Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The Hidden Price of Sugar: A Sugar Baby Desires True Intimacy from Sugar Daddy

Frankie Beach posted the piece "The Hidden Price Of Sugaring: Does being a sugar baby bolster capitalism?" on Killer and a Sweet Thang (NOVEMBER 13 2019). In the piece, 22-year-old Beach shared that she's a sugar baby, because she "needed money". [Emphasis added]

However, Beach was disturbed by the cold and transactional nature of sugaring. After an older sugar daddy informed Beach, "in a business-like manner", that he would pay her after they were "intimate", Beach was: "[...] lost for words, attempting to conceptualize an intimacy that exists isolated from a relationship: an intimacy that is performed." She wrote: "If intimacy is a service provided, is it intimacy at all?"

Despite their non-verbal debate over semantics, Beach and her sugar daddy met at a hotel room where for an hour, she gave him her young mind and younger body, and he gave her $500. 

At a hotel room, close to work, we met for an hour. I gave him my mind and my body and he gave me five hundred dollars in cash; to him it was a traditional relationship stripped to its bare bones, without any superfluous time spent or energy expended. Only the minimal requirements, an experience that offered a cathartic mental and physical release, then abruptly ended.

Interestingly, Beach wrote that most sugar babies don't consider sugaring to be sex work! Why? Because sugar daddies don't only pay for sex. In addition, they pay for "the illusion of intimacy". In other words, a sugar daddy pays for how much time he spends with his sugar baby, when and where they're intimate, and the nature of their intimacy.

By most who engage in it, it is not considered sex work. I don’t know if it is or not, and I don’t think it makes a difference either way. There’s nothing wrong with sex work for people who are fulfilled by doing it. But the fact remains that he was not only paying for sex, because he could do that a lot more cheaply and easily. What he paid me for is the creation and maintenance of a specific illusion, namely, the illusion of intimacy. He pays to be able to control how much time we spend together, when and where we spend our time, and the nature of the time spent. He pays to curate the experience of intimacy he wants.  

Despite, Beach's claims, there still appears to be very little difference between a john and a sugar daddy and a sugar baby and prostitute. #semantics For example, subsequently, Beach wrote: 

"[...] I was selling my body for sex." 

"And After he pressed the cash into my hand at the hotel room, I felt a rush. I felt a rush because having money made me feel powerful."

Unfortunately, Beach is convinced that her "personal value" is determined by how much money she makes, "[...] because money is the dominant societal indicator of value." And unfortunately, Beach has an inferiority complex and feels "worth less as a person", because she makes less money than most of her friends and family. 

We grow up convinced that our personal value is determined by how much money we make, because money is the dominant societal indicator of value. I know this is true because of the inferiority I feel at making less money than most of my friends and family, like I am somehow worth less as a person. 

Without fail, every piece of age-gap non-fiction we've recapped is littered with contradictions. For example, Beach shared that she's "in a place of privilege" and that her sugaring is simply done to make her life "a lot more comfortable". And she confessed: "I am not in a desperate situation." But then Beach blamed sugar daddies for the woes of sugaring. She wrote that she "cannot ethically support" sugaring, because it: "[...] encourages a practice of “intimacy” that ultimately benefits men."

I acknowledge that I am in a place of privilege. Although sleeping with men for money would make my life a lot more comfortable at this point in my life, I am not in a desperate situation. Not yet, at least. But sugaring is not empowering for me anymore because it requires me to avoid the truth that I am engaging in a system I cannot ethically support. Sugaring, in encouraging the creation of transactional relationships, also encourages a practice of “intimacy” that ultimately benefits men. Other forms of sex work don’t necessarily aim to construct such a controlled illusion of intimacy; they are straightforward about the service and the reward. 

In the end, it appears that Bleach would rather be a traditional prostitute, because she "cannot ethically support" "the illusion of intimacy" that comes with sugaring - despite the additional comforts that comes with the extra money.

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