A married Australian man has detailed his secret life and rise as a scout for sex workers after he blasted onto the adult scene two years ago.
Feeling sexually and emotionally disconnected from his wife, the man, in his mid-50s and who goes by the name Bernard*, told news.com.au he spent over $100,000 on sex workers after he made the decision to sign up to online dating apps including Tinder, along with a site dedicated to Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babies.
A Sugar Baby is someone who receives gifts or money for being in a relationship, while a Sugar Daddy is the one who pays for it all, in the name of sexual pleasure.
"I've been married for over 25 years," Bernard said.
"My wife knows nothing about it, it was just a convenient situation for me."
Bernard soon became a fully fledged member of the site and claims that in less than two years, he spent the $100,000 on "girlfriend experiences".
"I say [to the women], I don't want just sex, I don't want to meet for an hour and just have sex, that's not what I'm into. You have a nice dinner, you chat, they come back to my place, they very quickly treat you as if they're your girlfriend.
"It's like a normal date, yes you get intimate, and then you leave an envelope full of cash in it."
He said despite not wanting to leave his wife after 25 years of marriage, their relationship had deteriorated to a point where he felt the need to look for an emotional connection elsewhere.
"I still have sex with my wife, but when you've been married that long, a lot of women, when they have kids they turn off the tap, it's never as good as it used to be, it's not as often as it used to be," he told news.com.au.
"You feel guilt about it, I don't really want my marriage to get ruined, but when you get older you get that, 'you only live once' attitude.
"I hope they never find out. As long as all the bills are paid and my wife sticks her card in the ATM and the money comes out, she's happy. She doesn't check my bank account or anything like that."
Bernard said he felt like a "kid in a lolly shop" when he first signed up to the Sugar Daddy site and was seeing different women every night. He soon began making contacts in the industry and he eventually became a "scout" for Sydney-based escort agency, Honeychile Ryder.
"When I first started, I'd never come across anything like this before," he said.
"I'd been married a long time, I'd basically married the first woman I'd gone out with, so I hadn't had a lot of variety in my life.
"When I first got onto the site I was like a kid in a lolly shop and I was seeing someone every night, a different woman. They all know I'm married, I don't hide anything from these girls, it hasn't affected my marriage at all.
"You have great sex with these women. It's amazing, quite frankly. And it's nice to be with a younger woman sometimes. I've been with some as young as 18. I'm in my mid-50s, and that's a pretty unusual experience. The fact they actually claim to like older men and want to see you again, it's great.
"You turn up for a coffee or have dinner with these girls and everyone knows what it's about, there's no mucking around. I could try and date a normal woman whose not on these sites and might have to go out for dinner three or four times and spend as much money on dinners before you have your first night of intimacy.
"This way, everyone knows what you're there for, everyone gets what they want. There's no mucking around."
But Bernard felt compelled to do something for the girls who had given him a breath of fresh air. Concerned for their safety, he began hooking his girlfriends up with "agent" Mila Jovi from Honeychile Ryder.
"I get nothing out of it, what concerns me about a lot of these girls is they are quite young, they're messing with men they know nothing about, whereas doing it through Mila, she's done the checks for the girls."
He said he normally approaches the women after their third encounter, when they have "built some trust".
"I say, 'hey, look, if you're really interested in this and you don't want the hassle of the Sugar Daddy sites and make more money, I have a friend that can help you. They nearly always jump at the chance to find out what it's all about.
"These girls are struggling to live in Sydney, they think if they can come to an arrangement and can get money off a guy for one night, that helps them pay the rent and bills.
"You have students, working mums, single mums trying to make ends meet, women who got themselves into a lot of debt. They're just every day, run of the mill women who have decided this is an alternative for them.
"I'm constantly shocked and surprised by just how every day women are doing this, no problems, no questions asked."
Ms Jovi said when it comes to choosing the right girl, it was about being well polished, or showing potential for a "five-star girl".
"It's very hard sometimes, it's hard to put class into a woman if she doesn't have it," Ms Jovi told news.com.au.
"Bernard is very good. The life of an escort is very good, there's great money to be made."
She says she teaches the girls how to groom, what to wear, how to do their hair, what lingerie to wear, how to act and what to talk about.
"I can tell in the first five minutes if a woman is up for the job."
Figures from SeekingArrangement.com, the world's largest Sugar Daddy dating site, claimed 100,000 Australian students alone have signed up to find a Sugar Daddy.
Research found 35 per cent of university aged sign-ups came from upper-middle and high-income families.
- Names have been changed to protect identity.