This weekend, the New York Times Magazine made its contribution to the array of recent reports that some women are having sex with men for money, still, but now have the additional option of setting it up via the internets with websites like SeekingArragement.com. The piece contains some pretty interesting profiles of arrangement seekers of both sexes, from the math nerd with the Pygmalion complex to the businesswoman who doesn't even need the cash but is just a literally money-grubbing whore to the impossibly deluded finance exec who pays women for sex and then asks, inexplicably, "Would she still want to be with me even without the money?"
A year and a half ago, I went on a couple of dates with sugar daddies to report on the phenomenon for MoJo. But to me then, as now, the interesting story was not that people are using the Internet, as they were inevitably going to do, to make these arrangements and so transparently, but that the increased accessibility that the Internet provides has the potential to draw a whole new crowd into such arrangements. I do know some gals who have either considered sugar daddies or slept with them via these sites who wouldn't otherwise have gotten into sex work. And one of the girls in the Times piece, for example, would never have become someone's paid mistress had she not found the website and, subsequently, the man so easily. It's like the correlation between accessibility and usage that opponents of legalizing drugs are always going on about.
Seeking Arrangement has three times as many users now as it did when I filed my story. Today, it "pays to have its ads pop up on search engines whenever someone types in 'student loan,' 'tuition help,' 'college support' or 'help with rent,'" the Times article reports. That kind of visibility plus ease of opportunity plus a recession could add a whole new slew of applicants to the sugar baby pool yet. I wonder how long it'll take before they start linking their ads to searches for "classified" or "Monster.com" or "unemployment."