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Sugar Daddies and Abba Father

Aug 15 2011
An echo of the sugar daddy/sugar baby phenomenon may be coming to a church near you.

It's no secret that more and more college students are graduating with crushing student loan debt. And with a job market that is less than favorable to the 20-something job seeker, some college students and graduates are looking for innovative ways to tackle the high cost of education and subsequent debt.

Enter the sugar daddy.

Reporter Amanda Fairbanks recently chronicled the lives of young women who seek relationships with older, wealthy men in exchange for large sums of money. "Sugar babies" are either drowning in college debt or facing the dire prospect in the near future. So they have taken action in the form of selling a most precious commodity—themselves. A handful of websites are devoted to securing "sugar daddy/sugar baby" relationships. They promise companionship for the men and financial gain for the women, all coordinated by a man from cyberspace. Before we start to think of these as friendly arrangements for old, rich men needing someone to talk to, as Fairbanks suggests, there isn't always a whole lot of talking going on in these relationships. While not all these young women are selling their bodies to anyone who offers, many are exchanging sex to a select few who pay a hefty price.

It used to be that women in need of financial security would simply marry up. We called them gold diggers. These ladies would prowl around looking for an unassuming rich man to buy them fine jewelry and launch them into society (think Breakfast at Tiffany's). But sugar babies don't seem to be after marriage. And as the saying "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" goes, the sugar daddies aren't rushing to the altar either, though the proverbial milk isn't exactly free. In many ways, this is simply an exchange of goods, but with far greater consequences.

There are a variety of opinions about whether these relationships do long-term damage to the women involved; some are questioning the legality of it all. But the phrase "sex sells" couldn't be truer when you have a loan bill the size of your rent check due in seven days. For these women it's a necessary trade.

It's easy to condemn such practices and label sugar babies as high-priced prostitutes. But while these arrangements are not the norm for most women, Christian women can just as easily fall prey to the same tactics. Trading benefits for "pay" might look different in our more polished church circles, but many Christian women in relationships regularly face the temptation to trade commodities for physical, and even emotional, pay.

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