By Jyrell Wynn
With financial responsibilities looming, many college students are choosing to become sugar babies in order to pay off debt.
A sugar baby is a young male or female that is cared for by an older man or woman. The babies are paid with gifts, money and other luxuries to provide companionship to their clients.
Sugar babies are on the rise among college students, with the University of Central Florida having 700 babies and the University of Georgia having over 550 babies, according to SeekingArrangement.com.
Samantha Wilson is a single mom in Jacksonville, Florida, a college student and a sugar baby. Wilson is one of the many students active on Seekingarrangement.com, an online dating service that attracts successful men and women, according to a USA Today article.
Kirstin Johnson, a spokesperson for Seekingarrangements.com, also told USA Today that the average student earns $3,000 a month in gifts, travel, and money.
Wilson sees no correlation between being a sugar baby and a prostitute.
“It’s not the same,” Wilson said in the USA Today article. “Prostitutes are given money and have sex. They don’t see each other again. We talk a lot, go on dates, and are seen in public.”
Al Garabedian, senior accounting major, said a sugar baby situation could disrupt a real relationship because sugar babies are dependent on their clients instead of their significant other.
“It is worth it because you can get anything you want, but you could regret it later due to immediate satisfaction that doesn’t last,” Garabedian said.
Nicholas Mordecai, senior business administration and speech communications major, does not agree with sugar babies’ values, but said these people are no worse than anyone else.
“As long as both parties are aware, this business agreement is not a bad thing,” Mordecai said.
Mark Braswell, senior finance and economics major, hates that sugar babies feel that this is the only way to provide for themselves, but he is not against the act itself.
“It depends on the opportunities available to them and their situation,” Braswell said. “If there is no feasible alternative that is clear for them, do what you have to do to survive.”
Stephanie Guittar, assistant sociology professor at VSU, sees the issue as a complicated matter.
“There is give and take,” Guittar said. “On one hand, the relationship is consistent (with) the balance of power and mutual understanding. On the other hand, women enter the relationship with a shift in power…Can they continue living as normal after their voluntary lifestyle?”