While the original sugar daddy–a sweet chunk of chewy caramel mounted on a stick–was created in 1925, it’s uncertain when the term sugar daddy took on its common modern meaning. It isn’t a candy, however. A sugar daddy is a man who provides lavish gifts for a woman, commonly known as a sugar baby, who in turn rewards the sugar daddy with her “favors.”
Generally a wealthy man, and often an older man, a sugar daddy doesn’t support a sugar baby like he would a mistress. His gifts are meant to supply the extras in life, those luxuries she just couldn’t afford on her own. If an unexpected bill arises a woman turns to her sugar daddy for help, but she is just as likely to receive an expensive necklace or a trip to the salon or even France as actual cash money. In return, a sugar daddy expects sexual companionship. “No” is not a word he expects to hear from her; the relationship is built on the understanding that he gives freely, within his means, as long as she does too.
It’s probably the “sugar” in sugar daddy that best defines the relationships and roles. Sugar has long been recognized as slang for money, and sometimes for affection such as kisses and hugs. The word daddy was used as far back as the late 1600s, when a “daddy” meant an older man looking for the favors of a prostitute. In contrast to the prostitute, however, the relationship between a sugar daddy and a sugar baby tends to be ongoing.
Today, sugar daddies still tend to be older, considering that men are more successful, with more money to spend at will, when they are older. In addition, older men generally enjoy having a younger woman on their arm and in their bed. Far from being an immoral or exploitative relationship, both the sugar daddy and sugar baby tend to see their relationship as a winning situation.