Like most things, I never really began escorting; it just fell in my lap. From the moment I began stripping and meeting other womxn who did as well (among various other types of sex work), my worldview expanded at breakneck speed. I hung around porn actresses, webcam models, nude figure models, and womxn who did sugaring--learning about all these trades and their pitfalls and their benefits. I found out about SeekingArrangements.com (known in the industry as SA) circa 2012. This website facilitates people who are interested in arrangements--specific types of dates and interactions where each party agrees upon the nature and quality of date and rate of compensation. This can run the gamut of being a date in exchange for all expenses paid travel, accommodation, meals and activities (such as skiing, spa days, etc). It could be a common fantasy known as the "girlfriend experience," which is more tailored to casual and romantic treatment--and the emotional labor incurred. That's essentially what escorting/sugaring is: pinpointing a client's specific fantasy/interest and executing it to the T.
I decided to fully commit myself to sugaring because of the financial benefits. I began when I was an undergraduate as a way to offset my expenses, and an option to working around my ridiculous schedule at Drexel University. It also was a bit of escapism on my part. I knew the world was bigger and more interesting than anything happening on campus and I figured, if these same men are going to hit on me and being obnoxious at any bar or club I go to, might as well reap some sort of reward off it. Fuck paying for a bar tab, pay ME for my emotional and physical labor interacting with you. I don't think there's any shame in admitting that my attention and affection can be bought--that goes triple for white men. I never really had an issue interacting with any of my clients, regardless of race or socioeconomic status but I know that at one point I was like wow, I really do just get paid to be cute and fuck older men. The only mental prep that really came to me was about the infidelities--the overwhelming majority of my clients were married and it made me upset to consider that I was helping these men hide something from their wives but then again, I realized it was not my problem--I didn't beg any of them to contact me and I didn't force them to be apart of the arrangements. It's also important to note that arrangements conducted with a sugar baby are NOT affairs. While legitimate romantic and emotional responses can develop from an arrangement, it's unlikely. The fondness a sugar baby has for their sugar daddy/mama is solely based on the ease of conducting their business with the sugar daddy/mama, how generous they are, and whether or not the arrangement feels worth the effort exuded by the sugar baby--we are not trying to ruin anyone's marriage; we're in it for the dividends, trust and believe. Once I was confident and trusted this fact, sugaring became a lot easier.
Clientele ranges but you have more control over who you see as an escort/sugar baby, because it's as much about your interests and who you feel you can best serve (and how or how often) as it is about getting your duckets. Safety is also a huge factor. As a general rule of thumb, I always alert a fellow friend or sexworker to where and when my dates are happening and how long they're expected to last and how to contact me to check in and make sure I'm ok--especially meetings for the first time. With most business being conducted online, there is both a benefit and huge detriment to corresponding with potential clients with a paper trail. I generally will schedule to meet someone through SA and then get a contact number for them (though they always receive me GoogleVoice number in return; you NEVER give someone your real number if you can help it. Makes it that much easier to block or ignore them later on if need be). I try not to discuss the explicit terms on SA. Other than saying we're agreeing on "x-payment for my time" or "my companionship", that's the extent because any discussion of exchanging money for sex is illegal and having written statements can obviously lead to some complications if you're not careful. I also never accept emails regarding sugaring or escort work to my modeling email address--any sent have been rejected. Its impossible to prevent but you have to have these boundaries between your types of professions; it also cuts down on the amount of time wasters--if you cant follow my directions, you're a liability waiting to happen and I don't have time to entertain your stupidity.
I've taken sugar daddies to a number of high end restaurants around Philadelphia, New York City and New Jersey. Consider the context. These men have money and are essentially asking my permission to spend it on me if I like them enough to want to endure their company. They need to make a big impression if they'll expect to see me again so I never feel bad for asking to link somewhere like Del Frisco's, Talulah's Garden, Parc, the Saloon, etc. for dinner in Philly (which is always my starting point, even if the client doesn’t live in the city—you should never travel more than a half a distance to meet them for the first time unless they are paying for your travel). If it's merely a lunch time meeting, somewhere like Estia, the Continental, or Lolita—basically, places that are casual but have an air of discretion. You don’t want to go somewhere that won’t allow a conversation to be overheard or too difficult to conduct.
I know my sugar daddies/mamas (because womxn in power also enjoy the convenience of discreet companions who can appreciate their busy schedules too!!) enjoy my company because I’m a very nurturing sugar baby. I’m considerate and respectful, I understand their desires even when they aren’t strong at communicating. I listen to them and learn how they expect me to act around them. Because of my educational background and wealth of knowledge, I also am able to hold more serious conversations than a lot of younger escorts so I appeal too to a different variety of people across a multitude of age groups.
I think society considers sugar dating taboo simply because those in the most positions of power (read: men), do not want to admit that women are powerful. They do not want sex weaponized against them. They do not want to pay—and well, at that—for interactions they feel entitled to. Sex workers are shutting that down left and right and it’s frustrating. So instead of making the sex industry a legitimized, legalized and therefore regulated industry, politicians scheme on ways to further marginalize us to feel like they still have control over lives of individuals they could never otherwise.
It’s not hard to maintain legitimate romantic partners while escorting. I’ve had plenty of partners be extremely supportive and not fetishize the work I do but because my schedule can be unpredictable because of it all, I know that this lifestyle requires complete transparency and communication. But I’m also non-monogamous so it’s not as much of a difficulty to do that for me and my current primary partner.
The biggest misconception people have about escorting/sugaring is that it’s morally wrong to get paid money to date people. Think about the shittiest boyfriends/girlfriends/fiancés/spouses/etc that you’ve had in life. Maybe you wouldn’t be together to this day regardless but think about how much better your relationship would have been had you had a financial element where they didn’t mind paying you directly for your time spent with them. It wouldn’t make it better but it would’ve helped. Then too, the idea that there should be a stigma placed on people who do engage in paying sex workers, specifically sugar babies/escorts for their time—that something is wrong with you because you “have to pay for it.” You knew you wanted some Yeezy’s and you bought them. You knew you wanted a new Michael Kors bag and you bought that. There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want and paying for it in literally any other context so why do we try to bring morality and shame into sex—when everyone wants to have it and it’s not as accessible to some in any other way without sex workers?
Sex work isn’t a career choice for everyone, but it would be a better choice to make for some if we spent more time aiding workers than furthering the divide to silence, harm and underpay them.