3 months ago
Relationship Positivity: Talking the Sugar Life, Dating Perceptions and More with a Professional Sexologist

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How we date and the relationships we seek and enjoy today are entirely different than what generations before us experienced. In a modern world that is fast-moving and driven by technology, there are new customs, traditions, expectations and certainly the do’s and don’t that modern daters abide by.

And as we discussed in our previous blog post on The Evolution of Dating, women have gained more and more freedoms in their dating lives as social thought evolved and women were beginning to be seen as equals to their male counterparts—all sparked by the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

But enough about the past—for now, that is. We’re now looking at today’s dating culture, specifically how dating and different kinds of relationships are perceived today. And who better to discuss this with than a certified sexologist?

We interviewed Dr. Amber Love—who wished to remain anonymous with that alias—who holds a PhD in Public Health from a research university on the West Coast of the United States. Read on for the sexual health professional’s thoughts on a number of ideas surrounding Sugar Dating and the Sugar Lifestyle.


SA:
The now-mainstream body positivity and sex positivity movements are about embracing and celebrating all types of bodies and sexual expression. As appearance and sex go hand-in-hand with dating, why haven’t we seen the same enthusiasm for different, nontraditional relationships?

Dr. Amber Love:
Fewer people are choosing marriage and enjoying the ability to define their relationships on their own terms. There is no societal rulebook on “how to have a relationship.” Still, sometimes family values or the influence of someone’s culture of origin may create monogamy expectations that may influence a person’s self-esteem or choices around their relationships.

Fewer people are choosing marriage and enjoying the ability to define their relationships on their own terms. There is no societal rulebook on “how to have a relationship.” Still, sometimes family values or the influence of someone’s culture of origin may create monogamy expectations that may influence a person’s self-esteem or choices around their relationships.

“Nontraditional relationships,” like consensual non-monogamy, have been around for millennia in various cultures. These relationships need to be more openly shared and celebrated so people can see that there is not just one right way to feel love, intimacy, joy, and pleasure with people in your life.

Do you believe that people should be open to and positive toward different kinds of relationships, just as we are toward different bodies and sexual expression?

Yes! It seems that the media is starting to portray a great diversity of relationship styles—open, polyamorous, sugar, et cetera—on TV. These positive and realistic representations of the different types of relationships help with the normality of this. More people are starting to feel safer sharing about the non-traditional relationships that they enjoy.

Do you believe the idea of “sex positivity” is related to the idea of “relationship positivity?” Are these two ideas somewhat intertwined?

I do believe the two are intertwined, as many of us enjoy sex in the context of a relationship with others. As part of the movement to stop shaming sexual diversity and embrace the wonderful world of sexual expression, we see more openness to people in relationships with certain boundaries, expectations, and arrangements.

I think that sex-positivity has led to people feeling more comfortable in asking for what they want in relationships. Removing the shame around sex and sexual communication will lead to a more sex- and relationship-positive world.

What are your thoughts on Sugar Dating, as well as the perception of Sugar Dating?

In the past 10 years, I think Sugar Relationships have gotten a lot more attention and interest. I think more people are interested in these types of relationships than are willing to admit … but we must address that we are still dealing with stigma. Sugar Relationships are not a new thing, but the internet has made it easier for people to meet and share what they are looking for in these companionship or intimate relationships.

If anything, I think sugar relationships can be more fulfilling because people are clear about their relationship expectations and boundaries. Many relationships have benefits but Sugar Relationships allow for clearer communication about desired benefits.

Sugar dating can be very beneficial with supporting the lives of the people—like college students or teachers—for example. It can be empowering to feel appreciated and supported in a relationship, and Sugar Relationships can provide that.

You’re a sexologist and a licensed mental health professional. In your opinion, do you see any negatives with the idea of Sugar Dating?

I think [Sugar Relationships] can be just as healthy—if not more healthy—than other relationships. The added benefit to Sugar Relationships is the enhanced communication around the expectations of relationships. Many people who date people outside of a Sugar context may not discuss what they are into, what they are looking for, or what they expect from their partner. Sugar Dating gets this all on the table and allows for everyone involved to know how to keep each other happy and what is expected out of the interactions.

Dating has evolved dramatically over the decades, especially in the past century. Do you see Sugar Dating as a natural progression in our capitalist society, in which success is a goal for many?

All relationships have a power dynamic to them. Sugar Relationships also have this element, using allowances, gifts, trips, or other benefits like business mentorship. As long as this is a consensual exchange of time and power, it can be mutually enjoyable for all parties.

Capitalism has ingrained the idea that “time is money.” What is wrong with having self-worth, and knowing what your personal time is worth to you and being rewarded for that? I see nothing wrong in people clearly asking for what they want in a relationship, negotiating it, and enjoying each other within that context.


With 100 Years of Choice, SeekingArrangement is celebrating the advances women have made since gaining that hard-fought right to vote in 1920. Progress has been made in all aspects of a woman’s life, and that most certainly includes dating—which is exactly why we were thrilled to interview an academic and public health professional about today’s dating culture and where Sugar Relationships fit into that bigger picture. We’d like to thank Dr. Amber Love for her time and contributions!

So, what did you think of Dr. Love’s thoughts on living the Sugar Life? Let us know by commenting in the comments on the Facebook post about this blog entry! We look forward to hearing what you have to say, SBs and SDs!


Enjoying all the Sugar Dating stories, advice and tips, and curious about jumping into the Sugar Bowl yourself? Create a FREE profile on SeekingArrangement today and start experiencing the advantages of empowered dating and mutually beneficial relationships!


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