Sugar dating is a 'convenient way to ease my loneliness', says disabled writer

Photo of Amy in Sentosa, Siloso Beach. Photo from Amy.
Photo of Amy in Sentosa, Siloso Beach. Photo from Amy.

He is 42, and she is half his age.

Carson*, a writer, met his sugar baby, Amy*, an accountancy undergraduate at a Malaysian university, through TheSugarBook, a controversial dating platform that connects women with men who are willing to pay for their upkeep in exchange for companionship.

Despite their age difference, and the fact that one party entered the relationship solely for financial gain, Carson and Amy have become fast friends.

In fact, Amy’s frankness from the start – she told Carson that she was interested only in his bank account – is one of the reasons why Carson agreed to the relationship.

While some might have their reservations about sugar dating, for Carson it is the only way he can meet women. The Malaysian was involved in a car accident 14 years ago, which resulted in him becoming paralysed from waist down.

“For me to date regularly is very difficult. (The chance of me) meeting girls the conventional way is almost zero and some of my friends have tried to set me up before but because of my disability, nothing came to fruition,” he told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore via e-mail.

While TheSugarBook has been criticised – even in Parliament – for potentially exposing women to emotional and sexual exploitation, it is not the only sugar dating site available here.

A quick search online turned up similar sites such as Seeking Arrangement, aSugarDating and SugarDaddyMeet. Users also post advertisements on classifieds platforms such as Locanto for the purpose of sugar dating.

Since becoming a sugar daddy a decade ago, Carson has had eight “sugar babies”, whom he characterises as women he sponsors and has had close relationships with.

He first got into sugar dating through a chance encounter with a fellow sugar daddy.

He recounted that he was in Germany undergoing cell therapy in his early 30s when he met a Thai businessman in his 40s, who was also a patient. When the two became friends, Carson observed that a “gorgeous and young Ukrainian girlfriend” would visit the businessman at his villa. He also observed that the pair had “camaraderie and rapport”.

Once, the pair invited Carson to join them for coffee and the Ukrainian woman ended up introducing a female friend to Carson.

“It may come off sleazy but what happened was really natural. A couple with a significant age difference hangs out with their single male friend and they just wanted to set me up with a single female friend.

“Just so happens that the female is slightly financially strapped and could use some assistance in that part,” he said.

On why he entered into a sugar dating relationship with Amy, his current and only sugar baby, Carson said, “I am always upfront about my condition in every way possible – there’s no way to hide it (that I am in a wheelchair) and I entered into an arrangement with Amy as a convenient way to ease my loneliness and to have a female companion.”

He recounted that when he revealed his condition to Amy on TheSugarBook during the first time they talked, she asked why Carson’s physical handicap would affect her as she was more interested in his “bank balance”.

“I loved it. So straightforward and sans pity… What can I say, I was hooked,” Carson said, adding that he found her response “very cute”.

He added that “she didn’t flinch a single bit when we first met up for coffee” and “she’s always been kind and friendly to me”.

For Amy, she has had a total of five sugar dating relationships with men who are significantly older than her – including Carson and another sugar daddy, Matthew, whom she is also currently seeing.

“When I was 19, I dated someone who was 32 and I met him through cell group. It was a relationship or sugar relationship – it’s up to you to judge – but he did buy me a lot of gifts as he was clearly better off than I was at 19 with no job,” she recalled.

Amy added that she “casually” dated a few men she met through TheSugarBook, but that was before she got involved with Carson and Matthew.

Quid pro quo relationship

While sex seems to be an unspoken given in typical sugar dating relationships, Amy and Carson’s relationship is different as such physical intimacy is out of the equation.

It is still transactional, however, as Carson gives Amy pocket money of RM2,000 (S$672) a month. This money goes toward her university expenses, clothing, make-up and the occasional flight home to visit her family, who do not reside in Kuala Lumpur, where she is studying.

Money aside, Carson also enriches Amy’s mind by introducing her to the classic works of authors such as George Orwell and Scott Fitzgerald.

“Carson is so well-read. Spending time with him is like absorbing all sorts of information from books and climate change, politics to how-to advice,” Amy said.

This connection is unlike Amy’s relationship with her other sugar daddy, Matthew – a 40-year-old investment banker from Singapore who she gets physically intimate with. Both sugar daddies know about each other.

Amy and Carson usually meet at cafes twice a month to catch up and their relationship has blossomed into such a good friendship that Amy feels protective about Carson.

People sometimes stare at the pair, which Amy feels may be because Carson is in a wheelchair.

“I find it rude and I usually stare back at the person,” she said. She also cut off contact with a former friend who made fun of Carson’s disability.

When asked how long the two intend to carry on the relationship, both were in agreement that it would continue as long it was consensual and beneficial to both parties.

“Walk away when it’s no longer working for you – like every relationship, with friends even,” Amy said.

For Carson, however, being a sugar daddy is something he sees himself doing in the long term due to his condition.

“A normal life with children and grandchildren may never happen for me. To impose that (solitude on) a woman whom I would call my wife, is just selfish. I would not take away any woman’s right to a future,” he said.

“Thus, having a sugar baby makes it easier. We both know that if there is any intimacy, it will not go beyond spiritual and I am fully capable to provide in the monetary sense.”

*Not their real names

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