On sugar-daddies, sugar-mummies and sugar-babies

You may well have noticed an abundance of articles in the mainstream media about personal commercial arrangements known as a sugar-daddy relationship. Indeed some media outlets such as news.com.au run stories on this subject, or similar themes, every couple of weeks … see recent examples here and here and here and here, and here.

Previously I included related discussion/references within my blog posts on ‘Privilege, Respect and Entitlement‘ and/or on ‘Prostitution‘.

Today however I was prompted to create a post solely on this topic after reading a feminist journalist’s interpretation of the sugar-daddy phenomenon:

Why is a ‘sugar daddy’ funded education being sold as empowering to women?

Kasey Edwards doesn’t think that sugar-daddy arrangements are a bad idea because they are, you know, wrong. It’s not because they involve women debasing themselves via voluntarily entering into a parasite/host relationship. And it’s not because these women aren’t walking out into the world standing on their own two, empowered, feet.

No, such arrangements are a bad idea because the women involved might be held in some way (shudder) accountable if exposed. It was suggested that former sugar-daddies would blackmail their babies as “there’s seemingly no downside for powerful men who have sexual arrangements with less powerful women“. (Gee, I bet there would be more than a few ‘powerful’ men who would disagree with that assessment of where most of the risk lies)

The cost of exposure could be either tangible (reduced employment opportunity), or more intangible (slut-shaming). Of course, both of these forms of chastisement might be imposed by other women – especially in the latter case.

Oh, and sugar-baby arrangements are also a bad idea because Kasey sees them as a “cynical abuse of male power“.

Needless to say, no mention was made of the fact that wealthy women procure men/boys in a similar manner. Which would kind of make it more of a wealth thing, rather than a gender thing.

Nevertheless, the likely feminist defence there would be that that doesn’t count, a ‘rare aberration’ yada yada, borne from ‘internalised misogyny’ yada yada, and being a ‘justifiable push-back against male oppression’ yada yada.

What follows now is a selection of articles and perspectives on this topic. There are also a couple of sources dealing with a somewhat related practice known as ‘rinsing‘.

Mother encouraged her teenage daughter to have sex with a ‘sugar daddy’ so they could both pay for cosmetic surgery (9 April 2019)

Belgians charge CEO recruiting ‘Sugar Babies’ with ‘Incitement to Debauchery’ (8 April 2019) OK, cool even, for the girls doing it but men stay out of it!

University of B.C. ranked 7th for sugar baby arrangements in 2018 (12 March 2019)

Unusual way a single mum earns more than $130k a year‘ (18 February 2019) Oh look, it’s news.com.au promoting another variety of ‘hooking lite’ commonly known as the ‘Insta-THOT’

‘You do have sex, but it’s not expected’: Monash student earns $50,000 as a ‘sugar baby’ (9 February 2019). Oh look, it’s news.com.au’s fortnightly sugar-baby theme article. Again.

Single mom facing crippling debt realizes she can make bank by charging men to date her (January 2019)

Woman earns $104k a year working just 16 hours each week (14 September 2018) Not sugar-babies but yet another version of Hooking Lite

Growing Trend Of Older Women Becoming ‘Sugar Mamas’ For Young Migrants (28 July 2017)

My Sugar Daddy Pays Me $12,000 A Month — & Marriage Is On The Table (1 June 2017) USA

Inside the life of a feminist sugar baby, by Roisin Lanigan  (21 March 2017)

Sugar Babies: 100,000 Aussie students have signed up to find a sugar daddy (2 February 2017) It’s ironic that pro-feminist news.com.au frequently runs articles on sugar-babies, sending a poor message to young men and women alike. Still, as long as news.com.au gets lots of clicks catering to vicarious thrills, it’s all good right?

Racketeering Refugees: What the Million Marching Pussyhatters Really Want? (28 January 2017)

Rise of the sugar mummies: Led by a host of celebrities, more and more older women are dating younger men (25 January 2017)

Former Beauty Queen Lives A Life Of Luxury By ‘Working’ As A Sugar Baby (6 January 2017)

“Men are supposed to be caregivers and take care of women”

Jilted lover, 42, sues her 86-year-old ‘sugar daddy’ for $1.5M claiming that he said he would provide for her ‘for the rest of her life’. Buhl has moved on to another girlfriend, Zahradnikova claims she’s still owed $1.5million in unpaid wages. How low can you go! Reddit mens rights discussion thread and linked article

Lavish lifestyle of sugar baby Simone Toon (4 November 2016)

‘European Sugar Mamas’ – Women sex tourists in Kenya (29 July 2016) Reddit discussion thread

Daddies, “Dates,” and the Girlfriend Experience: Welcome to the New Prostitution Economy (7 July 2016)

‘You don’t have to give him anything’: Inside the life of a $75,000-a-year sugar baby (1 February 2016) Australia

Monica Lynn travelled the world for free by getting her dates to pay for it (2 January 2016)

The art of ‘rinsing’ landed these sisters $160,000 worth of gifts (27 November 2015)

Sugar Babies: Controversial trend taking off online (21 July 2015) Mainstream media at it again: Content to promote parasitism/prostitution as a legitimate lifestyle choice #racetothebottom

Where the sugar babies are (15 January 2015)

Sex, lies and ‘rinsing’ guys – Youtube video – Just don’t call them prostitutes

How to date older rich men for cash and prizes, avoid having sex with them and still imagine YOU are the exploited victim (18 December 2013)

On prostitution

What exactly is prostitution? Most people immediately focus on the version of prostitution that we usually see portrayed in the media. This is about men going to brothels or picking up women standing by the road, and purchasing an hour of their time in exchange for engaging in various sexual activities.

The first thing wrong about this picture, however, is that in real life the prostitute and the customer may be either male or female or transgender.

The second thing to note is that the payment for services rendered sometimes occurs after the act, sometimes well after. That payment may not be in cash either, it might (for example) take the form of a gift or gifts. In such cases we begin to move into the realm of mistresses or ‘sugar babies‘ or ‘paid dating‘, for example.

From here on in we launch into even murkier philosophical waters. For example some people argue that spousal support payments as routinely ordered by divorce courts are, at least in some circumstances, a form of prostitution (delayed payment for services earlier rendered). Some feminists, like Jane Caro, have even suggested that marriage itself is a form of prostitution (see here and here). Others go further and say that any form of paid work is a form of prostitution, in that work involves someone selling the use of their body by the hour.

What is the feminist perspective on prostitution? Well it depends on the particular feminist you are speaking to, but most see it as highly undesirable and indicative of patriarchal exploitation of women. In keeping with feminist discussion on many other issues, feminists routinely ignore those aspects of reality that don’t support their narrative. Thus they assiduously look the other way when it comes to male prostitutes, woman who pay for prostitutes, women who operate trafficking or prostitution businesses, and women (with other employment/income options) who freely choose to work as prostitutes.

Driven by their narrative, feminists in various countries have lobbied to have the act of selling sex decriminalised whilst making the act of buying sex a crime (example). And again, in this particular debate both feminists and media alike keep discussion focussed on female prostitutes and male clients.

In a September 2014 discussion on an Australian TV program, Kay Hymowitz raised feminist hackles by questioning why prostitution warranted being a major feminist issue, at least in part because of the relatively small number of women who were prostitutes. One of the other panelists then stated that it warranted being a major issue because one in four men used prostitutes (cue applause). So it’s all about the ‘menz’, huh? Comments like this reinforce the view that a significant factor underlying female opposition to prostitution is the notion of devaluing women’s ‘sexual currency‘.

Please review the selected linked articles below for further information:

Sex worker clients are increasingly women – and they’re seeking more than pleasure (9 October 2019) Australia

Spanish court rules union of sex workers illegal (21 November 2018)

Australian sex workers have a message for women in relationships: ‘Understand your man’ (23 March 2017)

Legislation to clear prostitutes of criminal charges while shifting the blame to the nearest man (14 January 2017) USA. Reddit discussion thread with linked article

‘Why should I wait any longer?’: 20-year-old student auctions virginity online for $230,000 (28 September 2016)

Decriminalization of Sex Work Is Not Associated with More Men Paying for Sex: Results from the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships (24 February 2016)

Eat, pay, love: A new app lets women charge for a night out (14 July 2016) with related Reddit discussion thread here

Daddies, “Dates,” and the Girlfriend Experience: Welcome to the New Prostitution Economy (7 July 2016)

‘Do you think we’ll pay for bad things we’ve done?’ Revelations of Aussie sex tourists in Thailand (3 July 2016) Feminist blogger Jas ‘Rawlinson’ Swilks serves up clickbait journalism that vilifies (white) men whilst promoting a biased misrepresentation of the Thai sex trade. See related Reddit discussion thread here, and follow-up post from the Ms Swilks here.

It is both an affront and most ironic that the author implies that expat men committing suicide in Thailand are doing so out of feelings of guilt (supposedly due to exploiting bar girls). These suicides are a real issue, but I would wager that the cause is the legacy of a life-time of exposure to the toxic anti-male environment in their countries of origin, this leading to substance abuse and general feelings of failure and hopelessness.

In reality many western feminists could not give a damn about the welfare of Asian sex-workers. Their real agenda is male demonization esp. in relating to curtailing the expression of male sexuality. Some background on that aspect in this blog post.

The author of this article conveniently fails to mention that:

  • plenty of western women also travel to Asia for sex (both commercial and non-commercial)
  • many Thai prostitutes are male or transgender (and are apparently not worth ‘rescuing’?)
  • many if not most men who travel to Asia don’t have sex with prostitutes

It is absurd to suggest that “Australian men [are] among the largest contributors to sex tourism in southeast Asia”. The reality is that Caucasian clients are simply the icing on the cake of the Thai sex industry, and Australians only one of many groups represented amongst tourist/expat clients.

Many (or even most) of these so-called sex-worker “rescue” organisations are either woefully ineffective in terms of getting girls out of the industry permanently – or they are out-and-out scams (example).

The dangers of rebranding prostitution as ‘sex work’ (7 June 2016) By feminist activist Kat Banyard

Sex trade surivors deserve a chance to speak (8 April 2016) Australia. Imagine feminists decrying those villains who would deny others a platform to speak. Oh the irony!

Why France Is Adopting A New Law That Criminalizes The Clients, Not Prostitutes (8 April 2016) with related Reddit discussion thread here

Prostitution row: A ‘male sex deficit’ – what about us horny women? (6 August) and related reddit discussion thread

Amnesty International says prostitution is a human right – but it’s wrong (29 July 2015) and related reddit discussion thread

Over half of UK prostitutes find their work rewarding (5 March 2015) Short video

Tag The Sponsor Exposes The Depravity Of Modern Women (2 March 2015)

A letter to my MP about laws on prostitution (12 November 2014)

Push to ban Swedes buying sex abroad (7 October 2014)

Who runs the girls? (20 September 2014)

Canada is following the wrong lead on prostitution (12 August 2014)

The truth about radical feminism (15 July 2014)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2fCPvuoHx0

All about the men (9 May 2014)

Men have a right to prostitutes? Really? (23 May 2014)

Conflict and agency among sex workers and pimps: A closer look at domestic minor sex trafficking (28 March 2014)

Reddit discussion thread on European moves to legalise prostitution but make buying sex illegal (the thread links to an article dated 26 February 2014)

“Getting Away” With Hating It: Consent in the Context of Sex Work (21 March 2013)

http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/feminist-governance-feminism/joy-smith-continues-her-attack-on-men/

http://reason.com/blog/2014/04/03/katha-pollitt-sex-work-and-patriarchy

http://www.thenation.com/article/179147/why-do-so-many-leftists-want-sex-work-be-new-normal#

http://pjmedia.com/drhelen/2014/04/07/legalizing-prostitution/

Do female pimps do it better? (17 September 2009)

 The relationship between prostitution and spousal support/alimony

Marriage is prostitution (A Youtube video)

http://www.thelizlibrary.org/site-index/site-index-frame.html#soulhttp://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/001.htm

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1530033

Other related issues

Radical feminists’ objection to sex work is profoundly un-feminist (9 August 2017)

Why Cambodia’s sex workers don’t need to be saved (23 March 2016)

Feminism and male trafficking (17 December 2015)

When Rhode Island accidentally legalised prostitution, rape decreased sharply (17 July 2014)

Youtube video called ‘Sex, lies and Rinsing Guys’