Close
Exit

PUTERI, 18, looks like your average teenager. She likes to have nice meals, go shopping, watch movies, and hang out with her friends. The only difference is she’s looking for a wealthy man – a sugar daddy – to pay for that lifestyle.

“Having financial security is important to me. If I have to date a man to get it, why not?” said the Form Six student.

“It’s difficult to maintain my lifestyle as it is, but I also want to have nice clothes, and have fancy meals. My friend’s sugar daddy was able to give her all that, so I decided to try it too.”

This sugar daddy-sugar baby arrangement – where attractive young people offer “companionship” (which usually includes sex) in exchange for money, shopping trips and exotic holidays – is becoming increasingly popular in Malaysia, all thanks to the Internet.

In the past, sugar babies would usually have to hang around and play the field at certain clubs or pubs – not an easy process. Now, it takes literally five minutes to set up an account on one of the many sugar baby websites available, upload a profile and wait for the offers to come in.

SeekingArrangement.com is one such website. Since it was launched in 2006, it has amassed a whopping 3.6 million members, with a ratio of eight sugar babies to one sugar daddy.

College girls get harrased and hit on by guys online all the time anyway. All they’d have to do now is negotiate a price.”

Though the odds might seem to favour the sugar daddies, the profile I set up to test the site received two offers within a day – both from gentlemen who were worth over US$1 million (RM3.6 million). In the past month alone, I’ve had 13 offers.

On top of that, you have online classifieds websites. A quick search brought up four local sites with dozens of ads openly asking for sugar daddies.

These sites also make it easier for not-so-stereotypical sugar babies to get in the game. Example: one of the ads was by a woman who said she dresses very conservatively, while another said she was newly-single, pregnant and desperate for financial help with her unborn child. The old hang-around-the-clubs routine probably wouldn’t have worked for them.

sugar baby

No money, no honey: Sugar babies view their sugar daddies as ‘boyfriends’, but with deep pockets as opposed to any deep feelings. [Pictures posed by models] — Photo: AZHAR Arif/The Star

“Back in the day, the usual way was to be a GRO at a club, drink with businessmen all the time, and see where it goes,” said Sulastri Ariffin, programme manager of Social and Enabling Environment Development (SEED), an organisation that works with marginalised communities. She has been giving counselling and support to sex workers since 1992.

“But online, college girls get harrased and hit on by guys all the time anyway. All they’d have to do is negotiate a price,” she added.

RELATED STORY: Our reporter tried getting a sugar daddy online, and it was surprisingly easy 

Puteri, who lives in Ipoh, decided to go with a classifieds website to find her sugar daddy, asking for RM1,000 a month – relatively cheap compared to sugar babies in the Klang Valley.

In exchange, she would be his girlfriend and provide the company and “love” involved in such relationships.

Does that arrangement include sex?

“Of course!” she said, sounding surprised. “Isn’t that the way it works?”

Sugar rush

“To be very honest, I love money, and the power that comes with it.”

— Sugar baby Sandy, 23

You could see why young people would find a sugar arrangement a sweet deal.

We’re talking about fancy dinner dates, expensive gifts, holidays around the world and a few thousand bucks in monthly allowances. Most sugar baby ads come with fixed price tags of around RM3,000 to RM5,000 a month!

But with sex almost definitely on the table, isn’t it essentially prostitution?

“I’ve never considered this prostitution,” said Sandy, 23, who started her sugar life in 2012, when she a second year college student.

“I’m paid for my company, not for sex. I have the power to choose whether or not I have sex,” said the self-confessed “materialistic girl” who started down this path when a friend asked if she would like to get paid for a dinner date.

Sandy, who lives in Petaling Jaya, has had many sugar daddies over the years, including several Datuks.

“To be very honest, I love money, and the power that comes with it,” she said, adding that a one-off dinner date with her costs RM500, excluding the expensive gifts.

Babies indeed

Across the world, sugar babies appear to be getting younger – a trend Sulastri sees happening in Malaysia as well.

In 2006, only 20% of the women on Seeking Arrangement were college students. Now, that number is close to 50%.

brandon wade

Sweet tooth: CEO and founder of SeekingArrangement.com Brandon Wade (seen here with his sugar baby-turned-wife, Tanya Wade), was a dateless nerd before realising that his money made him much more desirable to women.

SeekingArrangement.com CEO and founder Brandon Wade believes it’s because the cost of education is constantly on the rise. “Most students will graduate with a large amount of debt that will take years to pay off,” he said.

Of course, a sugar daddy would ease that financial burden; or a sugar mommy, for that matter.

RELATED STORY: Find out how Brandon Wade got into the sugar baby business

There aren’t as many male sugar babies out there, but they do exist. Mo, 25, for example, recently posted an ad in a local forum, looking for a sugar mummy. “Looking for a mutually beneficial relationship,” said his ad, accompanied by a picture of his frankly rather impressive abs.

Mo was very forthcoming when we asked what he was looking for in his sugar relationship, which is a “mutual exchange of benefits” – financial assistance with his degree in information systems in exchange for his “companionship and intimacy”.

‘Physical danger’

“They will see fathers – and older men in general – as exploitative, and they will pass that perception down to their children too.”

In the long run, this whole sugar daddy culture could lead to a whole host of societal problems, according to Malaysian Mental Health Association deputy president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj.

“It destroys the institution and image of fatherhood for these young women.

“They will see fathers – and older men in general – as exploitative, and they will pass that perception down to their children too,” he said.
Young people who engage in such relationships might also find themselves “unable to develop normal relationships based on reciprocal love” after their sugar baby years are over.

On top of that, there are physical dangers as well.

Andrew has treated two patients for substance abuse, as their sugar daddy had introduced them to a “hedonistic” lifestyle of drugs and alcohol which they weren’t prepared for.

Another patient was locked up in a condo by her sugar daddy, after she threatened to leave.

sugar

The sugar babies we spoke to charged anywhere between RM1,000 to RM5,000 for the pleasure of their company. -Photo: Azhar Arif/The Star

“Safe sex is another problem. Most sugar daddies would have more than one sugar baby, so the chances of getting a sexuall transmitted disease is higher,” he said.

In South Africa, the sugar daddy-sugar baby problem became so bad, youth movements under the Progressive Youth Alliance banner launched a campaign to protect and educate vulnerable students.

#NoJudging

Though Sulastri admits the main reason most college students become sugar babies – and sex workers – is because they crave a better lifestyle, she nevertheless implores the public not to stigmatise them.

This need for understanding is all the more important now as Sulastri said the majority of sugar babies and sex workers she comes across these days are college-aged.

“Not everyone in college comes from well-off families. There are many from smaller towns whose families spend a lot of their money paying for their education, and they can’t afford to have the great lifestyle their friends have,” she said.

“They won’t even dare to leave the (sex) trade even if they wanted to.”

Of course, many will see that as a terrible excuse, but peer pressure gets to everyone, and Sulastri said being judgemental does not help.

“What we do at SEED is provide safe sex education and support to sex workers, but so many don’t ask for help because they are afraid their families will find out.

“And you’d never know if they were forced or blackmailed into the sex trade. The stigma is so strong, many of them go underground. They won’t even dare to leave the trade even if they wanted to,” she said.

SEED offers job placements for former sex workers. “But we don’t tell them to stop sex work,” said Sulastri. “It’s not our place.”

Talking to a sugar daddy

So, how rich do you have to be to afford a sugar baby? Well, the Malaysian ones listed on SeekingArrangement.com have annual incomes from US$75,000 (RM268,000) to US$1mil (RM3.5mil).

But not all of them are the rich, old men you probably had in mind (shame on you!). Just like sugar babies, sugar daddies are also getting younger these days.

“I appreciate it when the girl is honest about what she wants.”

— Sugar daddy Shaun, 27.

“I am willing to pay my sugar baby up to RM3,000 a month,” said Jon, 25, who currently works in his father’s company. It would take up a large chunk of his salary RM5,000 salary, but he doesn’t mind. “It’s less complicated to have a sugar baby, and besides, even if I had a girlfriend I’d spend a lot of money on her anyway.”

He previously had a sugar baby living in Sabah, and would pay for her flight tickets to Kuala Lumpur, where he lives. “It’s a good arrangement, and I’m the one in control.”

Shaun, 27, likes how the two parties can be upfront about their expectations in a sugar relationship.

“Being a manager, I feel I can afford to splurge on a girl,” he said. “So I appreciate it when the girl is honest about what she wants.

“I feel that Asians don’t feel it’s taboo anymore (to be a sugar baby) so it’s a lot easier to meet like-minded people.”

However, Shaun is not a fan of giving cash, which he feels is too much like prostitution.

“It’s a fine line,” agreed Wade, emphasising that his website does not promote prostitution. “Prostitution, the act of receiving money for sex, is not permitted on our website,” he said.

He doesn’t, however, deny that most people who meet on his site are in it for the sex.

He is quoted on CNN.com as saying “Seeking Arrangement is a dating site, which means most of the men here are eventually hoping to have sex.

“Regardless of whether a man has money or not, when two people are dating, sex will inevitably be a part of the equation.”

About

Literature grad-turned-journalist who loves our R.AGE team karaoke nights a little too much. While her literature background has left her with a slightly twisted sense of humour, it has also given her a passion for writing on social issues.

  • LOVE YOUR PARENTS

    Another Devil claims to be God-Like Figure which is totally not accepted in our Asian or Human Race

  • Paul

    Brandon is literally breeding prostitution. He should be charged with pimping.

  • shax2

    supply and demand, she wanted it so bad ..

  • slae

    Those sugar girls should be feeling guilty of themselves, in the future they could turn out to be someone’s mother…how could they live knowing they have lost their dignity?

  • Mohideen

    Its rather shameful that we are now openly accepting such culture as our own in Malaysia, Prostitution by any name, even a tech one, is still prostitution. The Star Rage that targets the youth and young adults should not be featuring such articles and provide the unnecessary publicity.
    We would expect main stream media like the Star to be more responsible

    • Ian Yee

      Sorry, but sweeping issues under the carpet never makes anything better. Young people today will find out about these things, one way or another. What’s more important is that we discuss objectively about the pros and cons, so they can make more informed decisions.

      • I am alo looking for sugar mummy… where can i find it easily..please help me

  • philip partridge

    not sugar babies, bloody gold diggers

  • Amin

    This is bad. We as community need to do something about this. This is pure sin that need to be forgiven.

  • robin hood

    the world evolved very fast,looks like our societies could not catch up with it so let it be.if u implement hudud law,societies will say extreme so live with it lah.just protect our daughters the best we can not to fall into this pits.

  • SASIKUMAR

    I fully agree with Mohideen. How could a publication such as Star popularize such “TRADE” so openly. The youths of today will get the impression that these acts are just a norm..Star, please be a bit more responsible media by rejecting such articles…

    • Ian Yee

      With respect, we always believe it is better to educate and discuss issues openly. In this case, we made sure to educate them about the dangers of this sugar baby culture, which we dedicated an entire section in the story to discuss. On top of that, we wrote an entire follow-up story on it here — http://rage.com.my/sugar-relationships-turned-sour/

      If we didn’t write about it, most young people would find out about it anyway when they’re surfing the web. Wouldn’t it be better if they found out from us, with a more balanced perspective on the dangers as well?

    • The truth

      well, you definitely found out about this later than the girls who are already in the game before even article was published.

  • sunitha

    That is still not a solid excuse or valid explanation. Be more responsible theStar, you harped more on the financial benefits of having sugar daddies rather than the deadly STDs like HIV!! Editors ‘wake up’

  • remy

    Trully agreed with Sunitha…

  • james

    this is the fundamental failure of education and social responsibilities

  • People are overly-reacting to this issue… This problem has been around for decades. The only difference is, it’s trying to be “acceptable”. The irony is, women with guarded dignity is a small pearl among the seabed nowadays.

    I’m becoming a fan of Ian Yee’s writings. At the most least give her some credit for making an extra mile of an effort to go undercover and also writing a balance article from the perspective of the “sugar babies”, herself, etc.

  • People are overly-reacting to this issue… This problem has been around for decades. The only difference is, it’s trying to be “acceptable”. The irony is, women with guarded dignity is a small pearl among the seabed nowadays.

    I’m becoming a fan of the R.AGE writers’ articles. At the most least give her some credit for making an extra mile of an effort to go undercover and also writing a balance article from the perspective of the “sugar babies”, herself, etc.

  • bleak

    Agree with Sunitha. While there is a story of a relationship turned sour, the article has just popularized it and made those who are not exposed to explore it n b more curious. I bet there will be numerous girls who typed the site address ” just” out of curiosity, and i am not sure how many will try to “just” open an account and how many eventually wanna “just ” try.
    and to add… how many men will curiously “just” type the site, “just” see any response fr any gals and “just” try to initiate a conversation…

  • DK

    The article has emphasized more on how much money can be made than the losing moral value & dangerous disease.

  • Grace

    well, im a sugar baby but im in a platonic relationship. im getting paid for showing up to meet him or accompany him for parties. and he gifts me for being his companion. sugaring doesnt involves sex, that is entirely up to the sugar baby. its like a celebrity getting paid for an appearance. and sugar daddies can act as a mentor bc they have connections. he even helped me secure an interview at a big law firm.

    • Bboy

      Can I get a sugar mummy?

  • mia

    this fucking advertising is the most liars and thiefs

My ‘attempt’ at being a sugar baby

Our journalist tried looking for a sugar daddy online, and it was surprisingly easy.

Wade-ing into the sugar life

Our exclusive interview with the founder of the world’s most infamous sugar daddy website, SeekingArrangement.com.

BTW…

Taking the next step

R.AGE is stopping its weekly print edition, but we’re not saying goodbye just yet.

Read more Like this post0

Writing for a change

In an historic move, Members of Parliament from various parties will come together today to support the war against child sexual crimes.

Read more Like this post0

Coolest BRATs camp ever

Because it’s cold up in Genting, and also because interviewing butlers, scoping out gibbons and checking out the largest hotel laundry plant in South-East Asia is pretty darn cool.

Read more Like this post0

Let’s talk about sex… education

Finally, we’re having an actual conversation about sex ed in schools. The government, NGO’s, parents and teachers pledged their support for better sex education after Hentikan!!

Read more Like this post0

Law and order

The new child sexual crimes bill will be tabled in Parliament next week. Here’s what we already know.

Read more Like this post0

Support systems for child survivors

The seminar discussed some of the support services currently available, and the need for improvement.

Read more Like this post0
Go top