Sugar Dating: From History to Now

If you’ve only experienced traditional relationships, the idea of sugar dating might be completely new. However, sugar dating is a concept that’s been around for decades and can be used to describe a variety of styles and set-ups.

Put simply, sugar dating describes a relationship between an older, more affluent individual who is willing to provide financial benefits to a younger, less wealthy partner. The exact nature of the relationship can vary, but the financial aspect is an integral part of any sugar partnership.

To find out more about how the term sugar dating was first coined and how sugar relationships function today, keep reading!

Origins of the Term

The most basic origins of the phrase date back to the 16th century when courtesans would refer to older male clients as “daddies”. Three centuries later, the word “sugar” was bandied around as slang for money and luxury, but it would take years for the two words to be joined together.

In 1908, 51-year-old Adolph Spreckels married Alma de Bretteville, who was aged just 27. Spreckels was the heir to the vast Spreckels fortune, a sugar manufacturing company that dominated the US West Coast sugar market. As a nod to the nature of his business and their age difference, Alma called Adolph her “sugar daddy” – and this is believed to be the real start of the term.

For many years sugar daddy was just a sweet endearment between the Spreckels, but in the 1920s, it fell into common usage. Initially, it was a phrase used to describe a relationship between an older, wealthy man and a younger woman, but over the decades its use broadened.

We now have sugar daddies, sugar mamas, and sugar babies, all of which are part of the sugar dating umbrella.

Types of Sugar Dating

Sugar dating has moved a very long way from its origins which were strictly heterosexual. The term is now used to describe a variety of different types of relationships which may be gay, lesbian or straight. It’s still more common for a man to be the older partner in the relationship, but there are sugar mamas out there too!

Whether it’s a straight sugar daddy or lesbian sugar mama the person is looking for, online platforms can represent several loose groups of relationships that exist:

●   Compensated dating – gifts or money are given in return for attending an event, or enjoying an activity together.

●   Compensated companionship – similar to compensated dating, except the younger individual is more entwined in their sugar daddy’s (or lesbian sugar mama’s) life. Typically there is no intimate component.

●   Sugar dating – takes compensated companionship and adds a sexual element; this is the most common form of a sugar relationship.

●   Sugar friendships – the two individuals have a friendship, providing mutual benefits to each other in the long term.

●   Sugar friendships with benefits – an unstructured physical component is added to sugar friendships, without ever meeting the criteria for dating or a relationship

Roles of Online Dating Platforms

Dating platforms are ideal because you can be honest about the type of sugar relationship you’re seeking, with no fear of embarrassment. You can be honest about wanting gifts and money, as well as disclosing the level of commitment you prefer. There are dedicated sugar dating platforms which make it easier to hook up with others who appreciate the same type of relationship.

Sugar relationships are still considered niche, and they’re not easy to find in everyday life. It therefore requires a dedicated dating platform to bring together those who want to be the sugar daddy, and those who are seeking to be a sugar baby. And they are exceptionally useful for non-straight persons to find their potential lesbian sugar mamas.

Pros and Cons of Sugar Relationship

Like any other kind of relationship, a sugar set-up won’t suit everyone. And even if you are looking for a sugar relationship, there will be pros and cons that you’ll need to consider.


●   You won’t need to worry about money

●       You’ll get great gifts!

●   Your sugar daddy or mama will give you whatever you need

●   You can spend more time doing the things you enjoy

●   No worries about trying to match your partner financially

●   Your sugar daddy will have lots of life experience, making them an interesting person

●   It feels great to be valued!


●   Others will judge you for being in a sugar relationship

●   Not all sugar relationships are true partnerships

●   It may be a short-term relationship and can be difficult when it ends

●   Sugar daddies and mamas may not have much free time

An Alternative Approach

There are many types of non-traditional relationships, and sugar dating is just one example. Although the term has only been around officially for a century, the idea of sugar relationships can be seen dating back much further in many cultures around the world.

Sugar relationships can be mutually beneficial, fulfilling needs that can’t easily be met in other ways. The key to succeeding in these kinds of relationships is being clear from the start about your needs and expectations, and checking in regularly to make sure nothing has changed. As long as both parties are compatible, there’s no reason why a sugar relationship cannot last just like any other!

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