The Sugar Daddy recession

The economic downturn has forced some women into arrangements with unsavory men, and made desperation into a fetish

By Laurie Penny

Published March 6, 2012 4:59AM (EST)

        (<a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-662170p1.html'>Victoria Andreas</a> via <a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/'>Shutterstock</a>)
(Victoria Andreas via Shutterstock)

In the loneliest corner of the internet, a man named Rian is offering a "monthly allowance" for a "sweet and caring [girl] who appreciates all I do for her." He's in his 30s, works in IT and earns good money -- so how about $1,000 dollars a month if the sex works out?

He's not looking for a "professional." Liam wants to pay for “cuddles” and "fun" from a "hard-up" student. Call it what you like -- an arrangement, a delicate excuse for sex work or modern love at its most upfront -- there are hundreds of thousands of men all over the world looking for it, and as the job market explodes, more and more women are desperate enough to take them up on it. The women call themselves sugar babies; men like Rian are known as sugar daddies.

For me, it all started with an innocent bit of apartment hunting. Scrolling through online listings for only slightly bedbug-infested sublets in the Bronx last year, I noticed several offers of free room and board "for the right girl." Wealthy, professional middle-aged men -- or people pretending to be wealthy middle-aged professionals -- were advertising rooms in their houses for "students" or other young women "having difficulty meeting their costs." In exchange for free rent, an appropriately pretty and poor girl would need to offer sex, affection -- and perhaps a...

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Laurie Penny

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