Whether its cuddles on a Friday night, or just a fling with a hell lot of benefits, or simply just sex, sugar dating is surprisingly becoming the in-thing in Mumbai. The pandemic has certainly revealed the city’s quirky kinky side. Mumbai now tops the list for sugar dating, with the highest number of sugar daddies and sugar babies in India, and are we surprised!
What is sugar dating
Sugar dating or sugaring is a dating practice where a person receives money, gifts, support or other financial and material benefits in exchange for a dating-like relationship. The person who receives the gifts is called a sugar baby, while their paying partner is called a sugar daddy or sugar momma. This bond or companionship serves both the parties’ needs.
Sociologist Maren Scull has identified seven types of sugar relationships. The first is ‘sugar prostitution’, which is a form of sugaring without emotion, and purely the exchange of gifts for sex. The second ‘compensated dating’ is popular in Asia and involves a monetary or material compensation for grabbing a coffee, a meal or attending a specific event together. A ‘compensated companionship’ involves a wider scope of activities and often involve the woman becoming more intertwined in the man's life. Neither compensated dating nor compensated companionship involves anything sexual for most people.
‘Sugar dating’, the most common form of sugaring, combines the intertwined life of companionship with sex. In this case, most women receive an allowance on a weekly, monthly or as-needed basis. The sums could range from $200 to several thousands of dollars a month. ‘Sugar friendships’ are mutually beneficial relationships with someone the women consider a friend. In fact, these benefactors are often a part of the women's lives already or soon become a part of it. ‘Sugar friendships with sexual benefits’ is more unstructured. In some cases, benefactors pay for all living expenses for the women, including rent, cell phone bills, clothing, cars and vacations.
Finally, Scull found that some of these relationships involved two people who hoped to end up together, with the woman taken care of for the rest of her life, in a category she named ‘pragmatic love’.
"When we lump sugar relationships together as prostitution, it criminalizes these relationships," said Scull. "We were missing how they are often organic and involve genuine, emotional connection. Many of the women didn't intend on having a benefactor. They just happened to meet someone at work or during a catering gig who wanted to take care of them. These relationships can last decades."
Covid19 spawns unemployment
As if debts, student loans, mornings brimming with decafs and anxiety about the future, wasn’t enough, youth were hit by unemployment due to the pandemic. While scores of them had fresh new opportunities looming up in the coming months, there were a certain few who’d just left their previous positions, in the search of something better. Then came the crisis that crippled the world and forced this young set to contemplate the future. With this worry of an unsure future led to by the Covid-19 pandemic, many younger Indians are turning to a different means of creating some cash — particularly, sugar dating
Mumbai - a hotbed for sugar dating
Knowledge, which was launched by a sugar relationship web site - SeekingArrangement, states in a bizarre finding that Mumbai is the hotbed for sugar dating in India. The city has a staggering figure of 6,246 sugar infants and 21,464 sugar daddies. Trailing behind is New Delhi with 3,447 sugar infants and 13,127 sugar daddies. Hyderabad follows, with 1,218 sugar infants and 11,784 sugar daddies.
Brandon Wade, CEO and Founding father of SeekingArrangement, says that many Indian youths are burdened with an unemployment rate of 27.11 per cent, heavy schooling loans, and growing bills. This provokes them to go in search of funding.
“Even worse, college students discover themselves juggling a number of jobs, sometimes even dropping out as they are unable to deal with the mounting strain,” Wade says, including that a sugar child will get as much as INR 35,000 as part of their month-to-month allowances, which serves as a great assistance to a struggling college scholar.
Wade adds, “Sugar daddies and sugar mommies don’t only come in the form of providing financial assistance — rather, they also serve as mentors, offering financial guidance, networking opportunities and career advancements, among other things — in the name of raising the bar for aspiring professionals while they’re still in university."
How to find a sugar partner
If you’re wondering how you could be a part of this growing trend, the process of finding a sugar partner is no tough task. An app is an answer to your prayers! The app works like a regular dating app, wherein a person who is looking out for a partner enters basic info such as their age, gender, preferences. The app then shows you profiles of prospective matches, provided the parameters of location, age, wealth etc. match. The seeker needs to indicate whether they are looking for ‘success and wealth’ or ‘looks and charm’.
The app calls its sugar daddies and mommies as successful men and women who ‘enjoy attractive company by their side’ and for whom money isn’t an issue. Meanwhile, sugar babies are defined as ‘attractive people looking for the finer things in life and who appreciate exotic trips and gifts.’ If you fit either of these descriptions, you know where to look!
A user of the app, who wishes to remain anonymous says “It’s a fun arrangement. Who wouldn’t love finding themselves a person who is willing to pay for your lavish lifestyle? Cab rides, food cravings, living in luxury hotels, everything is covered.” She reiterates that once you’re successful at finding ‘the one’, it is all great from then on. “But, considering the privacy concerns with any social networking site, the app too, comes with its set of risks. There is always the possibility of stumbling upon a profile who isn’t what they claim to be. There’s only the initial hiccup to finding the right profile. Once you get through that, it is a beautiful journey.”