Finding ways to pay for Boston University’s tuition has often been at the front of her mind — and she’s turned to dating wealthy, older men to do so. Gina was a freshman in college when she signed up for a Seeking Arrangement profile as a so-called “sugar baby,” a term the site uses to describe “attractive people looking for the finer things in life.” Seeking Arrangement is one of several sites that seek to connect these people with similar goals to “sugar parents,” or “successful men and women who know what they want …
She claims she has never accepted less than 0 for a lunch date.Stephanie has been on Seeking Arrangement since she was in high school, but said she still doesn’t feel completely safe using the site.Being a sugar daddy isn’t illegal until there’s money on the table for a direct exchange of sexual activity.But Alison Bass, a former Boston Globe reporter and professor who has done extensive research on sex work, said there’s often little difference between being a sugar baby and a sex worker, other than societal perception.“Tuition and student loan costs are a major concern facing college students and recent graduates, and these costs [are] continue to rise,” she wrote.
Targeted advertisement, like Seeking Arrangement’s “Sugar Baby University” online campaign which promotes the idea of sugaring to pay for tuition, may also be a factor in the popularity of the site among college students, Rowe wrote.
Gina said she first met up with a man in his 40s who works in tech, who she found through Seeking Arrangement.
Their first date seemed almost normal to her — they went to a coffee shop and had polite conversation.
Regardless, Bass said, with “sugaring,” comes a power structure. Some men feel like they could do whatever they want because they’re paying.” Stephanie said she takes precautions before she decides to meet with a sugar daddy.
“If the woman is doing it of her own free will and she is over the age of 18, then of course there’s a power dynamic, but she is consenting to it,” she said. She will usually find information about a potential sugar daddy’s work and personal life by using their name, phone number or email to find their profiles on Linked In or Facebook.
Other Boston area universities, including the University of Massachusetts and Northeastern University, also made the list, at No. Three BU sugar babies who were interviewed said that although spending a few hours with an older companion for a few hundred dollars seems easy enough, the sugar babies know they could — and sometimes do — find themselves in dangerous situations.