What exactly is “Sugar Dating” or “Sugaring”?
This is an exploitative practice when young people go on dates, often to include or with the expectation of having sex, in exchange for gifts or payments. Often, wealthy, older, males (sugar daddies) and, less often women (sugar mommies), proposition younger, sometimes low-income, girls, boys, women, and men (sugar babies) promising luxury gifts, rent, tuition payments, or cash.
Maybe you’ve heard of the term “sugar dating.” Or maybe this is new to you. Many of us have heard the term “sugar daddy” or “sugar momma” used at some point in time. The term has been normalized in pop culture, including in movies, music, and social media. Glamorizing the sugar daddy and sugar baby language makes it seem normal, acceptable, and safe. When in fact, it is thinly masked prostitution, it is illegal (in the U.S.) if the young person is under 18 years, and it can quickly escalate into abuse and sex trafficking.
Why is sugar dating so dangerous?
While advertised as a unique, mutually beneficial, and even empowering dating experience, these relationships are transactional wherein men have the expectation of and can buy sex. This power dynamic is no different than prostitution. Additionally, much like prostitution, sugar dating targets young men and women who place themselves in a vulnerable position as a sugar baby.
StolenYouth is an organization seeking to bring awareness and resources out to the community to better understand more about sugar dating. They’ve partner with DNA Seattle, to launch “Project: Sugar Free”. DNA Seattle was working with a financial client and was startled to find tens of thousands of online solicitations for sugar babies and discovered that sugaring is becoming normalized and common on college campuses. Partnering with StolenYouth, DNA developed data analytics tools and automated AI technology to intersect, educate and help dissuade potential sugaring victims and suppress the abusers looking to exploit them. To better understand watch this KOMO News piece discussing Project: Sugar Free.
If you’d like to learn more, please visit the Project: Sugar Free page on the StolenYouth website and take a look at the video from the StolenYouth Town Hall on October 7, 2021 here.
Find out what you can do to help.