Cashing in on sweet nothings

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It’s not anyone’s business who your sugar daddy is.

A website called seekingarrangement.com has sparked controversy lately with its promise to matchmake young, attractive individuals in financial need with older, wealthy partners.

Specifically, it’s seen a spike in usage among Canadian university students, mostly among female “sugar babies,” as the site calls them, looking for “sugar daddies.”

The existence of the website raises moral queries. While it explicitly states that it isn’t a prostitution or escort service, the financial exchange involved in the arrangements the website promotes may suggest otherwise.

The website does clearly indicate its purpose though. All those who choose to register with the service fully understand the nature of the arrangement. At the end of the day, whatever way individuals choose to earn money is up to them — it’s paternalistic to explicitly disallow young people from seeking financial aid in this way.

However, there are inherent risks that the “sugar babies” using this website are hopefully aware of.

The power dynamic between what is usually an older, wealthier male and a younger, financially needy young woman can be worrisome. “Sugar babies” may be putting themselves in a position of vulnerability, especially with a financial transaction involved.

Some may also be seeking this service for the wrong reasons, going to it as a last resort to get more money instead of making an informed, empowered and comfortable decision to enter such a relationship.

But some individuals may genuinely enjoy and desire this type of arrangement. It’s unfair to assume that the “sugar babies” inherently don’t respect themselves and are victims.

While the nature of these relationships promoted by this website can carry negative qualities, one can’t predict what each of these relationships actually looks like.

Romantic relationships nowadays have varying power dynamics and differing definitions. There are more grey zones than there are clear distinctions.

It’s ultimately none of our business if a young woman wants a “sugar daddy” — who’s to judge what form their relationship takes?

— Journal Editorial Board

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