It seems that the most common demographics on the site are young women trying to pay tuition and older, financially secure men looking for companionship. Women in the article reported being given between $300-$500 or as much as $2,500 per night for their services. The New York Times article states that sugar babies out number daddies 10 to 1, not the best odds for a student looking to negotiate a favorable deal, but also quotes monthly retainers of $1,000 to up to $10,000. Around 30% of relationships through the site have a monthly "allowance" and they average $1-2,000 per month.
Roberts asked 315 college students at a university in London about their participation in sex work. The findings were stark. Nearly 17 percent said they would be willing to participate in the sex trade in order to pay for their education, while 11 percent indicated a willingness to work directly as escorts. A decade ago, only 3 percent answered in the affirmative. Today's respondents are far more likely to have peers who are working in the industry. HuffPoIn other European cities the findings were even more stark:
In Berlin, a city where prostitution is legal, they found that one in three university students would consider sex work as a viable means of financing their studies. Nearly 30 percent of students in Paris similarly responded in the affirmative. Finally, of the 3,200 Berlin students sampled, 30 percent of students working in the sex industry reported being in some amount of education-related debt. HuffPoMy guess would be that the correlation between debt and sex work of the Berlin students would also be found in American students. I'm doubtful that women register for the site purely out of greed for money or fancy presents and that most of them have significant financial hardship they're trying to deal with.
In fact, Seeking Arrangement pays to have its ads pop up on search engines whenever someone types in “student loan,” “tuition help,” “college support” or “help with rent.” Lola was one of many to stumble on the site that way, when — behind on her rent and tuition and down to one meal a day — she Googled “student loan.” What popped up was hardly what she expected, but she was willing to try almost anything to stay in school. NYTimes
That seems an effective but shady marketing tactic, targeting those who are most likely to be in difficult financial situations. Some of the women interviewed for the Huffington Post and New York Times articles seem financially savvy and conscious of the risks they're taking. Others seem less responsible and their quotes seem to focus more on getting the finer things in life and less on making tuition payments or paying off debt. Both articles emphasize the ambiguity of these relationships and that participants have varying opinions on whether their actions constitute prostitution. But it seems to me that, no matter if the process is legally prostitution, being a "sugar baby" has to be hard on the woman's self worth. Just the title seems a little bit demeaning.
Plus, as one article notes, it must be hard to go back to traditional work with the significant pay per hour discrepancy especially if you have become accustomed to living significantly beyond your means via gifts, dinners, clothing or other areas paid by the sugar daddy. It makes me think that the whole process likely significantly hampers instead of improving a young woman's odds of success financially and in the work place. The significant bias against these relationships would probably blacklist women from numerous companies or industries were her "side income" to come to light publicly. There are also significant health risks if the women are not insisting on protection.
What do you think? Does the opportunity to make an extra $1-10,000 per month (tax free) out weigh the psychological, health, moral or career consequences? Do you think these women are putting the money against educational expenses or new clothes?