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Candice Kashani graduated from law school debt-free this spring, thanks to a modern twist on an age-old arrangement. Now, almost three years and several sugar daddies later, Kashani is set to graduate from Villanova University free and clear, while some of her peers are burdened with six-digit debts. As the cost of tuition and rent rises, so does the apparent popularity of such sites among students. But are they really providing financial relief, or ing women up for something more exploitative and dangerous than debt?
Lynn Comella, an associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at University of Nevada Las Vegas, said that it is not unusual for students to turn to sex work such as stripping, prostitution or webcam work to pay for school.
But the sugar daddy sites are relatively new, and she says not entirely upfront about what they are really about.
These arrangements are more vague than prostitution- there is an expectation of material benefit but it is not always specified and sex is not guaranteed. But experts say at the very least the internet has made these transactions far easier to arrange and negotiate.
Kashani says she sifted through many potential suitors before finding one she clicked with. She says she considers her sugar daddy one of her best friends and that they care deeply for each other. But unlike most relationships, she is paid a sizeable monthly allowance that helps her pay for school. One graduate student at Columbia University in New York had a scholarship that covered almost all of her tuition, but not her living expenses.
She spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the potential impact on her job prospects. She tried to make do — sharing a room with a classmate and working a minimum wage job, plus any freelance work she could get. But still she struggled to pay her rent and utilities, and her grades suffered.
So she found herself surfing Craigslist and Back. Now she has two sugar daddies, one she sees occasionally and another who is more like a conventional boyfriend, except that he pays her a monthly allowance and helps rent her an apartment closer to him.
And while it sees thousands of ups on any given day, the company says enrollment jumps during August and January when tuition is typically due, sometimes to more than double its normal levels. Women who have used the site report experiences that run the gamut — from respectful chaste dates all the way to aggressive solicitation online, even though it is forbidden on the site.
Sex is not guaranteed although most users say it is implied. The company says a few arrangements have even led to marriage, although it is rare. Some of the women say they feel respected and cared for, but remain aware that it is an arrangement, not traditional romantic love. Comella warns that unlike sex workers, many women doing this put their true identities online, and that could put them at risk.
While Seeking Arrangement runs background checks, there have been reports of violence against both men and women stemming from sugar daddy websites.
Kristen Houser of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center says that violence is common any time money is exchanged for sex. Wade says there are risks inherent in any dating website. He should know; he runs several, including one that allows users to bid on dates and another focused on open relationships. He said he created SeekingArrangement.
An MIT graduate, he had difficulty meeting women and realized a site such as this would highlight what set him apart — money. With a decision on whether to lower the overtime threshold for farm workers due to be revisited in late fall, The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize a of local leaders and business and Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?
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