a cat-and-mouse game. A CEO who's been a daddy in multiple relationships told Refinery29 he feels strange when there's a power imbalance, monetarily or otherwise:
I view the dynamic of sugar dating as a mutually powerful relationship unless the sugar baby is desperate for money, and when they're desperate for money, that's when it's a power imbalance. But I don't necessarily view sugar dating as the man has all the power, because it's just as easy for the women to walk away.
Sugar babies who offer companionship and more to their daddies have much to gain in return. Brook Urick, a spokesperson for SeekingArrangement, a website dedicated to creating "mutually beneficial relationships," told Dazed Digital a sugar daddy can fulfill a woman's legitimate desire to find a man to take care of her. Sugar relationships often go beyond fairytale fantasies, too:
Many of the sugar daddies (or mommies) are CEOs or business people with connections who can help you network, because they're normally at least 10, 15 years older. You could come to the lifestyle if you want a mentor or a relationship, if that's what you're looking for.
A common misconception about sugar babies and their daddies is their relationships are solely based on sex. While many sugar babies have sex with their daddies, that's not always the case. Sugar babies say they aren't sex workers; they just have a different style of dating in which the parameters of the relationship are specifically defined.
One sugar baby who also works as an escort told Time baby/daddy relationships require an intense amount of emotional labor. She explained, "You have to coddle somebody, and you have to be available to them for hours and hours. With escorting, you're paying me to leave."
According to Brook Urick of SeekingArrangement, each sugar baby has a different motivation. In an interview with Dazed, she said, "Every relationship is different, and some people on the site are looking for platonic relationships only and don't want to engage in sex, and that's fine. Some do evolve into romantic ones, of course."
Sugar baby Jenn told Jezebel relationships between babies and their daddies are more or less the same as regular romantic connections: "Yes, there's a financial aspect, but you can't forget these sugar daddies are people, too."
The range of sugar relationships is as broad as the sexuality spectrum. It's not just gorgeous young women and silver foxes who make these connections. Men and women of all ages and sexual preferences, whether or not they look like supermodels, can be sugar babies or daddies/mamas.
Jezebel spoke with a male sugar baby named Ja'Breyon who got into the business with help from an older woman, but mostly meets up with men. He explained he likes to be the dominant force in the relationship: "Let me show you how to enjoy your life."
A lawyer in her 40s told Refinery29 she became a sugar mama because her career didn't leave time for traditional dating, and she was "getting a little too old" for dates that flamed out:
I did want to find that intimacy physically, but I didn't want to be just trying in bars... So I decided that it would be good to have these arrangements where I could have companionship and regular company. It was just an easier way to meet my lifestyle and what I needed right now.
Sugar babies don't exist in a void. While they tend to work alone, sugar babies and people interested in these kinds of relationships meet up at summits where they can ask questions, trade stories, and network.
Panel topics at a 2018 summit hosted by SeekingArrangement included "Personal Branding," "Cultivating Confidence," "Kink 101," "Styling for Sugar Babies," and "Understanding Sexuality in the #MeToo Era."