What’s The Difference Between A Sugar Baby And A Prostitute?

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One woman shares her experience dating on a sugar daddy website.

When Anne* opened up a profile on a popular sugar daddy/sugar baby website, she was fed up with the whole dating scene. “I was 21 and fresh out of a really toxic relationship, and I just didn’t want to do that again,” she says.

But she didn’t want to swear off men entirely. “I still wanted to date, but I didn’t want anything serious,” she explains. “I tried Tinder and OkCupid at first, but the guys I found there either wanted to hook up right away, or wanted a real relationship that could potentially lead to marriage.”

Sugar baby and sugar daddy relationship:

After stumbling upon an ad for a sugar dating website, Anne’s curiosity was piqued. She clicked around the site to read up on what it was all about, and thought that it could actually work for her.

“There’s a lot of taboo around the sugar lifestyle, but what I understood was that these people are just looking for companionship and intimacy without the complications of a ‘real’ relationship,” Anne says. “Basically, it seemed perfect for me.”

The perks and pitfalls of a sugar baby lifestyle

sugar baby

Anne ended up dating a handful of men on the site, and though she wasn’t in it for the money, they all showered her with presents. One of her sugar daddies, an older French expat, even flew her to Tokyo for a weekend just because he felt like it.

“They seemed to genuinely enjoy giving me expensive presents,” she says. “Designer purses, shoes, make-up—anything. Some even gave me money. At first, I’d turn away their cheques, but then they’d just deposit it into my PayPal account. Honestly, I can’t really complain about that!”

Anne keeps tight-lipped about these relationships; she once told a former friend about it, and wasn’t prepared for her reaction at all.

“She basically told me that I was prostituting myself, which really hurt my feelings,” Anne says. “Even in typical boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, one partner might spoil the other with presents and financial support, and no one says anything about that. How is my situation any different?”

What’s the difference between a sugar baby and a prostitute?

sugar baby and sugar daddy relationship

Though Anne didn’t become a sugar baby for the money, many do. According to SeekingArrangment, sugar daddies (or mommies) are successful men and women for whom money isn’t an issue, “thus they are generous when it comes to supporting a Sugar Baby.” Meanwhile, sugar babies are individuals seeking “mentorship, financial support, or general companionship under the terms of an agreed-upon arrangement.”

The lines between sugar babies and the world’s oldest profession is certainly blurry, but there are a few distinct differences.

  • Sex isn’t necessarily on the table in the sugar baby-sugar daddy dynamic. For some, sex is definitely an expectation, but it’s not a requirement. Many sugar daddies just want to have someone who can support them emotionally.
  • Prostitutes and their clients relate to each other via transactions—a certain amount in exchange for a certain service. Meanwhile, sugar daddies support their sugar babies financially over an extended period of time. Usually, they give allowances, but some of them support their sugar babies in other ways, like paying for their tuition or their rent.
  • Sugar babies and sugar daddies have a relationship that closely resembles a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship. Some of them evolve into actual relationships and even marriage—something that rarely happens with prostitutes and their clients.

Are sugaring and prostitution similar? Perhaps, but they’re definitely not the same. Though the sugar lifestyle certainly isn’t for everyone, some couples find this arrangement mutually beneficial and fulfilling.

* name has been changed to protect privacy

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