A Sugar Baby Shares The Biggest Misconceptions Of Sex Work & Who Should & Shouldn't Do It
"I really don't want people to think that you're just going on dates with hot guys and making money."
Sugar babying may be a popular career these days but it isn't for everyone.
The dating landscape in big metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, New York and Toronto can feel pretty bleak so why not get paid for your time?
Anyone with a Seeking Arrangments account or with a friend in the industry can get started sugar babying but unlike a part-time job at Starbucks, you're not going to have the same safety net as other employees.
Narcity chatted with Palmar Kelly a 27-year-old actor and writer in the United States who's documenting her life as a sugar baby and stripper on TikTok showing the shiny and seedy parts of her job, from cruise vacations to getting stiffed money from a client.
Kelly may stay in luxury hotels sipping champagne and travelling the world but she also has to date middle-aged men and attend to their needs emotionally and physically.
But that's not to say she doesn't like her job, she just views sex work as work with highs and lows like anyone else.
Sex work isn't for everyone, like any other job it takes a specific skill set and type of person to thrive while doing it.
What does a sugar baby do and how much money can they make?
A sugar baby is typically a younger person who offers a relationship experience to an older and wealthier person in exchange for money and luxury experiences.
Kelly told Narcity that her sugar baby clients are usually middle-aged men struggling in their relationships.
"Picture your most average 40-year-old white guy in a bad marriage. Those are my customers," says Kelly.
When it comes to what goes down in a sugar-baby relationship Kelly says in her eight years of experience she's never met a sugar daddy that didn't want a physical relationship.
"I do not think there is a lot of guys that sign up that want to just not have sex with you if they are meeting you in person," says Kelly.
What are the biggest misconceptions of being a sugar baby?
Some people dream of being an actor but serve to pay the bills, and others sell their time.
People often say that sex work is the oldest industry, and when it comes to misconceptions and the public's view of sugar babying, Kelly says the most frustrating part is that people don't see her work as legitimate.
"It's frustrating that society doesn't see it as a job. I mean, it's so f*cked that no matter what, if a woman is being sexual in any kind of way, it's always going to be a bad thing, even if she's doing it to make money and empower herself."
Kelly got her degree in acting, and she says she's making more money than most young women out of college.
"I have an acting degree. I know so many girls right now with acting degrees that are working at a restaurant or working at Starbucks," she says.
"That's great if you want that to be your job, but why can't you be as happy for me that I chose this job? [...] Because, like, no offence [but] working at Starbucks sounds miserable to me."
What type of person shouldn’t be a sugar baby?
Kelly recommends that people don't start this type of job too young.
"You're giving yourself to somebody else at such a young age. I think it can be hard when you don't know yourself yet," says Kelly. "I really don't want people to think that you're just going on dates with hot guys and making money."
Sugar babying isn't just going on fancy dinner dates for cash and Kelly says you need to know how to set boundaries.
"I think there are parts of it that are so glamorized in society, you just go out for dinner, and make $1,000. So many people don't talk about the actual conversations that you have to have with these men and like the uncomfortability of it sometimes, and you know, how to stick up for yourself."
Along with setting boundaries your relationship with sex and demeanor is also important in being a sugar baby.
Kelly says that her outgoing personality and ability to make people feel comfortable is an asset to her job along with her relationship with sex.
"To me sex was never something that I shouldn't do with a lot of people," says Kelly. "I think if sex is something that is super sacred to you, maybe that's not the best thing to do."
"You just have to think about parts of your personality and what you think about your body and your time."
In addition to sharing yourself physically and emotionally, Kelly says you also have to deal with societal stigma.
"It's very frowned upon and very stigmatized, so not being able to tell your family or having to lie or having to fake things that can be really confusing and hard."
Kelly says the most important people in her life like her mom, sister and stepdad know what she does for a living but that she and her dad have a "don't ask, don't tell kind of thing."
"My dad's not dumb, I'm sure he has some idea but we've never really talked about it."
Sharing your work life and your family may be something you naturally take for granted due to societal stigma, not all sex workers have the same luxury.
Your finances aren't guaranteed
At a nine-to-five corporate job, you probably get paid a set amount twice a month like clockwork.
If something was ever wrong with your paycheck you'd be able to take it up with HR and hopefully get it cleared up ASAP.
Unfortunately, sex work doesn't come with the same stability and you can't count on clients a steady income according to Kelly.
"It can be very inconsistent and because you don't have an HR [department] and you don't have unemployment. If one of your clients stops talking to you one day you're screwed," says Kelly.
Kelly is working hard to show young women the ups and downs of her unfiltered life as a sex worker and even working on creating a TV show on the topic so before you make a decision on whether the lifestyle is for you, you may want to check out her page.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.