By Stephanie Swensrude
Caitlin, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, started ‘sugaring’ in January 2020. Like many sugar babies, she was a student struggling for cash and figured going on a few dates would be a quick way to make money.
“I actually met my first sugar daddy on Tinder. He messaged me right away and told me he wanted ‘a daughter to pamper’,” Caitlin said.
“We walked around a mall together and he bought me some lingerie and we went for coffee. He told me right off the bat that his daughters were 20 and 22. I was 21 at the time.”
Caitlin soon found out that the assumptions she made about being a sugar baby were not necessarily true.
“It’s all over the internet and stuff, people make jokes about becoming a sugar baby or selling feet pics, but it is not easy at all to be a sex worker,” said Caitlin.
“And it is sex work, because although sites can sometimes advertise it as ‘looking for companionship’ or ‘an allowance’ but no, like, you’re definitely expected to have sex.”
Caitlin wishes she would have known that it was going to be a lot more “shopping sprees at Forever 21” than “weekend trips to Cabo” with the average sugar daddy.
“Like, I’m grateful for what my sugar daddy did for me, but thinking that you’re going to get into sugaring and immediately be travelling around the world or getting steak dinners every week just isn’t likely.”
She said that many men on sites like Seeking Arrangements are all talk and no action.
“First of all, finding a good guy is really hard. You go on all the sites and 90 per cent of the time the guys are just getting off on talking to you so they never actually arrange to meet up,” said Caitlin. “Or, they’re gonna try to scam you.”
Caitlin has gone on a handful of other “Pay Per Meet” first dates, or PPMs, where she earned anywhere from $100-$800 per date with varying levels of sex involved. Although she was happy to make a bit of money, she stopped all sugaring eventually to protect her mental health.
She recognizes that a lot of girls are fine with sugaring or even enjoy it, but also stressed that young women shouldn’t get into it if they aren’t ready to be paid to have sex.
Caitlin said her relationships have been affected since her experience as a sugar baby.
“I still have trouble having sex with my current boyfriend because it feels like I have to trade sex for money, so I guess sugaring kinda messed up my perspective on sex in a way.”
Caitlin hasn’t told many people about her experience and wishes that people were more aware of the truth about getting into sugaring.
“It is a little bit taboo to talk about, so I can’t even talk about it and tell people, like, no you’re not going to be getting thousands of dollars a month unless you work really hard and get lucky.”
“I guess maybe I just had a bad experience with the guys that I met, or maybe like, guys thought I wasn’t worth spending money on,” Caitlin laughed. “Just realize that sugaring is hard and not always fun.”