THE sugar daddy phenomenon in South Africa can be viewed from different perspectives. Seeing a good-looking teenager or woman in her 20s hanging onto the arm of a man in his 50s one could view the woman as the dominant partner, preying on the older, wealthier man.
Or this scene could be described as one of ruthless exploitation, where the much older man hands out his power and wealth in exchange for sexual favours.
The phenomenon is not unique to South Africa, but the country’ socioeconomic challenges make for an ideal environment for the predator prey relationship.
The consequences for the younger woman include loss of self worth, STDs, psychological issues and teenage pregnancies.
In many cases the young woman is a child with the sugar daddy ignoring the fact that he is committing statutory rape.
The possible perceived benefits could be university fees, text books and air time.
The consequences for the man, especially if he is married, can prove destructive with family bonds sacrificed or broken.
Very few sugar daddy relationships blossom into anything permanent or stable and in the end one or both parties will leave with permanent psychological baggage.
Unfortunately the phenomenon — rather than being seen as a stigma — is glamorised to a certain extent. Perhaps it is time for everyone to recognise the far-reaching effects of such relationships.