When I first heard about , a website that helps men and women connect with sugar babies (people who are paid to provide some sort of relationship service) and sugar daddies (people who pay to receive the relationship service), I was skeptical. A girlfriend of mine was already on the site as a sugar baby, and she was getting all these lavish gifts — extravagant dinners with a $1,000+ bill, exotic getaways, designer handbags — but I had no idea what she, or other girls on the site, were doing in exchange for these things. Plus, who were these people that she was meeting? Were they nice guys? Creeps? Were they even who they said they were?
The gifts obviously seemed nice, but when I heard that she was making money on top of that, that’s what really persuaded me. Because I didn’t care about the material things I could have — I just wanted to provide for my son.
I’m a single mom to six-year-old Carter*, who lost his dad when he died from a heart attack five years ago. We obviously weren’t expecting it, and losing a second income, especially in Los Angeles — one of the most expensive cities to live in — made it very difficult for me to provide for Carter. I could afford the basics on my salary working as a customer service representative, but I was never really able to give him the things I thought he should have — a nicer backpack for school, a fun day at the amusement park, or the latest video game that all his friends were playing. I would do anything for my son, and I want him to be happy. That doesn’t mean he needs material things to be happy, of course. But there’s a lot of pressure, especially on social media, to have a picture-perfect life. And at the end of the day, I just couldn’t provide in the way that I wanted to.
So with my friend’s encouragement, I decided to give this sugar baby business a try. Most people assume that everyone who’s a sugar baby has sex with their clients, but that’s not true. You can set whatever ground rules you’d like, decide who you see, and how often you want to “work” with them. When I signed up, I went in knowing that I wasn’t going to have sex with anyone. That’s just not me, and it isn’t something I’m comfortable with. I was here to provide for my child, yes, but I wasn’t at the point that I felt the need to sell my body to do so.
When I first set up my page, I thought letting guys know right away that I wouldn’t be offering sex, and that I had a child, was the best course of action. I figured, ‘Tell them right up front because if that’s what they want, they know to not waste their time.’ So I literally had that information on my page. And, of course, I heard crickets those first few weeks. I barely heard from any sugar daddies, and when I did, as soon as I started talking about my son I wouldn’t hear from them anymore. It started to get frustrating — I wasn’t in this for anything but to provide for my son, but if they knew about him, I got shut down. I thought, ‘Do I really have to keep him a secret?’
I was here to provide for my child, yes, but I wasn’t at the point that I felt the need to sell my body to do so
I started looking at other girls’ pages, including my friend’s, and one thing was clear: Regardless of what services they were or weren’t wiling to provide, their pages were more inviting than mine. I realized that laying it all out there like that wasn’t doing anyone any favors — it was too harsh; kind of like when you go on a first date and someone word vomits their entire life story and outlines their marriage checklist. It’s an immediate red flag and turns most people off. It’s the same thing here — nobody was looking for a relationship or marriage, per se, but that didn’t mean I needed to be so abrupt about it. ‘Guys like the chase,’ I reminded myself.
I edited my page so that I seemed like a nicer girl to talk to, and shortly after I did, I met O*. Other men had messaged me as well, and while we talked a bit online, I never wanted to meet up in person. But there was something about O that intrigued me. He was handsome, kind, and had a gentle demeanor that came off as very attractive. And he was older — in his late 60s, while I’m in my 30s. I had never dated a man that much older than me before, but I reminded myself that this wasn’t dating. So why shouldn’t I explore the opportunity?
I decided to go for it, and I’m so glad I did. O and I got together for dinner a few times, and he was a complete gentleman — never pressuring me for sexual favors and always respecting my boundaries. I slowly became more comfortable around him, and as I did, I stopped talked to other potential sugar daddies online. When I told him I had a son — news that made other potential suitors drop me before I could blink — he didn’t bat an eyelash. He asked questions about Carter, but didn’t ask to meet him. And when I told him one of my hard rules was that this would be a completely separate part of my life, O respected that. I didn’t feel like I was putting myself or my son in danger.
That was about a year ago, and now O is the only sugar daddy that I have. We don’t have a sexual relationship — he’s never once asked me for that, or told me he wants to spend the night with me. Instead, he expects friendship and companionship from me, and wants me to be available whenever he calls. “When I need to talk to you or if I want you to send a picture, please don’t tell me no,” he said. So I don’t. We’ll meet up a few times a month — I saw him three times this last month — and every week on Sunday I’ll tell him my work schedule so he knows the days I’m working, the days that I’m off, and the times I’m doing things with Carter. From there we figure out when we can see each other, and we text and talk on the phone in between. I always try to communicate with him as much as possible because I don’t want him to ever feel ignored or like I don’t have time for him. But he also understands that if I’m not working I’m spending as much time as I can with my son — Carter is my first priority.
When we do meet up, it’s usually for a nice dinner, and at the end he’ll either give me cash — usually around $500 or $600 — or he’ll deposit money directly into a separate checking account I have just for this purpose. There isn’t a set amount of money that we agreed upon him giving me, though. It’s much more fluid than that. If we’re talking and I randomly say, “Carter would love to go to the movies,” then the next day I’ll usually see he’s made a deposit. Or sometimes he’ll just decide to send money, and he’ll shoot me a text saying, “Go take Carter for a nice day” or “Bring Carter to the mall for a little shopping spree.” He knows that I almost always use the money exclusively for Carter. Very rarely will I get something for myself, even though he’ll encourage me to “not forget to get myself something nice, too.” I know that I could, but it feels tacky — that’s not what I’m doing this for.
The most extravagant thing O has done so far was for Carter’s fifth birthday. We were talking about it on the phone, tossing ideas around when I mentioned taking Carter to Universal Studios for the day. O replied, “Why don’t we rent out Universal Studios?” And that’s exactly what he did. We had the whole amusement park to ourselves and it was just me, Carter, and 10 of his little friends. It was an amazing day, and Carter knew that it was all thanks to “Secret Santa.”
Even though I feel comfortable and safe in my arrangement with O, he has never met Carter, and Carter has no idea who he is. He just knows that “Secret Santa” takes care of a lot of things that he has, and he’s aware that it isn’t all coming from mommy. When he goes to bed, a lot of times he’ll hug me and say, “Mommy, I’m so grateful to you and I’m grateful to Secret Santa.” I haven’t thought too much yet about what I’ll tell him when he’s old enough to understand who exactly O is, or if O will even be in the picture then, but for right now I just want Carter to be aware of being nice to people, giving to others, and saying thank you. Because even though he gets extravagant things now, I’m not raising him to be a spoiled brat. He understands that when these things happen, they are a luxury — not a guarantee — and he needs to say thank you.
I haven’t thought too much yet about what I’ll tell him when he’s old enough to understand who exactly O is.
I haven’t given up my day job, either. I still work in customer service and cover as many of my basic living expenses as I can on my own. I think O appreciates that. He sees me trying to work hard — I’m not just sitting at home with my hand out — and knows that I’m trying to be a good person; a good mom, and he wants to reward me by helping me with my son. It feels like we understand each other and have a mutual respect for one another.
For now I’m still on , but O is the only man that I talk to. I don’t have time for anyone else. My profile is really only up now as a security blanket for me, because I never know when this could end. I don’t know if he has other sugar babies — he’s never talked to me about them if he does — but at the end of the day, the next pretty young thing could come around and this could all be over. We haven’t talked about what it would take for me to get off the site completely, but if he proposed to me then I would do it. Not because we’re in love, but because, to me, that would be his way of showing me that this is a steady situation that I don’t have to worry about disappearing. We wouldn’t have to get married if he wasn’t comfortable with it — we could just stay engaged forever if that’s the way things went — but that’s what it would take. Because then that would also mean it’s time for him to meet Carter, and right now I’m not comfortable with my son meeting any man unless he’s going to be a permanent fixture in our lives.
At the end of the day, though, I’ll leave it up to him, and for now we’ll keep doing what works.
*Names have been changed for privacy.