A wise copypasta once said:
Me no study, Me no care,
Me go marry a Millionaire.
Even though the concept of marrying into wealth isn’t exactly foreign, it’s taken on a new, more popular form called ‘Sugar Dating’. (Yes, that is the actual term.) Sugar Dating is a form of relationship that connects typically older wealthier people (Sugar Daddies/Mommies) to younger people looking for financial assistance (Sugar Babies) in transactional relationships.
Sugar Dating has really been quite the subject of controversy here lately, with many Malaysians commenting on whether Sugar Dating should be allowed, or banned. So, we talked to a Malaysian ex-sugar baby who has been in multiple sugar relationships internationally and locally for 3 years, about some things that we probably never knew about the sugar-dating scene. To preserve her privacy, we will be referring to her as Cham.
1. Fake Identities are common AF.
The Internet is scary. If you didn’t know that yet, then maybe you shouldn’t be on the Internet. This is especially true for people in the sugar dating community. As sugar dating websites are the main way for sugar babies to meet potential sugar daddies/mommies, it might be hard to tell if the person that they’re talking to online is really who they say they are.
“I’ve met a couple of sugar daddies who even looked completely different from the pictures they put up on the sugar dating website. I was even in a relationship with a sugar daddy for quite a long time, before I realized that he had been lying about his identity the entire time and had a wife who was pregnant!” – Cham, to CILISOS.
Cham says that although this fact may seem shocking, it is incredibly common for sugar daddies to lie about their names and professions, in order to keep the details of their private lives a secret.
“There is a good reason for it. As most sugar daddies are usually very influential men in their community, they tend to not reveal their real names and identities because they can’t risk being exposed. – Cham.
With that being said, the usage of online platforms does provide a sense of anonymity for people in sugar dating websites to keep certain aspects of their private lives hidden- and we’re not just talking about the sugar daddies. Cham revealed that she was actually underage when she was in the sugar-dating lifestyle, a fact that she kept hidden from her sugar daddies for the most part, unless they required her details in order to book things like flight tickets or hotel stays for her.
“When I had to reveal I was actually underage, I got mixed reactions. Most of them were actually okay with it, but there were a few who weren’t comfortable with continuing. I actually had one sugar daddy who was attracted to younger women, and even had a few sugar babies internationally around the ages of 13 – 14 years old.” – Cham.
2. Sugar Babies have A LOT of bargaining power.
As we mentioned earlier, sugar relationships are transactional, which means that both parties must provide something to each other. At first glance, the concept of sugar dating may seem pretty straight-forward; with the stereotype of young girls getting into relationships with rich older men, and are spoiled with expensive gifts in exchange for.. well…
But we found out that it’s actually more complex than it seems. As it turns out, what benefits sugar babies receive and what the sugar daddy gets in exchange has to be discussed in an arrangement. Cham talked about how her first arrangement with a sugar daddy went.
“One of the first sugar daddies I met with had offered me a monthly allowance of RM10,000, flight tickets, and a few other benefits. In exchange, he wanted to see me twice a week, and sex was expected.” – Cham.
On that note, Cham also commented that sugar dating isn’t the same as prostitution, as not all arrangements that are made require sexual intercourse. However, it still is something that is often expected because sugar daddies usually want to feel like they’re getting something in exchange for giving the sugar babies major financial support.
When I first told him that I didn’t want to have sexual intercourse, he told me to be realistic, because he wasn’t going to pay me that kind of money and get nothing in return. I wasn’t comfortable with the arrangement so I turned him down, because I knew that there would be better offers for me in the future.” – Cham.
But even though intimacy is often expected, Cham believes that Sugar Babies should recognize their own value and terms, before agreeing to an arrangement.
“As a sugar baby, you always have to remember that you have a choice. Because you have something to offer as well, and it’s not just intimacy and your beauty. A lot of people think that because they’re being paid, they’ll have to adhere to every demand a sugar daddy makes. That isn’t true, because you’re worth so much more than that.” – Cham.
3. Sugar Babies can… kena scammed?
Cham told us about how there were fake “sugar daddies” out there who would make arrangements with sugar babies, only to not fulfill their end of the bargain after getting what they wanted!
“I had this one incident where I had this “sugar daddy” in Dubai, who after having sexual intercourse with me in my hotel room (which I paid for), went completely silent and did not compensate me for my expenses like we had initially agreed on.” – Cham.
She also recounted an incident where she ended up being completely stranded in a foreign country without any money and without any way to return to Malaysia, after getting ghosted by the man she was supposed to meet.
“I had made arrangements to meet with this “sugar daddy” from Jakarta, so I booked a flight there by myself, without bringing along any cash or cards because he was supposed to pay for all my expenses there and give me an allowance. But when I arrived, he was nowhere to be found and was not replying to any of my calls or texts.” – Cham.
Unfortunately, this is somewhat of a common occurrence amongst members of the sugar dating community, to a point where a popular term has been coined to describe these “faux sugar daddies”: Salt Daddies – men who pose as sugar daddies, despite not being able to afford to finance their sugar babies.
What really struck us as interesting though, was the fact that there were barely any stories of fake sugar babies, which Cham attributes to the power and status of most sugar daddies, who she says are the last people you should ever cross.
“Most of these men are very powerful and very wealthy. They can find out who you are and where you work if they really wanted to. I had a sugar daddy who got my visa approved almost instantly, despite the process usually taking a week or two to complete. That was how influential he was.” – Cham.
4. It’s not about the money, money, money~
We know what you’re probably wondering; If sugar babies weren’t doing it for the money, then what are they doing it for?
Well, Cham stated that everyone goes about Sugar Dating a different way. For her, being a sugar baby was a lifestyle choice, as it wasn’t her main source of income. But to some others, they may even consider being a sugar baby as a job or a career. It all basically comes down to what they’re looking for in the relationship.
With that, Cham told us that a person’s motivations for pursuing a sugar relationship aren’t always financially-motivated. To her, it goes beyond just money alone.
“Being a sugar baby has allowed me to experience so many things that I wouldn’t have been able to experience otherwise. Sometimes, it’s not all about the money, it’s about the options you are provided and the opportunities that you come across.” – Cham.
Cham also told us about how being a sugar baby can also provide business and professional opportunities. Remember how many sugar daddies are wealthy and powerful people? These are the people she’s had the opportunity to rub shoulders and successfully built connections with.
“Who knows? If you pitched your sugar daddy a good idea that he might be interested in, you may even be looking at a future investor! Sugar dating can also open up business opportunities to sugar babies who might be interested in starting their own start-ups!” – Cham.
On the other hand, there are still many sugar babies out there who regard sugar dating as their full-time jobs and careers, due to their sugar relationships being their main source of income. However, Cham says that full-time sugar babies aren’t exactly that common, especially with quite a number of sugar daddies and babies not opting for exclusive relationships.
So, whether it’s a career choice or a lifestyle choice, it’s really up to the sugar baby to decide.
5. Sugar Dating is RISKY with a capital R.
Though sugar relationships are generally a consensual agreement done between two consenting adults, it is also important to note that there are risks that are ever-present with these arrangements. A quick ‘google search’ on the horror stories of sugar babies can easily reveal the “dark side” of sugar dating, with stories about ‘sexploitation‘ and sex crimes which are a lurking danger for those in the sugar dating scene.
“After my encounter with the “sugar daddy” in Dubai, I didn’t even think about reporting him. Because in Dubai, it’s technically illegal to be in a hotel room with someone of the opposite gender if you are unmarried. So, even though he was the one who exploited me, there was still a chance that I would have been charged instead.” – Cham.
However, Cham says that the biggest sacrifice that she’s had to make was regarding her mental health. She notes that being a sugar baby was mentally taxing was because of devaluation and self-worth issues, which has caused her to feel as if ‘she was only worth a certain amount of money and could be bought’.
“I think a lot of people in sugar dating often forget their self value because they’re easily charmed by the money. But what they don’t realize is that it affects you mentally. You may agree to an arrangement, but internally you don’t really want to do it. And that seriously affects you negatively.” – Cham
Is it glamorous or undignified? You decide.
Based on what we’ve been reading in our newsfeeds lately and on marketing by a certain sweet book; we may have an impression of the sugar dating lifestyle as either being incredibly glamorous or an incredibly undignified one which equates itself to prostitution.
Sugar dating, or at least, the concept of it has always been an ongoing cultural phenomenon, that in today’s day and age, doesn’t seem to be stopping. Ultimately, while all the attention is focused on the Malaysian site with the saccharine literature, it’s important to note that there are many other international sites that exist, which Cham has also used, and likely there are many more to come.
But more likely, the truth of sugar dating lies somewhere in between. Yes, in some ways, it is a glamorous lifestyle that promises countless opportunities, but there is always a hidden price that has to be paid.
Or as the saying goes, “The Ringgit is always purpler on the other side.”