Dating it's not what it use to be; now instead of meeting someone face-to-face you can use a keyboard to navigate the often tricky waters of relationships. Being married, I never really gave dating sites much thought but I couldn't ignore the buzz surrounding seekingarrangement.com.
The site connects so-called "sugar babies" with "sugar daddies," but it all comes at a price. Each sugar daddy must agree to fork over an allowance to these women in exchange for companionship. And we aren't talking about a small amount of cash, Leroy Velasquez, spokesperson for the site, says on average sugar babies can bring in up to $3,000 a month!
But what caught my eye was perhaps the alarming number of young and attractive, college students searching for sugar daddies. According to a recent study of the top 20 universities using the site, Texas State University in San Marcos was ranked 10th.
Velasquez reports a 54 percent increase in the number of college student joining the site compared to last year. "Privileged students have their parents, underprivileged have grants and intelligent students have scholarships but what about everyone else in-between," said Velasquez. "This is just another means of funding education," he added. The site is used by students across the state including right here in San Antonio.
Recently, KSAT's Myra Arthur sat down with a sugar baby who attends UTSA. The college freshmen spoke candidly about the site and her relationship with her sugar daddy. "I feel like I'm doing this because why not have the extra financial support while enjoying my time with this gentleman," she told KSAT during a recent interview.
KSAT protected her identity but she was not afraid to open up. When we asked her about the allowance she receives, she didn't hold back; "Altogether? I wanna say maybe $8,000 or so." In addition to the cash she also told us that she goes on trips with him and receives expensive gifts, "I mean, he's bought me a pair of Louboutins, a Chanel bag, Jimmy Choos."
I can't help but wonder in exchange for their financial generosity what were these "sugar daddies" really looking for? Velasquez maintains that the site helps create "mutually beneficial arrangements" and that it is geared towards building relationships and it's not about sex. "Sex for money is simply prostitution that is illegal no matter the circumstances, no matter the individuals involved," said Velasquez.
But the sugar baby we spoke with had a different take. "I feel like a lot of the men on the website maybe don't have the best intentions. If you kind of know how to maneuver and stay away from those people, there's really actually people who just want, I guess you could say a girlfriend, with a younger girl."
The relationships are built strictly on a verbal agreement between the sugar daddy and sugar baby. There are no contracts and can many times be open for interpretation. "The legal risks are always making sure everyone understands exactly what the agreement is," said local attorney Stephen Foster. "It's very easy for one person to think, oh this is what I've agreed to and another person who says, oh I've agreed to something else."
Perhaps it's the allure of graduating debt free or the connections gained along the way, after all many of these sugar daddies are very successful making upwards of $250,000. But one thing is for sure, the site has caught on with more than 1 million college student's worldwide logging onto seekingarrangement.com in hopes of making their lives a little sweeter.