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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Sugar babies

File+Photo
Preslie Cox, Multimedia Editor
File Photo

Editor’s note: This story recounts details of a sexual encounter that may be triggering for some readers. Additionally, the identity of a source in this story has been changed upon request. The source will be referred to as Lily.
Sunlight reflected off the pavement as Lily made her way to a hotel lobby. It was noon on a Saturday. She shook with nerves.
She was a 20-year-old Texas State student with no job. The financial burden of college had begun to take a toll and she needed money.
Recently, one of Lily’s friends had made an account on a mutually beneficial arrangement site: a dating site that connects sugar babies to sugar daddies or sugar mommas. According to Merriam Webster, sugar daddies are older men who support or spend lavishly on a mistress, girlfriend or boyfriend.
Lily’s friend made $700 after only having lunch with an older man. Lily liked the idea of getting easy money and was quick to sign up.
Lily was meeting face-to-face with the 50-year-old man she had met on an arrangement site. Lily and her suitor had been texting for a few days about each other’s interests and their arrangement. He said he would pay her $200 after they spent some time together. She managed to negotiate for $300.
Her boyfriend at the time had no idea, and it was not something she wanted to tell him.
So there she was in a hotel room, having a conversation with a man more than twice her age and feeling guilty.
Eventually, the older man started groping her. She tried to push back, to keep her dignity, but he gave her a look. It was a look that said, “I’m paying you to do this.”
Her thoughts were rolling down a steep hill, picking up momentum and fervor. Lily knew she had signed up for this. She felt like there was no other option.
The man proceeded to take off her clothes and she did not resist. She decided to let go. She needed the money.
His vascular, large hands scaled her body. He touched her while she lay mute. She knew what was next to come.
With every ounce of her will, she stopped him from penetrating her. She had endured all she could before hitting her breaking point.
“I have a babysitting job I have to get to,” Lily said, lying. She needed any excuse to free herself from him.
He handed her the money and she left.
For months, she felt sick to her stomach thinking about that night. His hungry hands on her body filled her with guilt and shame. She had cheated on her boyfriend, and she had let that stranger violate her. All for money.
It has been three years since she signed up for the arrangement site. She had two other encounters with older men after that day.
“I think I expected something other than reality, that I was going to get to meet a super nice, handsome, older man with a lot of money that’s respectful,” Lily said. “But no, that’s not the kind of people who get on these sites.”
More than 800 Texas State students are reportedly active on Seeking Arrangement, according to the site’s Sugar Baby University. From Seeking Arrangement’s latest data from 2018, Texas State ranked seventh among universities with the highest number of sugar babies in the U.S. It is one of two Texas universities to make the top ten list, the other being University of Texas at Austin.
Seeking Arrangement states women outnumber men on the website. The average age for sugar daddies is 40, and the average age for sugar babies is 25. Approximately 2% of adult females in the U.S. are sugar babies, and the average monthly allowance is $2,200.
Seeking Arrangement’s terms and conditions prohibits unlawful use of the site including escorting, prostitution and human trafficking. The website does not conduct background checks on its users although users can go through a third party to do so, resulting in a Background Verified badge on their profile. Seeking Arrangement does not assume responsibility for the conduct of users or the risk involved.
On arrangement sites, students are able to find a sugar daddy or momma to pay a set amount or allowance for the entertainment the man or woman wants.
Students involved on this site all face a similar dilemma: how far am I willing to go for money?
While Lily’s experience on Seeking Arrangement was negative, others seem to find more success. Oddly enough, one student unexpectedly found love.
Emily Eiben, fashion merchandising sophomore, said she wanted to be a sugar baby since watching a documentary about sugar babies when she was 16. She thought it was a practical thing to do. On her 18th birthday, she made an account on an arrangement site. She said she saw it as a business decision more than anything else.
On these sites, sugar daddies and mommas can put their net worth on their account. This played a big role for Eiben, who knew what she wanted. She was only there to talk to men worth her time. Her standards for a sugar daddy included a likable personality, had to be a single man and could not be over her parent’s age.
She has had four arrangements. She said there are a multitude of relationship negotiations such as weekly allowances, “pay to play, which means if you have sex you get paid,” and payment for attending events.
“(Arrangement sites) are definitely frowned upon in society, but it’s my choice,” Eiben said. “I’m going to have sex anyway, so it’s just a plus I’m getting paid. It was never a scandalous thing for me, it was just practical.”
About a year ago, she started a sugar relationship with her now current boyfriend.
She made all the wrong decisions the first time she met him. She went to his apartment alone and spent the night.
Neither had gone on the site for love, she had just started college and he had just gotten out of an engagement. He was looking for a young woman to hang out with and she was looking for a man who could give her a more luxurious lifestyle.
Their arrangement was $200-$300 for every encounter. Their interactions usually involved hanging out at his place and having sex. Additionally, he would help her out financially with separate expenses like groceries or manicures.
Both parties enjoyed each others company, and she started meeting his friends and growing more involved with his life. Eiben said even she has trouble understanding and explaining how it happened, but somewhere along the way, they developed feelings beyond friendship and lust.
“Suddenly the switch just flipped and we went from this very black and white, ‘just sex’ kind of friendship, to something more,” Eiben said.
She has been with her wealthy, 41-year-old boyfriend for seven months exclusively. He still helps her out monetarily, but she no longer considers it a business transaction.
Jessica Stebbins, licensed marriage and family therapist, said she has worked with young women who have been sugar babies.
“(Being a sugar baby) can have the same or similar emotional impact as prostitution,” Stebbins said. “There’s a lot of shame. Feeling that they have put themselves in that position, not feeling respected and worthy, they start to feel all they have to offer is their body or the aspects the sugar daddy likes them for.”
She said she has only witnessed the negative impacts sugar babies experienced due to her line of work, but she has encountered women online who have had positive experiences.
Arrangement sites may not be for everyone. They can provide an array of experiences, be it positive or negative. Those considering these sites should take proper precautions in regards to their personal safety.

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