Devoted sex journalist that I am, when I heard that Seeking was hosting its first-ever Sugar Baby Summit, offering an afternoon of seminars for both beginners and masters of the Sugar lifestyle, I eagerly accepted the invitation to attend.
Who would pass up on a day of that followed by an evening of people-watching at an awkward dating mixer? Sugaring, in case you're new to the sweet life, is a type of relationship/lifestyle in which a Sugar Baby (SB) "provides companionship in exchange for being pampered," while a Sugar Daddy (SD) "pampers Sugar Babies in return for companionship." "Pampering" is obviously a broad term, and can include explicitly negotiated financial compensation — like an allowance, tuition payments, or an investment into a Sugar Baby's business venture — or simply gifts, trips, and other treats.
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.
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.
But only once you've explicitly discussed your needs, desires, and expectations, and established boundaries and consent.
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 CEO, Brandon Wade, even implied that it was easy, if you were a BDSM-oriented Sugar Baby, to search profiles and find Daddies who were too.
However, I received contradictory remarks about how kosher disclosing your interest in financial, sexual, or psychological BDSM is on the site.
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."Those kind of people.
She pointed out:"You're using what is available to you to get what you want.