I was living the life... while keeping my clothes on.
The classic view of a woman having a sugar daddy implies her trading sex for nice things. But about two years ago, I found myself living in Hollywood with a sugar daddy — and at no point in time did I abide by this so-called rule.
I was out in LA for an internship at the end of college. One night I was sitting in a punk bar on Hollywood Blvd chatting with a man who happened to work for MTV. He was a 10 years older than me and at the time, I wasn’t interested in him romantically, but enjoyed talking to him.
At the end of the night, we traded phone numbers but I’d done that dance quite a few times before; I didn’t actually expect him to call.
About a week later, though, I got a call from him asking what I was up to. Since I wasn’t busy at the time, he said he would send a car to come get me and take me out for drinks and to a fancy art gallery party. As a young woman in Hollywood for the first time, this seemed super-exciting. I was game.
That night, he gave me the royal treatment. He bought all of my drinks, took me from one party to the next and made me feel like the most desirable woman in any room. It was extremely refreshing, especially since I was still recovering from a breakup with a guy I fell hard for.
This guy in Hollywood, let’s call him Jake, seemed to be the antidote to my guy problems. I still wasn’t romantically interested but it was really nice to have a guy around who made me feel wanted and like I deserved anything and everything. Unlike my previous partner, he was willing to go above and beyond to show me a good time.
We continued to meet up and go on dates over the next few months. He would take me to exclusive industry events like the LA Music Video Festival and rooftop parties at high-end hotels. I was having the time of my life.
However, I wasn’t naive. I knew he was interested in me and I knew sex was on his mind. He would be flirtatious and a little handsy with me but at the end of the day, I would always take care to let him know that I wasn’t looking for anything like that. The more he took me out, though, the more I started to feel guilty about not giving him anything in return. (Ah, female conditioning at work.)
He never blatantly made any sexual demands, but he certainly insinuated it by buying me personal sex toys and asking if I wanted to be part of lingerie photoshoots. It was a little creepy, but never overt. Of course, I declined all his offers.
I talked the situation over with my roommate. I told her about all the nice (and expensive!) things he was doing for me and that I was starting to feel pressured to trade sexual favors for it all.
"Stop right there," she said. "You don’t have to do anything."
"But won’t he expect it?" I asked.
"He might," she said. "But you’ve already made your intentions clear to him. If he wants to keep doing nice things for you and spending his money on you, that’s his choice. You don’t owe him sex for that."
I realized she was totally right. I’d grown up with a certain understanding of what a sugar daddy is and what the expectations are and I thought I had to play by those set rules. But I didn’t.
Jake and I continued to have our adventures and I enjoyed letting myself be spoiled for a little while until I finished up my internship and returned back home. We had a lot of fun together and I’ll never regret or feel bad about that.
But the best part about it all was learning what rights I had, what power I had, and, ultimately, how I deserved to be treated.
I became less afraid of asserting what my desires were to a man. I became less afraid of standing my ground and more confident in myself as a woman. I got to have once-in-a-lifetime experiences and the kind of Hollywood excitement a lot of people dream about. And the best part: I didn’t have to get naked for any of it.