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It turns out being Sugar Daddy isn't a one-size-fits-all gig. While it occasionally lives up to the stereotype of a wealthy, middle-aged man lavishing gifts and money on a young woman in return for her companionship, there's more to it in the U.S.
Drawing from 48 in-depth interviews, sociologist Maren Scull, Ph.D., assistant professor at University of Colorado Denver, has identified seven types of these "sugar" relationships: sugar prostitution, compensated dating, compensated companionship, sugar dating, sugar friendships, sugar friendships with benefits and pragmatic love.
Results - Study - Perspectives
The results of her study were published in Sociological Perspectives.
"Whenever I read an article about Sugar Daddies or Sugar Babies, I often saw the same sensationalistic slant: the women are desperate, starved college students engaging in prostitution," said Scull. "As someone who studies deviance, I knew there were more important nuances to these relationships."
Sugaring in the U.S.
Sugar relationships are based on companionships, intimacy or other forms of attention in exchange for personal benefit (financial support, material goods, professional advancement). These kinds of agreements are hardly new—in the 1750s, Geishas were seen as socially respected entertainers even though they were paid to amuse men, usually without sex. During the first two World Wars, soldiers paid women to join them for a night out of dinner and dancing.
Bulk - Research - Sex - Africa - East
But the bulk of modern-day research focuses on transactional and survival sex in sub-Saharan Africa, and compensated dating in East and Southeast Asia. There was a black hole of research in the U.S.
To understand how "sugaring" works in the U.S., Scull spoke with 48 women about their experiences as Sugar Babies. She explored the kind of activities the women were involved in, whether sex was involved and whether their lives were intertwined with their benefactors.
% - Women - Sex - Benefactors - Ones
She found that 40% of the women had never had sex with their benefactors and the ones that did...
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