8 Common Misconceptions About Sugar Babies

Before “sugar dating” entered the mainstream, I wrote the bible on the lifestyle for Vanity Fair. Over the years, I’ve developed countless relationships with sugar babies and sugar daddies who reached out to me after reading my exposé. Below, I dispel some of the most common myths surrounding this controversial approach to dating.

1. Sugar babies always have sex on dates.

As with any relationship, sex is generally part of the picture. But intimacy between a sugar baby and sugar daddy isn’t guaranteed. A sugar date may or may not lead to sex at any stage of the relationship. As it happens, many sugar daddies aren’t interested in sex at all. There are plenty of wealthy men who take a vested interest in the careers and/or schooling of a sugar baby without seeking sex because they derive sincere pleasure from mentoring a driven young woman. While a lot of sugar babies receive cash and/or gifts in exchange for their time and companionship, which may or may not include sexual activity, so do a lot of stay-at-home wives. Just as a marriage is founded on a series of specific understandings between husband and wife, the exact terms of every sugar dating arrangement are agreed upon by the two people involved.

2. Sugar babies are prostitutes.

What’s the difference between a prostitute and a sugar baby? To be blunt, a prostitute is paid to leave. A hooker is hired to show up and perform certain services, then pack her bags and go. A sugar baby stays. Think about it: The men who become sugar daddies can afford prostitutes. They choose to develop relationships with sugar babies instead because they’re interested in so much more than sex. They crave companionship from a young, beautiful, educated woman who can hold her own in conversation—someone they can talk to and hang out with in private and public, and, yes, maybe have sex with.

3. Sugar dating is entirely different from “normal” dating.

In some ways, sugar dating is distinct from regular dating. From the outset of a sugar relationship, the two parties involved are straightforward in communicating their needs. So a typical first date might involve questions like: What’s your monthly girlfriend budget? Do you only buy gifts, or do you provide cash allowances? How often do you expect to see me? This is dating stripped of conventional niceties. But it’s not all that different from dating the “normal” way. There are many different types of sugar babies and sugar daddies out there, and as with the more socially acceptable methods of dating, sugar dating begins with two people evaluating whether or not they connect. Sugar babies and daddies spend first dates assessing whether or not they like each other and wish to hang out again. In the early stages of dating, they devote time and energy to getting to know each other’s quirks and desires, and they may or may not break up at any moment.

4. All sugar babies are desperate young women.

Sugar dating isn’t necessarily a last resort. A lot of empowered young girls are embracing the lifestyle, and about 44% are reportedly college students. There are many different types of sugar babies. Some are wealthy girls who have defected from their families—by going to school across the country against their parents’ wishes, for instance—and want extra money to maintain their former lifestyles. Some are upper middle class girls who lead a nice life but want additional income to pay for perks like a personal trainer. Some are lower class girls desperate to get an education whose parents can’t afford to send them to college. And some are girls who are interested in the lifestyle purely for the thrill of it—to travel the world on someone else’s dime, or to have a threesome with an old guy just for kicks.

5. All sugar daddies are old.

While many sugar daddies are old, there are a lot of young, successful businessmen who prefer sugar dating to “normal” dating because they find it to be more efficient and more conducive to their busy lifestyles. About 28% of sugar daddies are entrepreneurs, a group that includes startup whiz kids who reached multi-millionaire status before 30, and older serial entrepreneurs with countless business success stories under their belts already.

6. All sugar daddies are married.

This simply isn’t the case. Many sugar daddies are divorced, or simply single. Some older men like the idea of dating a younger woman because she’s less likely to want to settle down right away and build a family. Sugar dating is definitely not exclusively a married man’s game.

7. Sugar dating has to be secretive.

More and more women and men are embracing the sugar dating lifestyle because it works for them—and they’re not ashamed to say it. A lot of confident young women are becoming sugar babies to offset the exorbitant cost of college, which is hardly a dishonorable decision. As for sugar daddies, many feel free to celebrate the lifestyle openly because their level of wealth affords them the freedom not to care what others think. Many are businesses owners who act as their own boss, or they’re so high up within a company or so well established within a given field that they don’t have to pretend to care what their fellow colleagues may or may not think.

8. The rise of sugar dating is dangerous to society.

Within the framework of paying for college, the acceptability quotient of being a sugar baby seems to skyrocket. There was a time when stripping to pay for college was largely frowned upon, but that narrative has since been normalized. Sugar dating could be next. But even outside the paying-for-school phenomenon, sugar dating makes sense in the context of modern life. We are an increasingly sex positive society. Women are also waiting a lot longer to get married, which leaves a lot more time for experimentation and room for open-mindedness in the phase between early adulthood and settling down commonly referred to as “emerging adulthood.” Further, millennials and digital natives alike are known for valuing authenticity. Whether it’s a meal, a back massage, or a diamond engagement ring, something’s always being exchanged between couples. What could be more authentic than acknowledging the economic and transactional components of modern dating? Thought Catalog Logo Mark 

I adore the following, in no particular order: knee-high tube socks, acrostic poetry, and my little brother. Click here to learn more!

Keep up with Mélanie on Instagram, Twitter and melanieberliet.com

More From Thought Catalog