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Orlando College students are hooking up with rich older men through sugar-daddy websites. Is it modern romance, or just an easy way to the sweet life?

Photo: Rob Bartlett, License: N/A

Rob Bartlett

“They’re like regular relationships, minus all the negative, plus benefits,” she says. “In the beginning it’s almost businesslike: I expect X out of you – time, travel, gift, money, sex, etc., which should be discussed so both ends will be happy. … It makes it so much easier. There’s no drama, there’s no fighting, neediness, emotional drainage, time commitment, and then there’s the added benefits of money, gifts and travel.”

The sugar lifestyle is most prominent in New York, but it’s also on the rise in other areas of the country, including here in Orlando. Seeking Arrangement has more than 800,000 members, and its former press director, Stephan Smith, says about half of the new sugar babies who sign up for the service are in college. Right now, there are 330 students registered with email addresses associated with one of the Orlando area’s colleges: University of Central Florida, Rollins College, Valencia Community College, Seminole State College or Full Sail University. By the end of 2011, Seeking Arrangement counted 102 UCF students among its sugar babies, putting the school at No. 14 on the site’s list of top 20 schools with the largest number of sugar baby students.

Sugar daddies – mostly men, but sometimes women, who are willing to pay for companionship – pay a monthly membership fee to use the site. Sugar babies – young people, usually women, looking for a wealthy person to support them – pay nothing. In fact, college students receive free premium accounts, which allow them to see who viewed their profiles and hide their last logins to the site. If they register with a university email address (ending in .edu), their profile is marked “college sugar baby.”

UCF junior molecular and microbiology major Courtney (she permitted use of only her first name for this story) is a sugar baby who registered with Seeking Arrangement in July. She thinks her reason for joining is probably pretty typical.

In July 2011, MTV aired a show called “True Life: I’m a Sugar Baby,” which profiled three young people – two financially struggling women and one man who didn’t want to work – who date sugar daddies. Two weeks later, on July 31, the Huffington Post published “Seeking Arrangement: College Students Using Sugar Daddies to Pay off Loan Debt,” an in-depth story on the lives of New York sugar babies.

Both Courtney and Serena credit the media coverage with sparking their curiosity about the lifestyle. Serena says she looked into Seeking Arrangement after reading the Huffington Post story and discovered that there are lots of sites – seekingmillionaire.com, whatsyourprice.com – that cater to people looking for anything ranging from a dinner companion to a long-term arrangement.

“I knew this lifestyle existed, but I didn’t realize so many websites existed just for this purpose,” Serena says. “I researched for a day, and I started coming across personal sugar blogs – real-life experiences – and that’s what really drew me in.”

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