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What is a Sugar Baby and Sugar Dating?


couple on a sugar baby date

Seeking Arrangements, the largest online sugar dating site, has over 20 million users worldwide. Clearly, sugar dating is a legitimate relationship dynamic that millions of people are participating in. What is a sugar baby and makes someone interested in this type of relationship? Read on to learn about what sugar dating is and why people may engage in it.


What is a Sugar Baby?


A sugar baby is someone who typically seeks financial support from an older partner in a mutually beneficial relationship. They are typically young, attractive individuals who might be looking to gain access to a more extravagant lifestyle.


Sugar daddies is often a gendered term that refers to typically older, financially successful men who seek out young women, however, it’s important to note that people of all gender identities can participate in sugar dating.


Sugar dating can take many different forms. For some, the relationship can develop into an intimate, long term relationship. For others, it may be a more casual relationship with a platonic foundation which may even turn into a mentoring relationship.


Some relationships may be in person and others may be conducted via online dating. For example, some sugar babies may receive compensation to go on dates with their sugar daddy. Other sugar babies may get paid for a phone conversation. There’s no right or wrong as the dynamics of the relationship are for the partners involved to decide.


Common Myths About Sugar Babies


There are many myths surrounding sugar babies, particularly targeted at their self worth and intelligence. Sugar dating has nothing to do with someone’s intelligence; in fact, 62% of American sugar babies get involved with sugar relationships to pay for higher education.


People also may make the harmful assumption that a man or woman who engages in sugar dating automatically has “daddy issues” and struggle with their self worth. This is not the case for many people who are sugar babies. With so many reasons for people to be sugar babies, it is not feasible to believe the driving force for all sugar babies is an unconscious desire to heal “daddy issues.”


Why Do People Engage in Sugar Dating?


People may engage in sugar dating for myriad reasons, but the most common reasons are for financial gain, companionship, and mentorship.


Driving Forces For the Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mama


The sugar daddy or sugar mama may have many reasons for seeking a sugar baby. They may be using the relationship as form of companionship, for sex work, or they may just enjoy the feeling of taking care of someone financially.


Perhaps some sugar daddies or mamas develop a savior complex as they support their sugar baby financially. They may enjoy the power dynamic that can be present within these relationships.


Other times, the sugar daddy or mama may use the relationship as a source of companionship or even as a way of renewing their view on life. Many sugar daddies express that sugar relationships help to make them feel young again.


Driving Forces for the Sugar Baby


The sugar baby is typically seeking a financially supportive partner. Many sugar babies are university students who use this form of dating as a way to pay college tuition, rent, and other bills. They may also be looking for travel opportunities, gifts, and perhaps mentorship.


There are also non-material reasons for sugar dating; that is, they enjoy the relational aspects of sugar dating. People in these relationships often feel their relationships contain less jealousy and lower expectations from their partner. Sexually, they may also enjoy a partner who has more experience than someone closer to their age.


Are Sugar Relationships Safe?


As with any form of dating in today’s society, there are inherent risks to sugar dating, but the prospect of sugar dating isn’t necessarily dangerous.


Dangers may arise when first engaging in sugar mama or sugar daddy dating. There are many “splenda daddies” out there who claim to be a sugar daddy yet may not have the same financial resources. This in and of itself is not dangerous, but if you are entering a sugar relationship, be sure the person you are talking to is who they say they are.


The sex work aspect of sugar dating can make some people feel unsafe. It is important to note that not every sugar relationship involves sex. That is something that can be discussed and negotiated between the partners, but it is not a given when entering the relationship.


If sex work is involved, the sugar baby can potentially be coerced by the sugar daddy or sugar mama. They may withhold payment until a sexual act is complete even if the sugar baby does not want to engage in it. It can become especially dangerous if the sugar daddy or sugar mama is using money for financial abuse.


The safest way to sugar date is to make your intentions very clear from the beginning and maintain strong boundaries.


Sugar relationships are typically mutually beneficial relationships for both sugar partners. While people may all have their own personal reasons for engaging in sugar dating, it largely allows sugar babies more financial freedom than they would have had otherwise, and it provides sugar daddies and sugar mamas the company they may have been seeking.


Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.


Author Bio

Jessie is the Digital Media Coordinator at Modern Intimacy. A recent graduate of the University of Miami (FL), with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and Psychology, she hopes to become a clinical psychologist and a certified sex therapist. She is passionate about empowering women to speak up in a professional and a personal setting.



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