ASU is ranked No. 1 sugar baby school in the country

However, the experience of sugaring may not be as "sweet" as students assume

Straying away from traditional dating, some ASU students are getting sugar daddies to pay their bills and be pampered.

Sugar babies are not always under dire financial constraints, and many babies use their surplus cash flow to treat themselves to spa days, hair treatments and manicures. Still, experts warn against making the choice to exchange sex for rewards, citing potential psychological harm to sugar babies.

Seeking, also known as Seeking Arrangements, is a self-proclaimed dating site that connects sugar daddies and mommas with sugar babies, and ASU is now the No. 1 sugar baby university in the nation according to the site. 

ASU has a total of over 1,300 ASU students with profiles on Seeking and has the fastest growing sign-up rate of any University in the country. 

The site has a "Sugar Baby University" page where they rank schools by tracking the number of students signing up with a student email and promotes a deal for students to get a free premium membership by using their ".edu" emails.

Having a premium profile includes being featured on the member dashboard and the ability to communicate without a public photo or approved profile.


Created by MIT alumnus Brandon Wade in 2006, the site just reached 20 million active members in over 135 countries according to Seekings spokesperson Kimberly De La Cruz. 

"The incentive for students to use their '.edu' email is to give them a financial break," Cruz said.

According to the site, sugar babies are "attractive people" searching for the “finer things in life” with wealthy sugar daddies/mommas. The site features an advanced search tab that allows people to search specific intentions and verify financial backgrounds.

Cruz said that students “have the ability to meet people who can offer mentorship, tuition and living expenses, financial support and are goal-oriented." 

However, sugar babies or daddies/mommas who talk about financial transactions on the website will be kicked off, per the website's policy.

People often associate sugaring with prostitution. However, not every sugar baby feels like they are only having sex for money.


The following two stories are from sources who preferred to remain anonymous - their names have been changed to protect their identities. 

Going on a sugar free diet

Kelly, a junior majoring in accounting, made a sugar baby profile on Seeking when she was a freshman. Kelly had three sugar daddies within an 8-month period.

“I told all of them I would see them and only them,” Kelly said. 

Her interest in sugar daddies began in high school while researching #sugarbowl on Tumblr when she was 15 years old and her parents stopped giving her a $100 per week allowance.

“I regret it a lot now,” Kelly said. "It's not a big deal in my mind, but I care about the public's negative opinion on sugar babies being like prostitutes and how it can affect my marketability for jobs or future relationships."

Kelly has been asked for sexual favors from her sugar daddies. She got tested for sexually transmitted diseases before sexually engaging with them and would bring a document for proof on the second date asking them to do the same.

Her first sugar daddy was a 38-year-old real estate agent who she said was more of a "Splenda daddy"

"He only took me out on nice dates, but did not pay me or give me an allowance," she said. "Then, he started getting too busy to even see me."

Kelly’s second sugar daddy was a 46-year-old CEO, with whom she developed an emotional connection with, and even ended up meeting his family.

“He would slip me cash in my coat pocket or purse, surprisingly,” Kelly said. She also introduced her second sugar daddy to her father, who was upset she was dating a 46 year old, but also unaware of how they met and her “sugar baby” title.

Despite their connection, she felt the $1,000 a month her second sugar daddy was paying her was not enough.

“I wanted to be monogamous, but he never paid me enough. At the time, I only had a job that gave me eight hours a week making minimum wage as a hostess at a restaurant,” Kelly said. 

She said her parents were already paying her bills, tuition and priority-spending like gas and food. However, she wanted more.

“The money went to getting my hair and nails done, eyelash extensions, shopping and eating out,” Kelly said.


The oldest sugar daddy Kelly had was her third sugar daddy, a 49-year-old commercial pilot who paid her $2,000 a month.

Although the pay was great, she felt that this relationship was the most “transactional,” since he would always have her cash in an envelope every week.

Kelly has stopped being a sugar baby but said she saved $3,000 from the allowance given by her sugar daddies over her eight months on the website.

Not your traditional relationship

Jessica, a graduated student pursing a degree in counseling, joined Seeking in 2017 and currently has a sugar daddy whom she sees twice a month.

"He pays me $1,000 a month in cash, and we will hang out and have dinner," Jessica said. "He has another sugar baby who is busy going to nursing school, so he spends more time with me."

Jessica decided to be a sugar baby after she noticed her friend going on trips to Paris and receiving an allowance from a sugar daddy.

Jessica is a client relationship specialist in the finance industry making $50,000 in salary, and she spends the extra grand given by her sugar daddy on getting her hair done and going on trips.

Jessica's 41-year-old sugar daddy is a construction manager who was married until he "realized he wasn't meant to be monogamous" and got a divorce.

"It's not your traditional ... relationship. He is lonely, and we both wanted to travel together," she said. "We are mutually benefiting from this relationship. He is getting what he wants, and I am definitely getting what I want out of it."


Students interested in sugaring may want to be cautious

Melissa Farley has been working for over 45 years as a clinical psychologist and researcher in addition to being the president of the Prostitution Research Education.

With her research primarily focusing on the negative affects of prostitution, Farley views sugaring as another form of prostitution with a sugared down title.

In one of Farley's research articles, Online Prostitution and Trafficking, she estimates that "84 percent of women in prostitution are under third-party control, pimped or trafficked." 

Farley found that people who are trafficking and buying sex take advantage of internet service providers, including dating sites, and benefit from being anonymous.

A survey published in December 2015 by the ASU Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety found that more than 80 percent of U.S. police municipals surveyed reported that the rate of reported online sex advertising has increased.

Farley is most concerned about the power imbalance and safety for women who participate in sugaring because women may have a lack of power and voice within these relations.

"Whether it is being a legal sugar baby or illegal street escort, it causes psychological harms with PTSD at the same rate of combat veterans and rape survivors," Farely said.

Farley questions if students who are sugaring have freedom of choice and whether or note have any other options for survival.

"It's a last opportunity to survive economically," Farley said. "One person doesn't have money and the other person wants to have sex with them, the money coerces the sex, and it's a paid form of violence against women."

Sydney Payne, a junior majoring in psychology, said she has been approached by multiple sugar daddies on both social media and in person at bars.

“I denied them because of my moral point of view. My parents always taught me you work for your money and don’t take the easy way out of life,” Payne said. 

Although she personally disagrees with sugaring, she said respects other students who chose to be sugar babies. 

“Everyone has a different opinion. There is a lot of talk about it being like prostitution, however some people believe it is a relationship,” Payne said.

Kayla King-Sumner, a senior majoring in journalism, said she has two friends who were sugar baby while also students at ASU who were given gifts and expensive bottles of wine.

“One of them was approached in the workplace and offered an allowance. She accepted and was given gifts and attended events with her sugar daddy,” King-Sumner said. 

She said that she supports these "alternative" relationships as long as they are mutual and safe.

“We need to de-stigmatize the negative connotation of sugar babies because the negative stigma can make people feel like they can’t speak up when in dangerous relationships,” Sumner said.

Though the sugar baby lifestyle may seem like a sweet idea to many students, it is important for them to be aware of their safety and well-being like in any relationship. If a student needs help they can contact ASU counseling services here.


Reach the reporter at mdhunte2@asu.edu or follow @masaihuntertv on Twitter.

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