What is the point of dating for free, when there are wealthy men out there willing to pay you to go on dates with them? Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Technically, a sugar daddy is defined as a rich, older man who enjoys giving gifts, particularly more expensive ones, to young women in return for their company. And yes, sometimes sex is expected as well.

What makes a man want to become this kind of figure in the world?

According to the Huffington Post, “men who seek romantic satisfaction from a financially-based dating arrangement are using money to replace intimacy. By controlling the purse strings, men step into a fantasy relationship, not very different from prostitution.”

In other words, some men prefer to emotionally distance themselves in relationships, and having some sort of financial agenda is a way of doing so.

This isn’t to say that women don’t have an agenda either. The lure of such a relationship comes from the perks of gaining things such as clothes, jewelry, makeup and even just plain cash. Some women even find sense of security from a sugar daddy, or simply like to manipulate people.

It is important to note that most of these relationships are not met with the end goal of marriage or love, and in fact both partners going in are usually very aware of that. Not to mention, these relationships sound illegal and dangerous, which they can be, however, they are still on the rise.

In a 2016 article by USA Today College, a video was released in support of SeekingArrangement, defined as “an American sugar baby and sugar daddy dating website.” The article touches on a student from Tufts University who was struggling with finances. And what better way to attract more women than to highlight the very popular problem of student debt?

According to USA Today College, “(Sara-Kate) Astrove ended up registering at For the next four years, she met with 30 different men between the ages of 42 and 75. She says the average sugar daddy she met on the site would pay around $1,000 for a one-time meeting, or would set up monthly allowances to help cover her expenses.”

In total, Astrove made about $300,000. She noted, that as a “sugar baby” you usually have the control. However, most of the men eventually want sex, and that is a giant risk going into the lifestyle.

Virginia Commonwealth University ranked seventh for students seeking sugar daddies in 2017. releases its data annually, showing that “133 email addresses were registered in 2016, and a total of 367 accounts are registered.”

All in all, Virginia ranks 12th out of all 50 states for concentration of sugar daddies, and 11th for sugar mommas. Yes, they also exist.

“Sugar Baby University”’s current data has Arizona State University as the No. 1 school signed up on the site. As of 2018, VCU has dropped to No. 10., Temple University is No. 2 and New York University claims the third spot.

According to the site, “In 2017, more than two million US students registered on SeekingArrangement in order to find some relief from tuition, student loan debt and other college-related costs. Finding the right Sugar Daddy can help a Sugar Baby stay ahead of the game and get the education they need without student loan debt.”

This is, in fact, real life. Currently, 139 countries are active on the site and a total of 10 million members, representing both sugar babies and sugar daddies/mommas.

Is this a form of prostitution? Technically not. The site likes to refer to itself as promoting “relationships on your terms.”

This form of dating has been on the rise for the past few years and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Will the ultimate goal for all students of paying off their debt increase its numbers? Only time will tell.

Gretchen is a junior student majoring in multimedia journalism and double minoring in creative writing and popular culture.

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