Student loan debt is one major problem facing postsecondary students today. Canadian student debt nears $30 billion and the unemployment rates for grads always seem to be going up. It’s hard to get a job without a degree and with this uncertainty, why not seek a wealthy benefactor to help offset the cost and become a member of a Sugar Baby University?
At least that’s the website Seeking Arrangement is saying to students. And it’s working.
Edmonton universities contributed heavily in Canadian growth of sugar babies in 2017, as the University of Alberta ranked second with 200 new users, and MacEwan 18th with 53. The service continues by saying post-secondary students make up about one-third of all users on the site with over 200,000 in Canada alone – three million overall worldwide.
Seeking Arrangement defines young individuals who make an agreement with someone often much older and wealthier as a sugar baby.
“Attractive people looking for the finer things in life … sugar babies get to experience a luxurious lifestyle and meet wealthy people on a regular basis.”
SeekingArrangements.com seems to be home for the trade of parties to interact..
This might not be coincidental. The site specifically markets their service in a way that entices post-secondary students to join. According to the page, signing up can easily result in student costs being taken over by a sugar daddy or momma. “Join today and get your education paid for by a generous sponsor,” they boast. This can allow SBs to rationalize these relationships as being financially vital.
Rationalizing these arrangements as socially acceptable, through the idea that it is going towards education, does not only work on students, says Tanya Spencer of NAIT counseling, who is against the trend.
“I think there’s rationalizations on both sides. Sugar daddies can say that this isn’t exploitative because I’m helping someone get what they want. And it’s something very prosocial, like an education,” said Spencer.
As much as this site identifies itself as a glamorous way for students to pay for school, it may glaze over what sugar babies could be asked for in return. Scrolling through the site, reciprocal actions are sparsely referenced. It’s referenced as an agreement in the phrase “… you can find your mutually beneficial relationship,” from their website is one of very few mentions of mutuality instead of incentives for SBs.
The site references “companionship” as what SBs are often expected to give in return for financial aid. Seeking Arrangements does not clearly define what companionship entails, which could lead to confusion between partners on the site.
Does companionship mean sex? Each arrangement is obviously unique, but it seems to be a commonality that sugar daddies/mommas ask for sex in return for money and gifts.
“If you’re going to get into an arrangement like this, you’d better understand that sex is probably part of the package. If you’re going into this thinking it’s going to be a nice dinner – get real,” says Spencer.
The issue of expectations of sex has not gone unnoticed by Seeking Arrangements. But the site only details how to deal with a situation where someone tries to avoid payment after sex – not the issue of whether sex is frequently requested in return for money. Their “precautions” page warns of common schemes people will use to have sex with you before payment. The site seems to be under the assumption that sex will be exchanged for money but they will never directly address it.
“Sex opportunists are sugar daddies or sugar mommas who promise to give you the world but their only goal is to have sex with you and not to form a solid arrangement,” says their precautions page.
This basically states that the site understands that users may ask for sex, but it’s only acceptable if there is an “agreement” – most likely meaning money.
SeekingArrangements.com declined to comment, nor could find us a sugar baby to talk to. They also would not disclose how many NAIT students were/are users of their service.
All statistics regarding the number of sugar babies in each school is from their press kit and available on their website.