When you start seeing sugar babies on TikTok post about shopping sprees, luxurious vacations, and extravagant dinners paid for entirely by an older man, that’s when you know you’ve crossed over into #sugarbaby TikTok. “Insider” describes sugar dating as “the exchange of emotional or sexual favors to usually older, wealthy men known as sugar daddies in exchange for money or access to a luxury lifestyle.” The publication spoke to some “veteran” sugar babies to get the scoop on how accurate TikTok’s portrayal of the lifestyle is. HINT: It’s not.
Unrealistic expectations are being set. One former sugar baby said that only “the top 1%” of sugar babies live that kind of lifestyle. “Most girls aren’t working at that level,” she says. “The sugar baby TikTok world is more clout-based than information-based.”
Sugar dating without sexual relations is uncommon. “Sex is 100% going to come up in the conversation,” the former sugar baby says while adding that there are certain “tactics” girls should learn like “manipulation” and “teasing” if they want to have a non-sexual relationship. Srushti Upadhyay, who has published academic research on sugar babies, believes “a maximum of 10% of sugar baby relationships do not involve sex.”
There’s a lot of emotional labor involved. In reality, there’s a lot of work involved that’s mostly emotional. “It’s so much work and energy, especially when you’re trying to avoid sex,” the sugar baby revealed. “If you want a man to take care of you, you have to put a lot of effort in to build respect without giving away anything.”
Oh…and don’t forget the risks of abuse, coercion, legal troubles, and reputation damage.