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Brandon Wade in The Wall Street Journal

Posted by Levine Communications Office on August 17, 2011

A Q&A With Brandon Wade, Mr. Sugar Daddy

By Nathan Koppel

We recently noted a Huffington Post article about the seeming rise in “sugary-daddy” relationships, in which young women strike up amorous friendships with wealthy, older men, who help the women defray expenses.

The article questioned whether these relationships may cross the line into prostitution. The question, HuffPo reported, turns partly on whether there is an explicit and immediate agreement to exchange cash for sex.

Curious about this dating phenomenon, the Law Blog interviewed Brandon Wade, the 41-year-old CEO of SeekingArrangement.com, a dating site that facilitates sugar-daddy hook-ups. Wade, who has engineering and graduate business degrees from MIT, said that sugar-daddy arrangements are healthier and less exploitative than more traditional relationships. Here’s an edited transcript of the interview:

LB: Tell us about SeekingArrangement.com.

Wade: I started the website mainly out of frustrations with online dating. I had graduated from MIT and was making six figures, but it was very poor pickings for me. I would write emails [to prospective dates] and get a 1 to 2% response rate. My mom had told me that if you studied hard and were successful the women would line up.

When did the website go live?

In 2006. I’m sort of a sugary daddy myself. I help out girlfriends financially as well as with mentoring. I took those characteristics from my own dating and built a website around that. The premise of SeekingArrangement is to create mutually beneficial arrangements. We ask people to be brutally honest about what they want and what they are offering. This allows negotiations upfront between sugar daddies and sugar babies. The media loves to use the term prostitution, but I’m adamantly against that.

Why isn’t it prostitution?

Because there is chemistry involved in these relationships. It’s not a one-time exchange of money for sex. Most people who meet on the site don’t have sex on the first date. After a relationship forms, sex becomes part of the relationship. It’s not very different from a rich husband or boyfriend giving money to a wife or girlfriend.

Have any legal authorities investigated the site?

No, we have not had any legal issues pertaining to prostitution. There are other legal issues, like what happens when there is a disagreement between two parties who meet on the site. But any dating website has to contend with that.

Aside from the legal issues, are sugar-daddy relationships healthy?

The fact that people are brutally honest up front makes these relationships healthier than others where people beat around the bush. If you know going into a relationship that a person is going to use you and you are going to use them, then it’s healthier because there is a mutually agreed exchange of expectations. It’s part of a set of old-fashioned principles — opening doors for women and standing up to greet them — which men today lack.

What sort of traffic does your site get?

There are close to 900,000 users.

What are the fees to join?

It’s basically free for the sugar babies. For the sugar daddies, it’s $50 per month. Thousands of sugar daddies pay us $50 per month, so it adds up to quite a bit.

Are you currently in a sugar-daddy relationship?

I’m in a regular relationship that I’ve been in for the last year. But I am in one in a sense, because I take her shopping and pay for her when we go out.


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