Contrary to what many anti-sex work fighters may protest, I don’t believe that sex work is inherently exploitative.
Just like any form of work though, there are instances where it can be exploitative.
In the same way that I have felt exploited at bar work jobs where I was paid less than minimum wage for being on my feet for eight hours with no break, I have felt exploited when I was underpaid by a sugar daddy because ‘the cash machine was only giving out twenties’. So give me £10 more than what we agreed rather than £10 less you abhorrent toad (is what I should have replied.)
Instead, I took the money with a silent smile and scarpered- just happy for it to be over and done with.
That was at the very beginning of my sugaring journey. I didn’t know anything about sex work whatsoever, and I didn’t even consider what I did to be sex work. I was struggling to pay the rent and my university course was so full on that I didn’t have time to get a job. So I met guys and had casual sex with them and sometimes went on short trips with them in exchange for money.
There were times, like the time I was underpaid where I felt exploited. But for the most part I felt good. Getting paid £500 to go on a weekend away to Paris was a million times better and easier to me than working a weekend at a bar and getting £150 to show for it. So for me at that time, sugaring didn’t feel anywhere near as exploitative as a ‘normal job’.
It wasn’t until later that I realised in the world of sex work £500 was very cheap for a weekend away price. I felt pretty stupid.
More recently I had a very open conversation with an ex-daddy of mine who really made me fully realise the way in which sugar babies today are easily exploited. Here’s a summary of what he said.
For men, sugar dating sites are a godsend. It’s like getting an escort, but because there are no ‘fixed rates’ and no specific time boundaries (you’re not paying them by the hour), you can manage to spend way more time with a girl for a much cheaper price. The girls who sugar are more appealing to men than escorts because they don’t see as many guys, and because they are often totally naive to the world of sex work, they don’t realise how good of a deal we are getting.
It was hard to come to terms with the thought that whilst I had come away feeling happy with the money I’d gotten, the guys had come away rubbing their hands together about how cheap they’d managed to get me for.
This, of course, isn’t the case with every man who uses sugar dating sites, but I know from experience that there are plenty of guys who try to get ‘intimate’ with you for hardly any money at all, in the UK at least. There are also guys who try to use sugar sites solely as a dating websites with no intention of paying you. Finally, sugar sites attract plenty of predatory men who have been blacklisted as clients in the escorting world. On the sugar sites, they’re given a fresh set of unaware girls who they can scam and manipulate.
Knowledge is power. I didn’t initially do any research on sugaring past typing in random questions to Google and giving up after not finding answers on the first page. I was unknowingly exploited for too long because I couldn’t find (or didn’t look hard enough) for any information. So, here are some things I wish I’d known sooner.
A low hourly with a high end escort is normally around £300-400.
A mid hourly rate with a high end escort is normally around £400-£700.
A high hourly rate with a high end escort is normally around £1000-£3000
Most dates with sugar daddies end up lasting 2-3 hours. I have had countless guys try to suggest £100-£200 for a date. Compared to escort rates, that’s very cheap.
The guys that suggest this much money are knowingly trying to swindle you. If you are willing to accept this price, at least don’t feel obligated to spend anymore than an hour with the guys.
A low overnight rate with a high end escort is normally around £1200-£1500
A mid overnight rate with a high end escort is normally around £1500-£3000.
A high overnight rate with a high end escort is normally around £3000+
And a trip can range depending on the length, but at minimum it’s the overnight rate for each night that you’re there for. Meaning my £500 weekend trip to Paris was beyond a joke. And even a long weekend trip I spent in Barcelona for £1500 was far from acceptable.
- An escort charges hourly so only is obligated to spend the time agreed beforehand.
- Because the rates are on the escort’s website, the price is fixed and agreed beforehand.
- With an escort, the client will always give them the money before any intimacy.
- An escort clearly sets their boundaries beforehand by mentioning on their ad the services that they will or won’t do.
If I had applied these rules in my sugaring, I wouldn’t have been underpaid. I wouldn’t have ended up spending multiple grueling hours in a hotel room with someone for not very much money. I wouldn’t have allowed people to push my boundaries in physical intimacy because I didn’t know how to say no in the moment.
Now I am less afraid to be transparent. I will always agree on price and get my money before any intimacy. I will always explain my physical ‘dos and dont’s’ before we meet. I will at least vaguely discuss how much time we’re going to spend together.
It’s very different when you’re in a long term, more traditional sugar relationship where you both have deeper feelings. Once you can trust someone, of course the relationship doesn’t need to be regimented like this. The best sugar relationships are these ones and if you have the time to put in the effort, I would definitely recommend playing the long game- by which I mean not settling for cheap hookups with guys who realistically aren’t making enough money to pay you well. Instead, spending your time finding a daddy who you really connect with and who can actually support you.
But the reality of sugaring today is that many sugar dates are more like one time hookups, escort-type gags. Guys want to meet in a hotel and fuck pretty much straight off the bat. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with this. But if they go for this blunt, no frills approach, then they can’t be shocked or upset when you treat it in the same way.
SO – Don’t be afraid of talking more blatantly about money, being more strict with your time and your boundaries. The guys who try and make you feel ‘cheap’ or ‘clinical’ for being like this only have their interests at heart. It’s nothing to do with you.
The blurred lines of sugaring are what open up the opportunity for exploitation. I don’t want anyone to have to accept what I did. Let’s take the power back.