• Mon, Aug 1 2011

More College Students Are Turning To Sex Work To Pay Tuition: Would You?

The Huffington Post has an interesting piece up today that says that more college-aged women and women in their twenties are turning to sugar daddy relationships to pay off school loans. According to the article, the partners in such arrangements often find each other online:

Saddled with piles of student debt and a job-scarce, lackluster economy, current college students and recent graduates are selling themselves to pursue a diploma or pay down their loans. An increasing number, according to the the owners of websites that broker such hook-ups, have taken to the web in search of online suitors or wealthy benefactors who, in exchange for sex, companionship, or both, might help with the bills.

Writer Amanda M. Fairbanks also reports that the number of female college students on sites like these — girls who call themselves sugar babies — has gone up in recent years:

…over the past five years, [Brandon Wade, the founder of a sugar daddy website] says he’s seen a 350 percent increase in college sugar baby membership — from 38,303 college sugar babies in 2007 to 179,906 college sugar babies by July of this year.

Some of the sugar babies interviewed for the article said they felt bad about the work, while others felt quite good. Almost universally, they felt that what they were doing was not prostitution.

Jennifer doesn’t label what she’s doing as prostitution. “I’m not a whore. Whores are paid by the hour, can have a high volume of clients in a given day, and it’s based on money, not on who the individual actually is. There’s no feeling involved and the entire interaction revolves around a sexual act,” says Jennifer, who wears a $300 strapless dress purchased with money from her most recent conquest. The rest of the money, she says, went towards paying down her student loans.

I suppose that everyone is allowed to call their job whatever they want to call it, and certainly the question of what is and what is not prostitution is more than I have room for in one blog post (although big props to the lawyer quoted in the article who said that “One could even consider certain marriages where there are unequal financial resources to not be overly dissimilar” to prostitution). But I can’t say that I support anyone, sex worker or not, passing judgment on what other people do to earn money, and it sounds like that’s what this Jennifer character did.

Anyway, that said, would you give sex work a try to pay off your loans (or have you already)? Or, for that matter, to pay off anything, or even just for fun?

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  • Eileen

    Okay, I don’t have any student debt and was able to make spending money in college by babysitting and tutoring, so I might not be the best person to ask, but…maybe. I can’t imagine actually soliciting a rich lover on the internet or turning to actual, in-person prostitution, but if I had been seriously broke and staring down loans without anyone who could help out, I probably would have looked into phone sex lines. Preferably as a last resort, but, you know. I can’t say “absolutely not.”

  • Alanna

    I wish I could say yes, because it sounds like a good deal on the surface but I would want to know that all the hard work, studying, loans, everything was taken on by me alone and that I finished this accomplishment by myself. As a last resort, maybe. I would try to find other options.

  • Magda

    I have seriously considered being a phone sex operator. And have been told several times that I have the voice for it.

    As for the whole sugar daddy/sugar baby relationship… If it happened naturally, like, I met a slightly older, well off gentleman in a bar and we happened to hit it off and he offered to “take care of me” I might consider. But honestly, I think I’m much to prideful to take money from someone like that. I am independent to the point of it being crippling at times. And while I get the argument that it is an exchange, like he enjoys your company, you enjoy his wallet, much like many relationships, it just wouldnt feel right to me. Like unless I was his like live-in. Like not only did I “keep him company” but I like cleaned the house and did the laundry or something. I dont know…

    But pursuing someone off the internet. No. I wouldnt do that. Its too… Cold? Indifferent? Unnatural? It makes me think slightly of like mail-order brides.

  • Jamie Peck

    Sex work should not be entered into lightly (and yes, being a sugar baby counts as sex work). It’s not like getting a job at Starbucks for extra cash. It will leave lasting emotional scars if you don’t have the right temperament for it, and cutesy trend pieces about it enrage me. Maybe I will write about post about that. Hmm…

    • Eileen

      The Huffington Post tends to be crap on issues like this, but for what it’s worth, I don’t think this piece is being received as “sex work should be entered into lightly” – more like “look how desperate the cost of college is making young women.” Sex work isn’t a good idea if you don’t have the right temperament for it: true. But genuinely desperate women have been turning to it for a long time, and it’s worth noting that these days “genuinely desperate women” includes people supposedly of the educated middle class.