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About one-third of those users are post-secondary students, which Germany said is a reflection of the financial difficulty facing those attending colleges and universities.“It’s really just like any other dating site.
Fahim Rahman, president of the University of Alberta’s Students’ Union, said it’s troubling that so many students are concerned enough about covering their tuition, books and other expenses that they have to find wealthy benefactors willing to pay for their schooling, usually with the expectation of sexual relationships.“I’m not surprised more students are signing up,” he said.“The really interesting thing is how the website is actively recruiting students from post-secondary schools, knowing many will unlikely be able to afford all the costs.”According to Statistics Canada, the average tuition fees for an undergraduate student in Alberta were ,730 in 2015.
Raham said while it’s understandable some students consider such transactions as a potential solution to financial struggles, it could come with unintended consequences.“I’m concerned about power dynamics in relationships like this,” he said.“When you’re a student, you’re definitely more vulnerable and you’re getting involved with someone who might be a bit more established in their life and career, and (the student) might be negatively impacted.”Alexis German, a spokeswoman for Seeking Arrangement, noted the average monthly “allowance” agreed upon by clients (gleaned via user surveys) is about ,700, not including gifts or other boons.“That number varies.
Some sugar babies are getting much larger allowances than that,” she said.“It all just depends on what’s negotiated.”German said the dating service, which has 631,678 registered users in Canada (of which 412,528 are female “sugar babies”), has been successful because it allows users to transparently and explicitly outline their expectations in advance, minimizing unexpected assumptions about the relationship in the future.
A number of women don’t show their faces on their public profiles, with some suggesting they want to keep their identity concealed so it doesn’t potentially harm their future employment prospects.
Rebecca Sullivan is the director of the women’s studies program at the U of C, and noted that however such arrangements are painted, in almost every case it ultimately boils down to cash for sex, which creates not only a stigma for the women involved, but may also limit their future prospects.“This is sex work.