What Is a Sugar Daddy? Here's Everything to Know About Their Unique 'Arrangements.'

"I understand the nature of our relationship... but they still need to like me as a person."

man picks up woman at a bar
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Times are tough financially. The unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in the United States since the Great Depression and COVID-19 has depleted many of our bank accounts. That’s why some folks are on the prowl for an older gentleman to help with personal finances, also known as a sugar daddy.

What is a sugar daddy?

According to Urban Dictionary, the go-to website for all things slang, a sugar daddy is “a boyfriend who comes with financial benefits. Sugar benefactors can help to cover tuition, bills, and frequently enjoy bestowing gifts upon their partners.” (Other folks seek women to help cover their finances, known as a sugar mama.) The person in a consensual relationship with a sugar daddy or sugar mama is commonly referred to as a sugar baby. (Like any relationship, a sugar baby and sugar daddy's arrangement has to be consensual.)

You may be wondering what sugar daddies gain from these types of arrangements. Every case is different, but for the sugar daddy, it tends to be about companionship and/or sex. While sex isn't a compulsory component of a sugar daddy/sugar baby arrangement, more often than not, it plays a role. Sometimes there's also a mentor/mentee dynamic, wherein a daddy feels gratification for helping to guide their sugar baby through life. (There are other reasons, too, which the sugar daddies interviews below will explain in more detail.)

What are the types of sugar daddies?

Yes, there are categories of sugar daddies! The Urban Dictionary definition categorizes sugar daddies in three distinct groups based on how much money the daddy has and is willing to spend. On the lowest end, there’s the Splenda Daddy. “He promises to shower a partner with cash and gifts, but often is limited by his income,” the definition says. Next is classic Sugar Daddy, “who has a budgeted amount of sugar funds that he allocates to his sugar partner on a weekly or monthly basis.” Then, there's the cream of the crop, the crème de la crème: the Honey Daddy. “His income has no bounds, and he can easily support multiple sugar partners.”

But getting a sugar daddy isn’t an easy feat. I attempted a few years back when freelance writing wasn’t bringing in the big bucks. (Spoiler: It’s still not.) I signed up for SeekingArrangement, one of the, if not the most popular site to meet sugar daddies, and wow, nearly every single daddy on the site was a scam. They’d ask for sensitive bank account information "to put you on their payroll," or they sometimes directly asked me for money, saying that after I gave them money, they could give eventually give me more money back. (Uh...)

Nevertheless, real sugar daddies exist. I spoke to three daddies anonymously (different names, real ages and locations) about how they became a sugar daddy and what they look for in a sugar baby.

  • George, 56, based in Los Angeles
  • Alfonso, 54, based in San Francisco
  • Robert, 59, based in New York City

    How did you become a sugar daddy?

    George: “Around my late 30s/early 40s, my bar and club frequency was pretty much over and done with. I’d always been attracted to guys younger than me so I started responding to and placing ads on Craigslist. Back then, Manhunt was an easy way to meet younger, hot guys without going out and staying out late. I was looking for companionship and they were looking for cash, so it was a win-win.”

    Men's Health Magazine

    Alfonso: “Without knowing or planning it! My (and my husband's) natural generosity had taken us there. If we can help younger men who we like, why not help them?”

    Robert: “I was married to a woman for about 20 years. I ended up cheating on her with a younger woman. I realize I’m that cliche. Since then, I’ve never attempted to marry. I’ve simply had younger women whose company I enjoy.”

    How old were you when you became a sugar daddy?

    George: “I was around 40.”

    Alfonso: “Mid-30s.”

    Robert: “I was 50.”

    How many sugar babies have you had and how long did they last?

    George: “Two longer ones. One lasted about eight months and the other two years.”

    Alfonso: “Two stable ones. One was only a couple of months where the other was sporadic, on and off for about three years.”

    Robert: “Has to be around six, and anywhere from two months to two years.”

    Why did those relationships end?

    George: "The shorter-length one ended because he was the only one getting his needs met. I was getting none of mine met. We discussed it frequently, but nothing ever changed until I said, 'Enough.' The second one ended because he lied and broke the rules of our open relationship."

    Alfonso: "A loss of interest by other us, them, or both."

    Robert: "One of a number of reasons. They grew tired of me, or me tired of them. I felt as if they were only interested in me for my money. They moved on or got a boyfriend who wasn’t a sugar daddy."

    How do you compensate them?

    George: "Treat them as well as I could: food, entertainment, travel (some epic vacations), shows, clothes, pocket cash. I was never about giving an 'allowance.'"

    Alfonso: "Compensation, or better, exchanges, can be and have been in the form: homestays, travel, cash, meals."

    Robert: "I’ll give a small allowance, somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 a month, but not at first. At first it’s more dinners and entertainment. I’ll take them shopping and buy them whatever they want (within reason). Trips, too."

    What do you think are qualities all sugar daddies should have?

    George: “Probably better to ask the sugar baby I would think. But, if I were to assign a quality to a sugar daddy I would say self-awareness.”

    Robert: “A reality of the situation. I’m aware these women wouldn’t be with if I wasn’t giving them money. Nevertheless, I do want them to enjoy their time with me, and to still like me, at least to some degree. There’s a mental balance every sugar daddy should have.”

    What are the qualities you look for in a sugar baby?

    George: "Of course, it starts with a physical type, followed by sexual compatibility. Then there must be some type of chemistry in the bedroom and outside of it. Someone I can have fun with, laugh with, gets my wit, has something to say, has a point of view, looks great in a jock, smokes weed, and would prefer hanging at my place than going out. Also, someone who wants to learn (about anything), and I want to learn from them as well. I’ve tended to nurture/support guys who have goals and determination for their own personal success."

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    Alfonso: "Frequently, the baby expects the relationship to be only based on material gain, and that does not work for us. The relationship should be similar to that of a boyfriend, date, or friend—and mutual attraction is a must."

    Robert: "Appearance and sexual connection, of course, but it’s not just sexual. I want a sugar baby who’s engaging to converse with. I want her to be able to teach me about what’s going on among youth culture today and to keep me more connected to society, so I don’t feel as out of touch. I also appreciate when she can keep up with whatever it is I’d like to discuss."

    Anything else you’d like to add?

    Robert: "It’s very clear if someone is only interested in me for financial gain, but doesn’t actually like me as a person. It needs to be more than that. Of course, I understand the nature of our arrangement. I’m aware they wouldn’t be in the relationship if money wasn’t exchanged, but they still need to like me as a person, enjoy seeing me, and enjoy having sex with me. None of that should be fake."

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