The Bay Area's tech boom might be benefitting the scores of white men that mainly make up the industry, leaving women and minorities behind. But techies have found a new way to redistribute their fortunes: paying women to service them.
News of the trend comes from a San Francisco Magazine profile on "sugar dating" websites, which connect the affluent with men and women seeking to be financially adopted. Socially awkward tech workers are increasingly resorting to these "paid dating" schemes, the magazine reports.
Sugar dating websites have everything for the inflamed crotches of Silicon Valley. Some profiles are merely escorts offering the "girlfriend experience," others are "arm candy" for hire, and some sugar babies refuse to sleep with their daddies altogether. But the outcome is the same: clients are paying for dates, keeping "girlfriends" on a financial retainer, and buying luxurious goods for their "babies."
Boston views his munificence as a sort of philanthropy, a horny twist on Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff's call for tech workers to give back to the region's less fortunate. He prefers to pay for things that contribute to his dates' careers, like tuition, or that "help them get from a bad place to a good place," like taking someone who's feeling glum out for Valentine's Day.
Boston isn't alone in wanting to help advance his dates' careers. One sugar baby is charging tech executives thousands to sleep with her so she can fund her startup:
Then there is the startup entrepreneur I talked to over the phone: a former porn cam girl who goes by the name Ruby, holds a technical graduate degree from Berkeley, and is raking in $2,500 a month from a married tech exec. She's also involved in sex arrangements with two other tech guys, earning $1,000 to $2,000 per session. (She claims that one is a household name in the tech world.) The money allows her to forgo a day job in favor of the startup lifestyle—she's living with several brogrammer housemates and developing a sex-related tech company of her own. The sugar money isn't enough to replace substantial seed funding, she admits, but "it's sure as hell more fun."
Some sex workers object to the idea that this is any different from sex work, others like Siouxsie Q, a San Francisco sex worker who writes a sex column for SF Weekly, cast it as kind of an empowering hustle. Brandon Wade, the "MIT-educated tech nerd" behind SeekingArrangement, tried to put a romantic spin on it. Sort of:
Nonetheless, many sugar relationships aren't just a hustle, and some do lead to love. Wade asserts that SeekingArrangement has spawned "thousands" of marriages, a claim impossible to verify. (He also denies that there's any real distinction between sugar relationships and marriage: "Marriage is an arrangement," he says.)