BOSTON — Cash. Travel. Gifts.
Boston 25 News found thousands of local students are turning to "sugar daddies" to help cover the high cost of college in this area.
They're called "sugar babies."
Boston 25 News Anchor Kerry Kavanaugh found a growing number of these students are on websites, seeking out relationships for financial gain, despite the risk.
Twenty-year-old Keisha is one of them.
She goes to a Boston-area school.
“I’m a college student. I do work part-time jobs, but sometimes it doesn’t suffice,” Keisha told Kavanaugh.
Keisha, says she uses the website 'Seeking Arrangement' to connect with a so-called "sugar daddy" and the pair then works out terms of an 'allowance.'
“They’ll do gifts, they’ll pay for food. Someone offered me ‘hey I can give you a thousand a month if you could just talk with me and when I come in town if you could meet up and hang out,” Keisha said.
“What would you tell people who might see this and say ‘you’re selling yourself’?” Kavanaugh asked.
“A lot of people just assume it’s for sexual pleasure or that I do this for sexual favors or what not. And I have actually never done any of that,” Keisha answered. That’s clearly noted on her profile.
Kavanaugh also spoke with a Sugar Daddy on the other side of these arrangements. New York day trader, Robert says he's been using seeking arrangement for ten years. He says he’s not in it for non-sexual relationships.
“No, that’d be boring. You can have that with anybody,” Robert told Kavanaugh. “My motivation is to find a woman who enjoys being spoiled and in many cases hasn’t experienced the things that I have, and share it with them.”
Robert says he’s taken women on extravagant trips, helped pay their bills, and bought them expensive gifts. But Robert tells Kavanaugh, he’s looking for more than just a material relationship.
“I don’t want to be used, I want it to be real,” Robert said.
Seeking arrangements says they have 20 million members worldwide, and 4.5 million of those are college students.
We found thousands of them are in Massachusetts.
Child psychologist Dr. Ellen Braaten is the co-director of the Mass General Hospital Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds. Dr. Braaten says “sugar babies” should ask themselves why they want to do this and how they’ll feel about themselves.
“We're talking about young women at an age when they're trying to develop a sense of identity. This is forming their sense of identity, their sense of what a relationship should be and it's troubling when you think of those sorts of issues,” Dr. Braaten said. She was also concerned that sugar daddies have all the control because they’re the ones paying.
Keisha says she feels she’s the one who's in control.
“Although you’re getting the allowance from the daddy or the mama, you’re essentially the ones that’s in charge of if you’re going to meet up, if you’re going to do the arrangement,” she said. Keisha says she only meets up with people who she feels comfortable with and she always tells here friends where she’s going.
Seeking Arrangement says they do not conduct background checks on members. A website disclaimer says members assume all the risk. But the site adds that's not uncommon on any dating site.
"You have a lot of people who are there for various reasons. You have some who are there for sexual gain, some who are not. You have people who are there for mentorship.
I've seen someone get a first job off of having an allowance with some who's really high in a business or knows someone in another company," Keisha added.
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