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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

Courtney says she thought the lifestyle looked appealing based on MTV’s portrayal of it. Now that she’s been involved in it for a while, though, she says she sees a disconnect between the reality of sugar relationships and the media’s take on them.

“The way MTV showed it was misleading almost, because they made it seem like you didn’t have to sleep with someone in order to get all of these things,” Courtney says. “The girls claimed they didn’t have to have sex with anyone or do anything like that, but it was sugar-coated.”

Since Courtney created her account, she has had dates with two men – one is a 50-year-old business owner, the other a divorced CEO. Although she says she has accepted various gifts from the men, she does not receive a monthly allowance from either of them.

“I have only accepted gifts, dinner and stuff, because they’re not going to give you that monthly allowance unless you sleep with them, and they’re really clear about it,” Courtney says. “I’m crazy about sushi. I’ve gone to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, Seito in Baldwin Park. Stuff I wouldn’t normally pay for, like $15 for a sushi roll. It’s not a dent in their pocket.”

She says she goes on dates with sugar daddies for her own entertainment – it makes for good stories, she says – and sometimes she brings a friend along on her dates to ensure they stay platonic.

“I make it seem as if I’m with my friend 24/7, since he has expectations,” she says. “There’s less of that when she’s around. We actually all got pedicures together. He got one, too, and had his toes painted pink. He sat in between us and called her ‘our adopted sugar baby.’ That made her kind of uncomfortable.” 
Unlike Serena, who keeps her sugar baby lifestyle a secret from friends and family, Courtney says her friends, her mom and her boyfriend, who lives in California, know about it.

“My mom isn’t really surprised, but she’s really open-minded,” Courtney says. “My boyfriend is OK with it as long as I don’t do anything. He knows nothing is going to progress with these men, but he thinks it’s weird.”

According to the Huffington Post piece, Brandon Wade, founder and CEO of Seeking Arrangement, says there has been a significant increase in college-student participation in his website, from 38,303 college sugar babies registered in 2007 to 179,906 as of July 2011. He says he thinks students are drawn to the site because they know it can connect them with powerful and important people: “A lot of sugar daddies are members of the 1 percent and can be very influential people,” he says. “The site allows people across a diverse population to find meaningful relationships. It’s a fascinating crossover of humanity.”

In summer 2010, Elizabeth Nisticoand Samuel Schall were George Washington University students, both of whom had friends involved in the sugar lifestyle. Since no one else seemed to be studying the trend, they decided to do some research.

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