She points out that higher-end escorts tend to charge at least $2,000 for overnight stays. In her experience, that amount is at the upper end of the monthly allowances sugar daddies offer -- and for escorts, those overnight stays don't require the devotion, time, and attention that often accompany a sugar arrangement. So she switched to more traditional full-service sex work. "It was like a light bulb went off when I saw the rates my friends were charging," she says. "I was taking $300-$600 for overnight (sugar) stays! All just so I could call myself something other than a whore and have an illusion of safety. I felt so foolish."
Unfortunately, not long after Fancy made that switch, Congress put through the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which have effectively criminalized the online spaces sex workers have long used to vet potential clients and ensure their own safety.
Corners of the internet like Craiglist's erotic services listings and Backpage have been demonized as online portals to sexual exploitation, yet studies show that such outlets have not only helped law enforcement identify human trafficking victims, but have also provided sex workers an alternative to soliciting on the streets (which is estimated to carry a risk of homicide 13 times higher than that posed to the general population).
"I have returned to sugar dating part-time, because the loss of ad sites also filled the strip clubs, so there's no money anywhere, currently," says Fancy. "Escorts are definitely using the sugar sites post-FOSTA, but not very successfully."
Reflecting on the line-blurring nature of sugar dating, she adds: "If it wasn't a branch of sex work, it wouldn't be that weird of a job ... I think the glamorization of it has contributed to the sense it's exotic, that it has to be profoundly spiritually rewarding. But at the end of the day, I don't feel any differently about it than I would any other job I've had. Under capitalism, everyone's selling their labor and their bodies. I don't feel like sex work is different than that."
Saundra Sorenson is on Twitter. Judging by the number of SeekingArrangement press releases she received to her work account when she was a small-town newspaper reporter, she can attest to the fact that sugar dating sites are great at identifying their target market.
You know what's better than Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies? Sugar Bear's Golden Crisp cereal.
Support Cracked's journalism with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.
For more, check out 5 Things I Endured As A Legal Brothel Worker and Here's An Inside Look At The Therapists Who F#ck Clients.
Follow us on Facebook. It's free.