16 August 2016
Students sugar dating to make up student loan shortfall
While 79% of students turn to parents for emergency cash, others are hoping sugar daddies will help foot their bills.Credit: Arrangement Finders
According to this year’s National Student Money Survey, 1 in 10 students are taking risks to make ends meet – including gambling and using their bodies.
More than half (56%) of those we spoke to said the maintenance loan wasn't enough to cover rising UK living costs, with students scrambling to find an average of £250 each month to scrape by.
Earlier this year, the BBC revealed that a quarter of a million UK students were now registered with Sugar Dating apps, and 1 in 20 have considered the likes of glamour modelling, web-cam modelling, stripping or prostitution in order to support themselves through uni.
The deal with Sugar Dating
Credit: Michele Ursino – Flickr
Philosophy student Lizzie (19), says she first heard about ‘sugar dating’ on a blogging site and wanted to try it for herself. She told Save the Student:
The idea of getting easy money with something I already have (i.e. the ability to have sex, and the ability to entertain someone) made me interested … I don’t come from a rich family, so I was interested in getting money quickly and easily.
‘Sugar daddies’ are older men who lavish gifts and money on younger woman. In return, ‘sugar babies’ lavish patrons with attention and, mostly, no-strings sex.
Whatever the incentive, the transaction is now a whole lot easier thanks to a number of sugar dating websites. However, Southampton student Lizzie adds that, for her:
It was never about dating, since usually the men on such websites are in their 30s or 40s or even 50s or 60s. I was never attracted to men this age … It was more about the money.
While Lizzie is comfortable about her choices, not everyone is. Another student who tried sugar dating told Save the Student:
I've slept with people for money and I've been on dates with disgusting guys and put myself at risk by doing so just so I could have dinner and some left overs for the next day. It's not as bad now as I've learnt how to manage my money but thinking about how I struggled at one point does make me really upset.
The dangers involved
Lizzie says fears about blackmail or abuse got her off sugar sites. Her concerns grew when the men she talked to got defensive when she asked to meet in social locations, preferring to meet at hotels:
Sugar daddies in particular expected too much from me, in the way of asking for nudes [photos] and asking to meet me in suspicious and what I believed to be dangerous areas.
But it still took a close shave to stop her getting completely sucked to life as sugar baby. I always made sure to use a fake name,” she says, and never added or shared explicit photos: “I have tattoos that can be easily recognised, so I was always worried [about being identified or blackmailed].”
Despite being careful, someone she met up with in real life “managed to use the photos on the website to trace me back to my real name and my Facebook account” and threatened (unsuccessfully) to blackmail her.
That was the final straw for Lizzie, who’s no longer looking for sugar love:
I think it would have helped me out quite a lot, if sugar daddies weren't so creepy! I had to get a part-time job at university, and seriously, I would have made more money through this than through working in retail. It was never about being ashamed of the prospect of being a sugar baby, because I even told my mum! I was just worried I'd be killed, or hurt, by someone.
Have you gone to extreme lengths in order to support yourself financially at uni? Get in touch – we want to hear from you.
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