Statistics find U of O to have fastest growth of users on SeekingArrangement.com
Spencer Van Dyk | Fulcrum Staff
Illustration by Megan McArdle
RECENT STATISTICS RELEASED by SeekingArrangement.com indicate the University of Ottawa has the fastest growing number of “sugar babies” of all Canadian universities.
The Las Vegas-based website acts as a platform for young men or women (sugar babies) to seek a relationship with older and wealthier men or women (sugar daddies and mommies) in which the sugar baby will receive financial benefits from his or her partner.
The 2012 figures are based on the number of users registered on the site using their university email address and show a 58-per-cent increase in registration since 2011. According to the statistics, overall student enrolment on the website jumped by almost 50 per cent.
Jennifer Gwynn, public relations manager for the site, explained what a sugar baby is.
“A sugar baby joins our site because they are looking for a certain type of relationship,” she said. “They are seeking a relationship with a generous, successful man, and most of them have financial needs. A lot of our story right now is college students who are joining, because they want some assistance with school.”
Gwynn also said the site functions just as any other dating website would, but with an added information field for budget. After initial meeting and communication through the site, users are able to foster a relationship on their own terms, including what they are financially expecting and willing to offer. Although the site’s largest demographic is that of younger women and older men, Gwynn said the site does include male sugar babies seeking older sugar mommies as well as same-sex sugar relationships.
Schools in Ontario have experienced the most growth in registration. Ryerson University, the University of Ottawa, and the University of Toronto place first, second, and third on the list, respectively.
“Ottawa is obviously one of the biggest cities in Canada, and that’s where the sugar daddies are,” Gwynn explained. “They’re in the metropolitan areas working in the cities, so that might have something to do with it.”
According to Gwynn, the female-to-male ratio on the site is about 12 women to every one man, and the growing registration rate for the site is likely due to increases in tuition and living costs, as well as a diminishing job market after graduation.
Student opinions on the website are mixed.
“I honestly think it sounds a bit strange,” said Jessica Snyder, a fourth-year psychology student at the U of O. “It seems like a classier version of an escort service, or prostitution. But at the same time, if these two people are interested in each other and can satisfy each other emotionally, physically, sexually, and financially, then I guess I don’t really have a problem with it.”
Second-year conflict studies and human rights student Elvanee Veeramalay said it might be an easy solution for a student who is struggling financially to fall back on an older person willing to pay for his or her expenses, but it certainly comes off as weird.
“You started with the intention not of starting something, but of needing your bills to be paid,” she said. “Is that healthy? No, it does not come across as a healthy relationship.”
Gwynn said the relationships developed on the site are not Anna Nicole Smith to J. Howard Marshall level arrangements, and that the sugar daddies and mommies registered on the site are not necessarily what one would imagine.
“The stereotypical sugar daddy that you have in your head is not who we have on our site,” she said. “We definitely have the aging millionaires and the older men, but the average age is actually a lot younger for sugar daddies.”
According to Gwynn, the age range for sugar daddies is around 35 to 45.
“There are a lot of entrepreneurs and businessmen in their 30s and 40s that are looking for this type of relationship, and even some in their late 20s,” she said. “It’s not one size fits all. Every relationship is different.”