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Number of Gee-Gees on Seeking Arrangement drops from 703 in 2018 to 414 in 2019, report finds

The number of sugar babies at the University of Ottawa dropped by almost 300 students from 2018 to 2019, according to the popular sugar dating website Seeking Arrangement. 

Sugar dating has gained significant traction in pop culture but has also been turned to by some young adults for financial means. Simply put, sugar dating is a financial arrangement usually between an older, wealthy “sugar parent” and a younger “sugar baby”. Sugar babies provide their time and companionship in exchange for hard cash, gifts, experiences, or all of the above.

Seeking Arrangement recently released its annual report on sugar dating at Canadian universities. In 2018, the U of O had 703 student members — but that number dropped to 414 in 2019.

Why the significant decrease? One speculation comes from a sugar baby herself.

“It’s getting more and more expensive to have a sugar baby, I won’t lie,” said Valentine (pseudonym), a first-year communication and sociology student who asked that her real name not be used.

Valentine said that it’s not just the expensive dates that the sugar parents have to pay for, but also regular gifts, possible trips, and bills, which can overwhelm some sugar parents.

“I’ve had a couple of like my regulars like saying they had to stop because they were running low on money and they were needing to put money towards their family,” she said.

In the same Seeking Arrangement report, the University of Toronto continues to hold its first-place spot for the second year in a row with 1,158 sugar babies as of 2019. Western University places second with 777 members and Ryerson University ranks closely in third with 729 members. 

Overall, Seeking Arrangement reports that the number of university students seeking sugar daddies or sugar mommas rose by 44 per cent from the previous year

Experts say that the rise of sugar dating may be linked in some ways to increased costs of living.

In Ontario, many students are still feeling the sting from the cuts to OSAP introduced last year by the provincial government, which included cutting free tuition for low-income students and eliminating a six-month grace period for loan repayments.

National costs of living are also increasing, making home-hunting stressful for students who are living on their own for the first time. Near the end of January, Ottawa city council declared a housing and homeless emergency. The Ottawa Citizen reports that resale prices of homes have grown by 19 percent against lower supply quantities.

Sugar dating is a more flexible means of gaining income for many. Sugar babies often set their own rates and schedules, while opting to operate either through an agency or independently, said Valentine.  

Although the number of students seeking sugar parents continues to grow, according to Seeking Arrangement, there are unspoken dangers of arrangements. 

Valentine advises people interested in sugar dating to not to use their real information when making profiles and, depending on the website, to blur their pictures. 

“When you’re building up your profile just be honest and just put out what you want,” said Valentine. “A lot of people will get the wrong idea if you’re not really specific about what you want, which can be dangerous.” 

She also said it’s important to establish boundaries and only do what makes you comfortable. 

“You don’t have to (do something) just because they’re paying, it doesn’t mean you have to do what they want you to do.”

Valentine said that she’s extremely hesitant to tell her friends about her sugar baby life.

“Some of them are not as open understanding as I would like them to be which sucks, but there’s not really much I can do about it, I just have to trust that they’ll support me when I am ready to tell them.” 

“Every single relationship is so different. Every single partnership is really different,” said Valentine. “You cannot assume that it’s just for sex, because everyone has different wants and needs.

Editor’s Note (Feb. 18, 2:15 p.m.): This article has been updated to clarify that Valentine is a pseudonym used to protect a source’s identity.