Sunday, April 12, 2009

Market for sugar daddies

Not all dating sites have marriage as their goal.

The NY Times Sunday magazine has an article called Keeping Up With Being Kept, about the website, which advertises itself as "the elite sugar daddy dating site, for mutually beneficial relationships." As the site makes clear, money is part of the benefit in one direction, but as the story also makes clear, the line between dating and sex work is fuzzy, and some of the relationships that develop are potentially rewarding.

Apparently the law is on the side of the site: "...since the 1970s, courts have ruled that as long as the woman is paid for some service besides sex — housecleaning, companionship — the arrangement is not the equivalent of prostitution."

The complication is summed up by one young woman who apparently has some experience with this marketplace:

"“When these sugar-daddy relationships go the way I think they should go, the lines are pretty blurry between that and a typical boyfriend-girlfriend relationship,” she said. “And when they go the way I don’t think they should go, the lines are blurry between that and sex work.” "

The website also suggests that you "Visit our other dating sites: (Millionaire Dating) & (Adult Dating)"

The Times story puts the matter in (market) context by considering some of the history of courtship :
"MOST PEOPLE WOULD LIKELY BE appalled to learn that a daughter — or father — was using Beth Bailey, a Temple University historian of courtship, said that her first reaction to the site was “revulsion.” But when she reconsidered it within the historical context of dating, she had a somewhat different response.
Heterosexual relationships, including marriage, have long involved economic transactions, but Bailey points out that when men provided financial security, they traditionally did so in exchange for a woman’s sexual virtue (and potential to bear and rear children), not for sexual thrills. For that, they often turned to prostitutes and mistresses, involving a more frank money-for-sex exchange. It’s only in the last century that money has been traded — albeit indirectly — for sexual attention from “respectable” unmarried women. In the early 1900s, courtship shifted from girls’ porches or parlors to a commercial venture: a date. Etiquette manuals of the time were explicit — boys were to pay for meals, entertainment and transportation, and in return, girls were to provide well-groomed company, rapt attention and at least a certain amount of physical affection."

1 comment:

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