An arrangement where a "sugar daddy" (or, sometimes, a "sugar mommy") promises a "sugar baby" money for engaging in a "romantic" (i.e., sexual) relationship. Promising such a relationship is often used to scam people in fraud schemes like advanced fee fraud, money laundering, smurfing, and outright theft from the "sugar baby". In nearly all cases a sugar relationship is a scam and has no value to the sugar-baby.
The typical premise of a "sugar" relationship is that a sugar-daddy or sugar-momma pays a sugar-baby in exchange for companionship, traditionally sexual in nature. A sugar relationship is often used as a setup for more ordinary fraud by enticing the sugar-baby as the victim.
Sugar relationships are frequently used to steal from sugar-babies rather than elicit sexual favors. The scammer suggests to the sugar-baby that he likes her and would like to send her something, this elicits access to the babys accounts or gets her to act as a money mule by cashing fraudulent checks, buying goods with stolen financial information, or other fraud. The sugar-baby thinks she is getting something for doing little more than flirting with someone or sending pictures, in reality she is being victimized and stolen from or being used to launder stolen money. The general trend seems to be that unless you're doing something sexual in nature, then you're being set up for fraud and not a sugar relationship.
Something a sugar-baby should consider is that a real sugar-daddy should be rich enough to just pay her for services. Any sugar-daddy asking for transfer fees, refunds, "buy me gift cards", etc. is either a scammer or too poor to support a sugar-baby. If he can't cover the 2% credit card fees can he really afford your continuing services?
Both scammers and genuine sugar-daddies will use legal threats and general threats to get what they want and maintain control. Sugar babies should consider if they really want a relationship, romantic or business, with someone who threatens them. Legal threats are also meaningless as the sugar-daddy or the scammer is committing larger crimes than what the sugar-baby is being convinced to do.
What distinguishes a sugar relationship from prostitution is that it is often structured such that:
- the relationship is long term
- the relationship may be exclusive
- the sugar-daddy doesn't just pay money, he pays rent, credit card bills, utilities, etc. and often pays them directly
This establishes a stronger level of control over the sugar-baby. The sugar-baby cannot refuse her end of the bargain without risking giving up necessities. This traditional sugar relationship carries similar risks and rewards to prostitution.
In nearly all cases a sugar relationship is a scam and has no value to the sugar-baby.