A Brief History of Sugar Dating

By Danielle

Mar 01, 2018

Though Sugar may seem like a new development into modern dating it has actually existed for ages. Not only have Sugar relationships existed but for many years it was actually the norm and socially acceptable. Let’s dive into to a usually forgotten brief history of Sugar.

Early Sugar Relationships

Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babies have been around for centuries. There are evolutionary explanations behind the Sugar Relationship phenomena. Men prefer younger, attractive women because they are more fertile. Women prefer older, successful men because they can provide for their offspring. In 1901, the rule for the “ideal” bride was popularly described as “half your age, plus seven” in Max O’Rell’s “Her Royal Highness Woman.”

The most famous early examples of Sugar Babies were royal mistresses. These women were financially supported (often with a yearly allowance) by Kings. However, they were also often smart about it. They used the money and connections to secure a future for themselves rather than buying frivolous things.

These included Diane de Poitiers. She was the chief mistress of King Henry II in the early 1500s. She went on to become an influential member of the French court. In the 1600s, Nell Gwyn was kept by King Charles II of England and Scotland. She represented the classic Cinderella story of a poor actress becoming wealthy and powerful. In the 1700s, Madame de Pompadour was the official mistress of Louis XV. She went on to become a powerful member of the court and secured noble titles for herself and her family.


The 20th Century

These early cases paved the way for future Sugar Relationships. The first use of the term “Sugar Daddy” didn’t appear until the early 1900s. Adolph Spreckels, heir to a Sugar fortune, was affectionately referred to as a Sugar Daddy by his wife Alma. Alma  was 24 years younger than him.
By 1926, “Sugar Daddy” had become a well-known slang term for a man who spoils a younger female companion with gifts or money. The Sugar lifestyle grew in popularity due to the “flapper girl” culture of the Roaring Twenties.

In 1925, chocolate salesman Robert Welch created a caramel lollipop named the Papa Sucker (gross name, right?). Luckily, in 1932, they changed the name to the Sugar Daddy. Maybe this was to take advantage of the rising popularity of the term or maybe they just realized how awful the original name was. In 1935, they came out with an accompanying candy called the Sugar Baby.


By the 1950s, the idea had hit Hollywood with several popular movies based on the idea. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire both came out in 1953 featuring beautiful, young women (both films starred Marilyn Monroe) in pursuit of wealthy benefactors. Breakfast at Tiffany’s came out in 1961 and quickly became a favorite of women everywhere. Since the film is vague, the Holly Golightly character is often thought of as an escort. Truman Capote himself saw the character as more of a kept woman. In addition, her neighbor/future lover definitely has an Sugar Mama.


The Rise of Modern Day Sugar

In 2006, Brandon Wade launched the website SeekingArrangement. This marked the start of the modern Sugar arrangement. The major difference is that most of these relationships now begin online. This is similar to today’s vanilla relationships. The site inspired the launch of many other Sugar dating sites. However, none have been quite as successful. The website, and the Sugar lifestyle in general, has continued to grow in recent years. This is due to press coverage of how Sugar Babies are joining to help pay off the increasing costs of higher education.

Unlike the women of the 20th century, the modern Sugar Baby takes a cue from the influential Sugar pioneers of the 1500s-1700s. She’s more entrepreneurial. She is often looking for mentoring and help with tuition or student loans. Whereas in the past, an expensive beret and jewelry might have been enough.