In Defense of Prostitution: How Sugar Babies are Making Sex Work NBD

Connecting money to sex can be exciting, but this is something that nobody wants to talk about. We used to think of prostitutes as tragic, desperate victims. Now, due to sites like, that perception is changing. When and how did sex work become “no big deal”? – By Karley Sciortino Continue reading “In Defense of Prostitution: How Sugar Babies are Making Sex Work NBD”

A Sugar Baby Flirts with Foie Gras & Ménage à Trois

The blow was originally written as part of my “Sugar Babies” column for VICE.

Claire is a 24-year-old fashion assistant from LA. While in college, she briefly dabbled in the sugar baby lifestyle, traveling to both Boston and Cincinnati to be pampered by sugar daddies, and to be fed fine French cuisine by a fashionable French couple attempting to lure her into an ambiguous ménage à trois. The reality of Claire’s situation wasn’t as fun or as glamorous as she had originally hoped, however, but it still makes for a good story.

So, how your adventures in sugar babying all start?
Claire: Well, I was 22 and at college in Ohio, studying psychology. I was home in California for summer break when I read something on Jezebel about sugar daddy websites. At the time I was working two part-time jobs, trying to save up money before I went back to school, but it just wasn’t cutting it, so I joined a website. At first I kept telling myself it was just “for research,” but eventually I realized that I was actually going to go through with it. But then I thought, Well, that will just make my research even better!

What happened?
Well, after talking to so many guys, I eventually got a message from a guy in Boston, and I liked him because he just seemed really normal,  and he was Googlable—he had founded a big company and was high profile-ish, so he seemed less likely to murder me. I knew I didn’t want to do sugar stuff in LA, because I know so many people there, but I never thought I was going to travel across the country to meet a sugar daddy. But he offered me $3,000 to come to Boston for a long weekend, plus flights, so it seemed worth it.

So what happened when you got there?
We went to dinner at an African restaurant in the South End called Teranga. I’d never had Senegalese food before—the menu has a lot of really delicious grilled fish and meat. But it didn’t take long for things to get weird. Basically, I had known previously that his ideal arrangement was to have a live-in girlfriend, but over dinner he confessed that he had a wife and two kids who he lived with in the suburbs, and I immediately loathed him for having lied to me. And then he told me what he actually wanted was for his sugar baby to live in his house and work as a nanny to his kids, and basically fuck him behind his wife’s back.

Whoa, that’s super-dark.
I know! I was like, “OK, that’s never going to happen,” but he was really pushing for it, saying stuff like, “We can make it work, you can finish school in Boston.” Not to mention that in real life he looked way older and less attractive than the photos I’d seen of him online—he was sobald that he literally had no eyebrows.

Yikes. So what happened at night?
Well, he had told his family that he was out of town—his life was clearly a giant web of lies—so we stayed in a hotel downtown called The Fairmont Copley Plaza. I insisted that we get separate rooms. I had said ahead of time that I wanted to take things slowly, and he said he respected the “good girl in me.” But I was still so nervous that I felt constantly on the verge of vomiting. But I knew I didn’t have enough money to get myself out of the situation—I literally had $30 to my name—so I had to stick it out.

So what happened the next day?
We had lunch at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, which is in the The Fairmont Copley Plaza. It’s a really nice farm-to-table restaurant that would be really romantic if you were eating there with someone you actually liked. I got a turkey sandwich that was really good. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to get a salad, because I didn’t want to be one of “those girls,” but he got a full-on dinner steak, at lunchtime. It lo0ked really delicious but for some reason it made me think, Fuck this guy.

Afterward we went shopping at Barney’s. I wanted to shop, but I was worried that anything he bought me would be deducted from the $3,000, and felt uncomfortable asking about it. Also, he kept trying to hold my hand in public and I kept having to say “I don’t do that!” I ended up buying a pair of $500 Chloe sandals–they’re so cute, I still have them today actually—but I literally only chose them because they were the cheapest thing in the store. Then he bought me YSL perfume, and it was the most amazing smell, but I couldn’t bring myself to wear it until three months afterward because the smell just reminded me of him.

The smell of shame. God, this sounds like the trip from hell.
Well, the next day was slightly better. We went to the Christian Science center where they have a huge indoor globe, and you can stand inside the Earth. That was the best part of the trip. Afterward we went on a booze cruise around Boston Harbor—it’s called Mass Bay Lines—and that was really beautiful, and I got drunk on fancy cocktails.

Did you guys eat out that day?
Yeah, we went to Quincy Market, which is a very famous market in Boston. There’s a food section with lots of foodie stalls and they basically have any kind of food you could ever want. He handed me some cash while he left to take a work call, and I was kind of drunk so I literally stuffed my face with pizza, a burger, and fries. Then, when he came back he seemed in a really bad mood and was like, “I don’t how to do this, but we’re clearly not working,” and I obviously agreed. He was clearly annoyed that I had refused to do as little as touch him for two days. So we went back to the hotel and he changed my flight to leave that evening. In the hotel he was like, “I have this envelope for you, and I don’t feel comfortable handing it to you so I’m just going to put it in your suitcase.” It was $2,800—so I guess the $200 was deducted because I left early? I don’t know. But then weirdly, when I got back to LA, he wouldn’t stop calling and texting me, asking to meet up again. I ended up blocking his number.

OK, well that was clearly a bad experience. But you still decided to try the sugar baby thing again, right?
Yeah. Honestly, the money was really helpful, and I thought I could find a guy who I liked better, so a few months later, when I was back at college in Ohio, I got back on the site. I started messaging a guy who seemed really sweet, and pretty soon he mentioned that it was actually him and his wife who were looking for a sugar baby together. They were French, from Paris, and were living in Ohio temporarily. He never explicitly said anything about a threesome, but he said they felt that something was missing in their relationship, and that they were interested in the idea of an open relationship.

That sounds kind of hot, actually.
Yeah, I thought it sounded interesting, and that maybe I could write a paper on it one day, or at least that it would make an entertaining story for my friends. So I drove to Cincinnati to meet them, and they insisted that I have an entire spa day before meeting them for dinner. When we finally met I was surprised that I felt pretty comfortable around them. They were in their early 50s, and the wife was beautiful in a clean-cut way, and was an executive at Louis Vuitton. The guy was a writer and was less good looking, but an artistic type. They had never had kids, and he seemed depressed.

Where was the dinner?
We met at a Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, which is a really classic, New York-style steakhouse. The steak was amazing—they were clearly people who cared about food. But I was aware that I looked like their college-age daughter, and was internally trying to get over the fact that they were my parents’ age. I remember thinking that my roots were bad, and that I looked like a scrub, and that they probably didn’t want to be associated with me because they were quite chic.

So did things get sexy after dinner?
No, we went back to their house and they just put me to sleep in their guest room.  I could tell that the husband wanted the situation it to be more seuxal, but the woman’s motives were more ambiguous at first. It was almost as if they were treating me like a daughter—the daughter they never had.

Strange. So did you see them again?
Yeah, a couple weeks later I drove back to Cincinnati and met them at a French restaurant called Jean-Robert’s Table, which had just opened a few months before. It was very classy, and at that point I had dyed my hair, and dressed up, so I felt more appropriate. They ordered everything for me in French—it was very traditional French food like pâté, foie gras, and steak tartare. It was incredibly good. As the night went on, however, it became more clear that the wife wasn’t into it.

What do you think her motive was?
I think she just wanted someone to come in and fix their marriage… somehow. The husband clearly wanted a sex plaything, but from the way she treated me it seemed like she wanted a daughter, and somehow they were trying to combine those desires by meeting me. Unfortunately, I don’t think I fulfilled either of those roles well.

Did they pay you?
Yeah, they gave me $500 each time. Then, a few weeks later I got a message from the guy saying they were getting a divorce, and asked me if I wanted to meet him on his own, but I didn’t respond. After that I stopped the sugar baby thing. It was just too much for me.


This Sugar Baby Cum Stripper Knows How to Hustle


The below was originally written as part of my “Sugar Babies” column for VICE.

Jacq is a 27-year-old writer and stripper. She grew up in Montreal, which is where she first discovered the sugar baby life, after which she became exceptionally good at getting stuff for free–especially nice meals. Jacq now lives in New York with her wife. With her tits out, she gathers stories, which she’s currently compiling into a book titled Flashing My Gash for Cash.

When did you start “working” as a sugar baby?

Jacq: When I was 20 I was bartending at this douchey club in downtown Montreal, and one night a guy came in and ordered a cocktail, gave me a hundred bucks and didn’t want change, which obviously got my attention. He was a Jordanian oil prince in his mid twenties, and was really sweet. The next day we met up for lunch and afterward I gave him a blow-job, but I would have fooled around with him more if I wasn’t on my period. He had this really beautiful cock, although when he took it out he said, “It’s handsome, right?” which kind of ruined it. Anyway, later we went shopping, and suddenly I had new shoes and Chanel perfume, and afterward I had this moment of, “Oh… so this is how the world works.”

Epiphany! So where did he take you for lunch?

He was visiting from out of town, so I took him to one of my favourite downtown spots, Sho-Dan. They have this sushi pizza that, at 20, I found really novel.

So did that experience pique your interest in sex work?

I wouldn’t have called it sex work yet. I had a middle class upbringing, I was at a fancy university–no on around me was a sex worker. But I was always interested in the idea of it, and I liked the attention and power and flirtation, but I didn’t want to have sex, necessarily. I just started to realize that life could be free. And so I started Googling…

Which led you to discover sugar daddy websites?

Exactly. At first, all the messages I got were from men who wanted me to travel with them, but I was like “Fuck no, I don’t want to get raped.” But eventually I got a message from this guy Sam who just said “Do you want to go shopping?” He was super old, like a grandpa, and he basically just watched me exist. He would take me out shopping and would say, “You can have anything you want.” So I told him I wanted Prada pumps, and he was like, “Let’s start with BCBG.” Lol. In a way, he was teaching me the process of these types of relationships–like, you can’t ask for Prada immediately, there’s a mutually beneficial exchange that has to develop over time.

What were your dates with him like?

For the first date we went to Kaizen, this sushi restaurant on Sherbrooke. It’s the kind of restaurant where they acupuncture the fish to sedate them in Japan, then ship them to Montreal where they take the acupuncture needles out, the fish starts flopping around again, and then they kill it. So it’s incredibly fresh, but it’s obscenely expensive, like $60 a roll or something. I got some bitchy cocktail like a lychee martini, and then ordered almost everything on the menu. My favorite was the lobster dragon roll. Sam just sat there smiling at me and barely ate anything.

Were you worried that he’d think it was tacky that you ordered so much?

No, I didn’t care, because I was starving. Like it was a necessity, I had no money. And I also didn’t care because I thought he was tacky for being on the website anyway. There’s this mutual judgment that lingers over all types of sex work. When I started working as a stripper, I’d look at the other strippers and be like “Eww, look at all these crack whores.” But that feeling dissipates pretty quickly. But you do judge your colleagues at first, and the strippers judge the men who come in, and the men judge the strippers, and so everyone is judging everyone, which means that everyone is fronting. But the flip side is that no one cares because you’re never going to see each other again. It’s like, “You’re paying $12 for a Bud Light to see my tits, which means that you’re an idiot, but I’m a slut, so whatever.” So in a way it’s kind of liberating–everyone’s just working their shit out and getting drunk and hating each other. “You’re paying $12 for a Bud Light to see my tits, which means you’re a horny idiot, and I’m a Dumb Slut, so let’s do this.” So in a way it’s kind of liberating–everyone’s just getting drunk and working out their daddy and mommy issues under black lights.

Did you ever hook up with Sam?

No, he was very grandfatherly, and not the type of grandfather who wants to fuck you. He didn’t even try. It’s not always just about having sex. Some guys get off on being seen with a beautiful woman.

Where else did you go with him?

We went to an upscale Greek place called Milos. You go to the back of the restaurant and there’s all these fresh fish on ice and you pick your fish. It’s sort of a novel experience. I was wearing a dress he bought me at Zara, which I bought in a rush and didn’t love. I’ve since learned that you should do your research before shopping with a sugar daddy–go and try stuff on, and remember where the stuff you want is located in the store, this way you can just grab it fast, because guys hate shopping for long periods of time. He didn’t take me shopping anywhere that upscale, but I mean, he bought me this amazing leather jacket at Zara that I still wear to this day.

So who was your next sugar daddy?

Oh god, he was this disgusting, balding guy with a ponytail who worked in construction and was a douchebag. He kept overtly looking under the table to check out my legs. For our first and only date we went to Garcon!, this French restaurant on Sherbrooke. I had a quail appetizer that was really good. The guy wanted me to go with him to Miami. Sugar daddies love Miami–it’s a thing.

Well it’s very classy there. So when did you decide to cross over from the world of sugar babies to stripping?

Well, I had moved to Australia for a while, and did not anticipate the astronomical cost of living. I had just met this girl who was cute and broke. I remember trying to withdraw money to buy us pizza, and it said ‘Insufficient funds.” And I was just like “Fuck it, I’m going to be a stripper.” And I immediately loved it.

Why do you like it?

I love the performance, the costuming, the immediate gratification of cold, hard cash, and the sluttery–being a slut is fun! Also, you can form sincere relationships. And sure, they do have seuxal undertones, but everyone has relationships like that in real life; I just turn a profit from it. Everyone’s always sucking someone’s dick in some capacity, so in a way I think that makes sex work the most honest work. (Although realistically I haven’t given a blowjob in six years.)

Do you find that people are surprised when you say you like your job?

I do! It’s unfortunate that the only socially acceptable way to be a sex worker is to hate men–you’re supposed to be exploitative, vindictive and to cheat people out of their money. Because enjoying sexual
interactions that you’re being paid for, whether you’re fucking the guys or just listening to them bitch about their bosses, makes people uncomfortable.It’s easier for people to slut-shame than to wrap their heads around the fact that a woman is in control of her body and –gasp–making money off it.

What did you think of Steven Soderbergh’s portrayal of sex work in The Girlfriend Experience, where Sasha Grey plays a high class escort?

I like that movie, but dammit, why is everyone in it so vapid? Sasha Grey is so smart and self-aware in real life, and the movie just made her seem like a dumbass in nice lingerie. You need a little bit of intellectual capacity for emotional compassion, but they just make her seem like this two-dimensional fuck machine… but alas, male fantasies are seldom complex.

So you think deep down clients just want you to be a hot robot?

Well, I find that when you surprise clients by getting under their skin, or impressing them with your wit, they find it quite jarring, because you’re not playing into the fantasy. They interpret it as you letting your guard down–as vulnerability–rather than as independence and autonomy. They expect you to be dumb, basically, so when you’re not dumb, they’re like, “Oh, she’s real!” And sometimes they like it, but sometimes they find it intimidating. So you’re negotiating those boundaries all the time.

Do you ever go on sugar-daddy-ish dates with your stripper clients?

I haven’t in a long time. I’m married now, and part of the agreement I have with my wife is that work stays at work. But before we met I was working the day shift at a stripclub in midtown Manhattan, and afterward I’d often go for dinner with one of the guys from the club–they always ask the dancers to hang out afterward–because it meant getting a nice, free meal. I’d usually want oysters, and one of my favorite places around there was Bistro Chat Noir, on the Upper East Side near the park. Guys love to watch you eat oysters, because it’s like you’re sucking back on their cum.

Ooh, good tip!

There’s a guy who comes into the strip club a lot who always gets a private room with me and this other dancer. He orders food to the room–strip clubs in New York often have restaurants in them because of certain laws–and just sits there watching us feed each other porterhouse steak and shrimp scampi. Compared to most restaurants, strip club food would be considered disgusting, but when you’re drunk and starving it tastes amazing.

That’s not what I ever imagined went on in those private rooms.

Yeah, a lot of guys just get rooms to do a bunch of coke. I recently had a couple come in and fuck in front of me. The girl was like “I’m bi!”, but was clearly the straightest girl in the world, and was pretending to be into me. So they fucked on the couch and I shouted words of encouragement from the adjacent chair.

So have you ever hooked-up with any of your clients from the club or websites?

No, I’m pretty gay, honestly. And I’ve always known I could get things without having to fuck anyone, which has been a blessing and curse, because I’ve taken it too far–once I flew to Paris with a client and he obviously expected me to fuck him and I didn’t. He was really mad by the end! But honestly, the couple times I tried fooling around with sugar daddies I got really bummed out. I just hated it, and I acknowledged that it just wasn’t something I personally felt comfortable doing.

So on sugar daddy dates, can you get given cash if you don’t fuck the guys, or is it just presents and stuff?

Yeah, I usually didn’t get cash just to hang. I’ve successfully been paid $1k just for a date twice in my career, but that’s hard to negotiate. You basically have to make the argument that a night of your time is worth a grand, because that’s how much you could be making at the club. But guys don’t generally like paying a grand not to fuck you.

What does your wife think about what you do?

She’s totally respectful and supportive of my stripping career.  But the dates outside of the club are a thing of the past. Something I think a lot of people don’t acknowledge is that you can be a sex worker and have a relationship, and they don’t really intersect that much.