Romance for education: Sugar daddies and the student debt problem

By in Opinions

With tuition costs at the highest they’ve ever been, students are seeking ways to fund their university education, sometimes by any means possible. Could sugar daddies and mommies be the solution to student debt woes?

A sugar daddy, according to seekingarrangement.com — the number one registry for people looking for these types of relationships — is defined as, “Successful men and women who know what they want. They’re driven and enjoy attractive company by their side. Money isn’t an issue, thus they are generous when it comes to supporting a sugar baby.”

Basically, a sugar daddy is a well-off, usually older person who offers up an “allowance” to a usually younger person looking to improve their financial situation. shamille-sarcauga-sugar-daddySugar daddies can also sometimes offer guidance and in a lot of cases, the relationship between a sugar daddy and a sugar baby is romantic and long-term in nature.

This is where this kind of relationship is different from sex work. Although the lines can often be blurred, most of the time a sugar daddy/sugar baby dynamic is relationship-based, while sex work is transactional and usually doesn’t result in a long-term romantic relationship.

I am personally for sex and relationship positivity, so to me, as long as both parties are happy and no one is feeling manipulated, then the relationship can be just as healthy as any other one.

However, I do believe that the chances of abuse in this type of relationship can be high. I think that just the notion that women can be a commodity, can be bought and sold, is very degrading, especially when some of these women who enter these relationships aren’t doing it because they want to, but rather out of necessity.

Honestly, I’ve considered sex work before to pay for my tuition, extremely fleetingly. I certainly do not believe that sex work is morally wrong.

However, that type of relationship inherently places the sugar daddy at the top and creates an imbalanced power dynamic. For example, a sugar daddy could demand sex of a sugar baby just because he gave her money, took her on an exotic vacation or bought her jewellery.

The sugar daddy in that situation is then using his wealth to manipulate women into sexual encounters, regardless of whether those women actually want to be intimate with them. That is rape. That is sexual assault.

I’m weary of those types of situations. It seems the sugar baby is in less of a mutual relationship, and more like a part-time job where they’re expected to be there for their sugar daddy at a moment’s notice because they have that financial leverage over their heads.

That is extremely wrong, and I wonder how much this occurs in comparison to healthy sugar daddy/sugar baby relationships.

Regardless of the question of ethics when it comes to these relationships, according to seekingarrangement.com, the University of Saskatchewan ranks 13th in the country for use of their site, and also for the growth in user registration over the years.

In 2013, 78 U of S students registered for the site, which has more than likely grown in recent years, especially as tuition continues to climb.

Is this a viable alternative to racking up debt in student loans? It could be. I think that it all depends on what you are personally willing to do to get money for your schooling quickly.

I think the more important question, though, is why should students feel the need to get a sugar daddy? Everyone knows that funding your education is next to impossible without outside help nowadays. If tuition rates are lowered and made affordable for more people, I believe we would see a decline in students seeking these types of relationships.

Until our government wakes up and realizes that everyone should be able to afford the opportunity for a quality education, some students will always be forced to trade their bodies and romantic interests for the bettering of their minds, and that is a reality that we need to face.

Kay-Lynne Collier

Graphic: Shamille Sarcauga