How to be an Ally to a Sugar Baby

Art by Monika Davis.

Art by Monika Davis.

Misconceptions arise, feelings are hurt, and money is made inside the vast world of sugarbaby-ing. Many young people are looking for an alternative way to make money on the popular site, Seeking Arrangements, and even though many college students have managed to successfully earn some extra cash through their specified arrangement, acceptance remains a long road ahead. Safety is the main concern from family and friends alike of sugar babies, however, these attempts to express worriedness often fail to carry empathy and emotional support with them. At the end of the day, it is no one's choice but the sugar babies to flaunt, flirt, and earn if they chose to. 

Typically, a younger person who would like some extra cash reaches out to a wealthier, oftentimes older, person. The exchange is variable: sometimes the sugar daddy doesn’t want sexual favors or a romantic evening, but rather a simple conversation over coffee with no touching, no kissing, and especially no sex.

Sugar babies tell their peers about their plan in hopes of gaining support and affection, but instead many sugar babies are met with backlash after they share their plans with others. As Mia Johnston, a freshman at Emerson College, describes, “I looked at Seeking Arrangements, and I was immediately hit with criticism from friends who thought I’d be killed.” Tragedies do happen, and dangerous people exist, but this should not be the only response from friends and family. In fact, this criticism and exaggerated concern for safety only makes matters worse, according to most sugar babies. 

Mia concluded their statement by saying, “I think the concern for safety is legitimate because there are people who go on these sites to take advantage of people, but I do wish they (Mia’s friends) had reacted positively instead of completely shutting it down.” The reactions of male and female friends is similar, and holds one concern in common: safety. As Mia observed, “My male friends were fine. They were like ‘have fun and be safe,’ but my female friends didn’t approve of it at all.” 

Patricia Smith shares a similar, but more erratic experience as Mia. “Once I had a friend who threatened to tell adults and my college that I was doing this (sugarbaby-ing),” Patricia says. The harsh criticism which many sugar babies are met with is sometimes unbearable, but for Patricia, it was mostly met with intense worry that they would be hurt— physically or emotionally — by the sugar daddy in question. They speak of their experience when they say, “Concern is wonderful, and it’s great that people care about me, but it’s the same kind of thing over and over again. It feels like people can’t trust me to take care of myself.” 

Concern for safety is welcomed and appreciated, but the overforbearence which it inhabits is too much at times, and sugar babies would much rather receive emotional support than overly worried tantrums. This emotional support consists of general reassurance that the sugar baby in question is making a good decision, but emotional support can also encompass the small things, such as looking interested when the sugar is describing their experience on the date or their plan for the upcoming date. The simplest act of support you can show is to just smile and remind them that you’re there for them. 

After I asked Mia what their ideal support system as a sugar baby is, they responded by saying, “I wish people would realize that it’s not violent, and the ones (sugar daddies) who are —who have ulterior motives— are an anomaly.” When I asked Patricia what their ideal support system is, Patricia responded by saying, “I wish people would just react to it as if it were a normal job.” Yes, sugar babies need people to care about their wellbeing, but more importantly, sugar babies need emotional support as well as understanding, this can only be achieved if allies opened up their hearts.