June 20, 2024
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA
Dating advice Advice Dating Apps

The Role of Sugar Dating Apps in the Dating Industry

Dating Apps


You’ve probably heard of sugar babies and sugar daddies at some point, and the concept of sugar dating is often met with criticism whenever the topic is brought up. There are also a lot of misconceptions surrounding sugar dating. This causes unwarranted negative opinions and judgemental stances on sugar dating, but the fact is, it has a role to play in the dating industry as a whole. 

Let’s dive into the world of sugar dating, identify the crucial role it plays in the dating industry, and maybe clear up some of the misconceptions for those of you that already have your feelings on it.

Before you can understand the role sugar dating plays, you have to know what it is. Sugar dating is a form of mutual relationship, usually between a wealthier man and a less wealthy woman, where the woman is compensated for her company. Compensation can come in the form of cold, hard cash, gifts, and even regular allowances or covering monthly bills such as rent and utilities. The company provided can range from just communication online or going on regular date nights, to simply sitting around and talking, and yes, even sexual relationships can blossom. 

This leads to the first, and main, misconception about sugar dating.

The main complaint people have about sugar dating is that it comes off as glorified sex work. After all, it’s pretty easy to let your imagination roam wild when you hear a man is paying a younger woman thousands of dollars a month for their “company”. However, that’s simply not the case.  

Many, if not most, sugar dating relationships don’t involve sex or sexual contact at all. It all comes down to the mutual agreement made by the sugar daddy and sugar baby, and most of the time, it is just a way to satisfy a man’s need for harmless, one-on-one, companionship.

As I mentioned earlier, sugar dating plays a vital role in the dating industry, and a lot of people don’t quite understand that role since they see it as sex work. In reality, sugar dating is an option that allows two people to enter a mutual relationship, with in-depth agreements and limitations in place, without having to fixate on the commitments and obligations that come with traditional dating. In many ways, sugar dating provides the option for a more business-like relationship that meets both people’s needs without any complicated strings attached.         

For sugar daddies, sugar dating apps often allow them to receive the one-on-one companionship that comes from a relationship, but they don’t have to commit to romantic love, the complex and intense obligations of a relationship, or ensuring that their sugar baby has a distinct place in their future.

 This is one of the only options for widowers who miss long evening walks with their deceased spouse, men who have tired of the dating game but still like to enjoy a dinner out, and men who would rather focus on their own goals than focus on building a family or planning a long-term future with a woman.

As you can see, sex often isn’t a part of the sugar dating world. Very often, it’s simply to fill voids that one can’t, or doesn’t want to, fill with a traditional relationship. It is not necessarily the healthiest option long-term, but there is certainly nothing amoral about it.

Of course, that commitment-free companionship doesn’t come without a cost, and that plays into its role for sugar babies. Sugar babies are usually younger women from their early 20’s to their mid 30’s, and they usually need a bit more money than their normal income provides. To get that extra income, they offer their time and companionship to men who need it. Some sugar babies are paid per date, including the date itself being paid for by the sugar daddy, but others who have an ongoing agreement with a sugar daddy are given monthly allowances ranging from $1000 to $5000. Gifts, usually expensive ones, can also be tossed into the mix. Sex, physical contact, compensation, and the type and amount of companionship required are all discussed before the relationship starts. Everything is consensual and agreed upon like a business deal. 

As you can see, sugar dating does have its place in the dating industry, and many people rely on it for extra income or innocent companionship. However, some big platforms are taking swings at the sugar dating industry. GooglePlay Store has recently updated its terms of service to ban and remove all sugar dating apps on the platform. This is done because it’s considered to facilitate compensated sexual relationships, which, like I illustrated above, is simply not the case in most sugar-relationships. 

Furthermore, apps meant to push one-off sexual flings, such as Tinder, Grindr, and similar apps, are allowed to stay without challenge; as you can clearly see these restrictions are extremely one-sided and based on biases and misconceptions, rather than high morale.

Sugar dating is a pretty hot topic, and it is mostly illuminated in a negative light whenever the topic is discussed in public or by the media. I will not pass judgement on either side of the conversation, but I think there is a place for these kinds of relationships in the modern world, and I believe that outright banning the apps that hold together the infrastructure for these connections is not the correct solution. I can’t say which solution would be best, but I am sure we can do better.

Rachel Hall, M.A., completed her education in English at the University of Pennsylvania and received her master’s degree in family therapy from Northern Washington University. She has been actively involved in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, OCD, and coping with life changes and traumatic events for both families and individual clients for over a decade. Her areas of expertise include narrative therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and therapy for traumatic cases. In addition, Rachel conducts workshops focusing on the psychology of positive thinking and coping skills for both parents and teens. She has also authored numerous articles on the topics of mental health, stress, family dynamics and parenting.

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