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Sugar-coated

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?

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Photo: Rob Bartlett, License: N/A

Serena has seen three men in her time on Seeking Arrangement, and she describes the man she’s seeing now – the one she thinks has arrangement potential – as “attractive for an older man.”

“He lives a few hours away, but comes to my city weekly,” she says. “He’s just lonely and misses talking and cuddling. We’ll have a meal, stay up late in his hotel room, then I’ll watch him get ready for work the next morning. He’ll leave me with quite a bit of cash, and I have a feeling gifts are coming soon, since I’ve been hinting at some current wants.”

Serena says she comes from a well-off family, and her first two years of college expenses are covered, thanks to savings, scholarships and grants. But the rest of her college career will be offset with money she makes as a sugar baby. She says the idea of graduating with thousands of dollars in debt in a tough job market and no way to pay her loans back is unappealing. She says she deposits half of her sugar baby earnings into a savings account.

“Scholarships and grants are taking massive cuts, and tuition is going up,” Serena says. “I do have a job making almost $10 per hour, but the sad thing is, I’ll receive more money for a few hours on a sugar date than three weeks of work. … I want to start saving, write a fat check for tuition and I’d really like to kiss my roommates good-bye and live in a nicer apartment on my own.”

She also says she hopes that she might meet a man who can help her out when the time does come to move up in the world.

“These successful men have connections,” she says. “I have read multiple articles and blogs about sugar babies who get into Ivy League schools or a job at a top law firm just because of a recommendation from their sugar daddy.”

In her research on sugar relationships, Nistico says she did find that college-aged sugar babies look up to their sugar daddies, who sometimes act as mentors for them.

“If it’s a mentorship, the sugar baby usually gets employment, or the sugar daddy will set them up with a fund because they know they won’t be around forever,” she says.

But is this a healthy way to create a relationship? That depends, Nistico says.

“If all goes well, the relationship is healthy and honest, and then both parties benefit – that’s the ideal,” Nistico says. “When there is immaturity from one of the parties – if the younger sugar baby is manipulative, or if the sugar daddy has superficial motives – then that’s just a situation where one or both are exploited.”

Nistico says she doesn’t see a significant difference between Seeking Arrangement and other kinds of dating sites. When asked why she thinks people sign up for sugar daddy websites, she responds with a question of her own: “Why would you go on match.com? I think Seeking Arrangement has a good reputation in that its members are classy and discreet.”

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