A Sydney IT student whose "sugar daddy" showers him with up to $500 a week in cash, meals and gifts including electronics, clothes and a NutriBullet says the relationship is about "more than just money".
"Alex" moved to Australia from Colombia four years ago to study for his masters degree. The 24-year-old has been on controversial "sugar dating" website Seeking Arrangement for just over a year and has been seeing his sugar daddy for four months, reports news.com.au.
"I was just curious at the start, it's different to any other dating site (centred on) sex and dating in that you're looking for someone that wants to spend time with you and support you financially," he said.
"So you will be able to find people to mentor you or sponsor you who are also willing to spend time with you. On other websites or apps, the way you match with people I don't think it takes (into account) so much your interests and your vision of the future for yourself as it does physical appearance."
Alex said that meant you might swipe past someone you could develop a real connection with. "You'll never get to know the person, whereas on Seeking Arrangement you get the chance to meet people that have similar interests to you or have some sort of vision for themselves," he said.
While most sugar daddies on the site are ultra-rich older men, Alex says his is "nothing like that". "He's in his late 30s, he's just a person," he said. "He's got a comfortable life, able to have money for himself and be able to help someone else."
He estimates his sugar daddy spends up to $500 a week on him, which works out to about $26,000 a year.
"Sometimes he helps pay the bills, it could be presents and drinks and things you need for yourself — clothes, electronics, a NutriBullet, just small things like that — we go out to dinners and brunch," he said.
"I'd imagine it'd be around $350 to $500 a week. That said, although I'm in a relationship with someone that will support me financially, that is not my only source of income. I do have a job, but because I study, sometimes I have to take days off and can't work as much as I need to cover my expenses."
But Alex insists the relationship is about "more than just money and more than just presents and everything". He said so far it was "going good" and had "been very positive for me". "I've learned a lot, got a lot of help, we enjoy spending time together," he said.
"When you find someone you're able to connect with and have a very positive relationship with (it's) going to help you grow. I wouldn't say (the money) is the main element of the relationship."
Last week, 25-year-old Sydney student "Sarah" revealed how she had earned more than $150,000 by secretly dating married men. That came after 26-year-old Melbourne student "Samantha" estimated her payments at $50,000.
Seeking Arrangement was thrust into the spotlight late last year when "sugar baby" Amy Keating brought down the career of married Nationals MP Andrew Broad by revealing embarrassing details of a Hong Kong rendezvous to New Idea.