A Sugar Baby Shares The Perks & Harsh Realities Of Sex Work & Here's Why It's Not For Everyone

"I wish you guys could live in the sugar baby world for one f*cking minute."

Palmar Kelly sipping a drink.

Palmar Kelly sipping a drink.

What does being a sugar baby actually mean these days?

Countless creators on TikTok have begun pedalling the lifestyle of a sugar baby as a glamourous life hack to get their bills paid by just going on dinner dates and dating old men, but that isn't everything in the job description.

Sometimes the guy doesn't look like Richard Gere in Pretty Women, and instead of going to a luxury hotel for a night with a handsome man, it's a guy coming over to your house, according to Palmar Kelly.

Kelly is a 27-year-old writer and actor who shares her average life as a sugar baby and stripper on TikTok.

"They're not Christian Greys. It's not Pretty Woman. It's not every movie that you've ever seen on TV where some hot guy sweeps you off your feet," she told Narcity.

On the other end, she says not all sugar babies are drug addicts with nowhere to go in life.

"I honestly think that the hard truth is that sex workers are everywhere. We're your normal everyday average people."

I spoke with Kelly over the phone as she sat in a busy Starbucks in Florida, and her warm demeanour and quick wit are hard to miss.

She describes herself as someone who gets along with everyone, and according to her human design chart (or a blueprint of a person's energy configuration), she says she was basically meant to do sex work.

"Honestly, this sounds really woo woo and stupid but I think I have a very good intuition, and I think that is what makes me very good at this job," she shared.

Kelly explained that being a sugar baby is a lot like any other customer service job, except the stakes are higher, the perks are better, the downsides are steeper, and there's a lot more money to be made.

If you've ever wondered what the life of an average sugar baby is like or if the profession is right for you, keep reading.

What exactly does a sugar baby do?


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A sugar baby is typically a younger person looking for a financially supportive relationship.

Dictionary.com defines the term as "a younger person who provides romantic companionship or sexual intimacy to a wealthy older person in return for gifts or financial support."

If you've ever wondered what actually goes down in a sugar baby relationship, Kelly says in her eight years of experience, she's never met a daddy who didn't want a hookup out of the relationship.

How much can you make as a sugar baby?


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Kelly says being a sugar baby is pretty much like running your own business, so everyone is going to have their own set of prices, but she operates on a sliding scale depending on the area she's working in and her relationship with the client.

For example, she just went on an all-expenses paid vacation with her "cruise daddy" for $4,000.

She revealed how much she was making on her trip on TikTok, and many of her fans were quick to say that she wasn't charging enough.

"It's funny because when I posted my prices, I'm like, 'Oh, $4,000 to go on this cruise,' people are like, 'That's so cheap,' 'Oh my god,' and I wish you guys could live in the sugar baby world for one f*cking minute," she says.

"It is rare, and even girls who have sugar daddies that give them $10,000 every time they do something, they're like 'He is a whale, he's a dime a dozen...' It's not common that you're meeting these really, really rich guys that want to give you $10,000 every time you go on a date. That is not how it works."

Kelly says she does sex work on and off, but when she was committed to doing it full-time, she could make up to six figures a year.

But doing the job full-time isn't easy emotionally, and she often needs to take time off – but expenses on the off months quickly build up, so it's a careful balancing act.

"You can get so burnt out doing sex work that you do have just to stop doing it for some period of time. So you do have to be really good at saving money," she says.

Kelly admits that she's not the greatest with money, and she's not trying to be a boss babe on TikTok who teaches girls how to pay off their student loans.

She's just showcasing her life as a woman who likes to take trips, lives in expensive cities, and does sex work as a job.

What are the perks of being a sugar baby?


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Kelly says a big perk of the job is being paid to travel.

"I do love travelling. I think so many people save so much money to go and travel the world, and I'm like, oh, I get to do it at the drop of a hat because someone is going to pay for me to do it and then pay for everything while I'm there."

Another upside to the job is being able to network in spaces she wouldn't have access to otherwise.

"When I was in New York in my early 20s, I felt like I was getting so much more knowledge from people and networking in a way that I would never be able to network in my 20s."

Kelly recalls going backstage at SNL because one of her sugar daddies had a connection with a cast member.

"I experienced things that I think a lot of people wouldn't be able to experience in their regular life because of the job," she explained.

"I'm getting to meet all these different people and ask them all these different, like really inside scoop questions to see how things actually work in life."

Kelly says she's met business owners, magazine writers and even actors through her work.

What are the harsh truths of being a sugar baby?


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Being a sugar baby is a job, and like any career, it's going to have its downsides, like not being able to tell your family exactly what you do, feeling societal judgment and not having a human resources (HR) department.

Kelly says the worst part of the job is how emotionally draining it is, especially for someone who is an "emotionally charged" creative who wears their heart on their sleeve.

"I remember when I was with my ex, who was a married guy. I was constantly just sad. I couldn't do my job, and always being poor because I couldn't be with him. I wanted to just have a normal boyfriend and not be a sex worker."

When you're working, Kelly says you always have to be performing even when you have your own life.

She explains that despite any personal issues she may be dealing with, she has to put her sugar daddy's emotions and feelings first since it's her job to make them happy.

If you've ever worked a front-facing customer service job, I'm sure you can attest that this facade is not a fun one to maintain.

Another downside to the job is the 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."

Being a sugar baby isn't exactly legal, which brings its own challenges, like not having a stable income or HR, and having to deal with tax season.

"I think taxes are hard. Luckily I have an amazing tax girl who does taxes for spicey workers, but it can be hard to find someone that you trust with your job and explain your money and things like that. I think it being not necessarily a legal job is hard."

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Brooke Houghton
Brooke Houghton is a Creator for Narcity Media focused on celebrity news and is based in Toronto, Ontario.