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Devoted sex journalist that I am, when I heard that SeekingArrangement. Who would pass up on a day of that followed by an evening of people-watching at an awkward dating mixer? But more on that later. The Sugar Baby Summit seminars included important SB how-tos like style and beauty tips, Internet safety, and a funds management session hosted by I kid you not a former Romney-Ryan campaign staffer.
The Sugar Baby Lifestyle gets a lot of flack for being anti-feminist, patriarchal, or simply glorified sex work. But I — and a lot of sex-positive feminists like me — believe that A there's nothing wrong with sex work, B there are totally ways to live a feminist SB lifestyle, and C there are ways to live an SB lifestyle that have nothing to do with being a sex worker whatsoever.
There's nothing wrong with entering into a consensual, reciprocal relationship in which "love" is exchanged for material gain. Sugaring can absolutely be a feminist act when performed by women who own their sexuality and are up-front about their needs and expectations. And SeekingArrangements. Yes, it generally plays into the idea of women lending their "company" as they allow a man to financially support them. But a PR expert on one of the panels offered a useful reframing to anyone who feared that they might be contradicting their feminism by choosing the Sugar lifestyle.
She pointed out:. There are plenty of women who live both as Sugar Babies and as active feminists — the two are not mutually exclusive. Of course, these tactics have their place in any power dynamic. But only once you've explicitly discussed your needs, desires, and expectations, and established boundaries and consent. And these vital concepts in power play were completely glossed over at the Sugar Baby Summit in a misguided effort to make the Sugar lifestyle seem "accessible" and "mainstream.
For example, representatives from the website constantly obsessed over how the site was kept "PG. But there's nothing R-rated about frank communication and consent. Or there shouldn't be. Take, for example, the demographics of the Sugar Baby Summit: it was overwhelmingly populated by female SBs seeking male Sugar Daddies. One of the site reps chalked this up, in part, to some gender-biased language in the first blast sent out about the event, which was later changed to be more inclusive. So, ultimately, a few male SBs did show up. I asked if there were any plans for LGBT mixers or "gender swapped" summits in the future, and was met with a response that irked me, both as a feminist and as a queer woman.
Site rep Brook Urick tells Bustle:. I appreciate that SeekingArrangement. But saying that it's "kind of weird for a woman to be in the mommy role" certainly isn't empowering to the strong, financially independent women for whom the site also offers services. And saying that there's no market for LGBT events is patently false — the queer community has proven time and again that if you create accessible queer spaces, queers will come operative word: accessible.
The summit revealed its latent anti-feminism again later with the sex-positivity or negativity, as it were issue of disclosing your kink identity on the site. And several site reps admitted that these folks exist on the site. However, I received contradictory remarks about how kosher disclosing your interest in financial, sexual, or psychological BDSM is on the site. One rep even ventured, "I would say most of the girls on the site don't really understand [the BDSM lifestyle] and don't know what that is," which is a borderline offensive underestimation of her clients.
The same rep added with regard to BDSM, "If you have wording about being weird on there or something that would make someone uncomfortable, we actually have a team of people who will deny you.
There are certain keywords and a threshold [for how many times you use them]. So, all you "weirdos" making folks "uncomfortable" with your legitimate desires: this might not be the most hospitable place for you. I tried to ask what buzz words could get people scrubbed from the site, and was refused an answer: "I can't tell you about the keywords, because if I did, then people would get around them by using other words, and we really don't want those kind of people on the site.
But all of this was precisely my point — It seems difficult to navigate achieving honest communication about what people are looking for without setting off the NSFW alarms that would get users booted. A different site representative backpedaled these views and said that it was perfectly fine to disclose your kink identity should you have onejust that you couldn't solicit explicit acts or an explicit dynamic for money.
Basically, no "transactional language" is permitted on the site. So there are a bunch of frustrating policies to wade through on SeekingArrangement. But it's mandatory. Veteran Sugar Baby Chelsea told the crowd a cautionary tale of how she once got dumped for having makeup dregs in her sink when her Sugar Daddy came by to visit. You're more likely to get cash out of your Sugar Daddy if you ask for money to help with specific costs: car payment, cell phone bill, student loan payments, etc.
Successful business-type Daddies also respond well to requests for "an investment" into your business venture, be it your lifestyle blog or your web series.
All of this is basically the classy way to be like, "give me x amount of dollars in exchange for my companionship now, please. Sugaring is like any other form of freelance work — multiple streams of income is key. So what happens if you wind up with a possessive SD who doesn't want you seeing other guys? Expert SB Chelsea suggests taking this firm stance: "Look, if you're not gonna give me a big allowance and you're not gonna let me see other people, then I'm not gonna see you.
Chelsea recommends breaking the ice by asking "So why SeekingArrangements instead of a regular dating site? So you want to go offline. If you're talking to a cute stranger and you want to know whether they have SD potential, try looking for expensive accessories checking the quality of their watch was a specific tipor bringing up "traveling. So you obviously have a moneyed human in your clutches while flirting in the field.
How do you broach the subject of Sugaring? Chelsea suggests using the phrase "mutually beneficial dating. A Sugar Daddy might be long-distance and ask you to travel to see him. Or, he might travel a lot himself and ask you to come with.
Here are some safety tips to bear in mind when traveling for Sugar:. Make sure a hotel room is in your name, or that you have your own key.
It gives you back some power when you're traveling on his dime. Forty percent of SeekingArrangement users are married Sugar Daddies, most of whom are acting with permission from their wives. Married SDs are "less clingy," says Chelsea, and they often give bigger allowances. They're also usually more relaxed about you having multiple partners.
Don't call or text a married SD — their families might see those notifications on their phones; is best when contacting a married SD. Also, don't hang out in their neighborhood on dates. You're into having fun. You have a lot to offer somebody else. Then, commodify your knowledge of your needs.
Your needs are your power. Express them to get what you want, or withhold the information to draw out mystery. Says Brandon, "If you the site for a Chanel bag, you're going to get used.
The best way to a man's wallet is through his heart. I'd say no sex for the first month. Hold a lot of mystery. A-type players are successful and on the site for a challenge. So it is possible to commodify your flirtation, companionship, and attention, if you don't necessarily want to sleep with a potential Daddy.
There's a huge Sugar Baby community on Tumblr. Make friends, share experiences, learn new things, and, most importantly, publicly shame "Salt Daddies" — older men who date younger women but have "nothing to offer" them. Don't bring up that you have kids until date five. SDs who were raised by single mothers will allegedly have a lot more respect for you. It's common for women to have regular boyfriends while they date Sugar Daddies, or while they have platonic Sugar Daddies.
But Sugaring can ruin regular relationships, warns Brook. As you can see, a lot of the advice doled out pushed teasing, omission, and indirect communication as ways to get what you want. Over and over again, I saw women discouraged from being up-front about their intentions and boundaries because it would "turn off" a potential Daddy and compromise their ability to cash in.
This is what's anti-feminist about Sugaring — pandering to anti-feminist Sugar Daddies. Lots of power-tripping dudes will get turned off by a woman wielding her power in explicit ways. That's why you talk about how you like power to change hands at the outset, when you're defining the terms of your dynamic.
If you skip that step, you might end up with a Daddy who controls you not because you like it feministbut because it's his default to treat women that way not feminist. And that guy doesn't deserve to be rewarded with an awesome, thoughtful, savvy Sugar Baby like you. But I also think that, like in all relationships, you have to practice complete honesty and openness with your partner or partners.
This is especially true when the relationship has a transactional nature or a power dynamic built into it. And if your Sugar Daddy can't deal with that like a grown-up, then he isn't worth his salt. By Mariella Mosthof.Sugar daddy looking for sb
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