I tried being a sugar baby on Secret Benefits. Here’s how it went.

I’ve heard about sugar babies from various sources for years but it wasn’t until last year I realized it was actually a real thing. A while back, I did a series of Instagram posts talking about my experiences as a young woman in a relationship, and in one of the posts I mentioned how I was considering going sugar with another woman. That prompted a question from a reader on the subject, which I answered briefly. And it was then that I got the idea for Secret Benefits.

I’ve always been fascinated by the whole concept of “sugar daddies” – as in “What would I be willing to give to a man in exchange for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship?” And, if I was given to understand correctly, sugar babies aren’t simply “trophy” wives but are, in fact, paid to provide emotional, physical, or financial support to their “sugar daddy” in exchange for the benefits he offers.

To me, the concept seemed absurd. Why would a woman, and especially a young woman, be so submissive as to do that? I mean, it’s fine and dandy if the sugar baby likes the idea, and is okay with the terms of the arrangement, but for many, including myself, it just seems a little too weird.

But now I know for certain that it’s real and a thing. I was recently contacted by the company Secret Benefits, which offers to connect female sugar babies with men looking for an easy way to find dates. In exchange for an agreed-upon fee (which varies from person to person), women get exclusive access to these men.

I’m pretty sure this is exactly how this was pitched to me:

“A ‘sugar baby’ is a woman who enters into a relationship with a man, in exchange for a monetary payment. The man can then take the woman on dates and make sure they have everything they need. The relationship is mutually beneficial, and is not the type that many people expect.”

The fact is, I’m not the only young woman to use SecretBenefits over the years. I’ve heard from a few who have been signed up for SecretBenefits, and have had their own experiences with the service. Here’s how it all went.

Meeting Mr. Right

In August of last year, I was approached by a woman named “Kate” (not her real name). She said her “boyfriend” had become very successful and wealthy and, though they were still dating, he wanted to take his relationship to the next level.

He’d previously had a few sugar babies, she told me, and he’d been looking to date again. She thought I’d be good for him, she said, and he seemed to like me. So, without telling him I was looking for a sugar daddy, I said “yes” to the proposition.

I wasn’t sure how this would play out, but I had a feeling I’d be getting $10,000 and “an amazing lifestyle,” so I took the plunge. I agreed to give him the details and I signed on the dotted line.

I went back to my home state and, for the next two months, I sent monthly checks. He and I were texting regularly, and I’d go on dates with the men. They’d make sure I had the best time and make sure I was getting everything I needed.

One of the men was a professional, another was a doctor, and the third was a pilot. I met all of them, and it was pretty cool. Some were good, some were okay, but overall, I was pretty pleased with the experience.

The whole thing didn’t seem too weird to me, and I didn’t even realize I was doing something wrong. I was just doing it for the cash and a fun time.

What I didn’t know is that there are men who want to meet sugar babies, and they’re pretty sick of the women they’ve been dating. According to my friend, she’s been approached by a lot of them, and she tells them, in so many words, that it’s not a scam, but that there’s just no good sugar baby for them out there right now. And it’s true – most women don’t seem to be interested in doing the thing for free, and men are willing to pay.

My time with SecretBenefits was brief, and I didn’t go out with the men all that often. The men were good to me, but I didn’t want to be too demanding in any way. My mom is also in the business, and she’s pretty much a feminist and I don’t want to turn my dad’s daughter into a sex-slave.

In retrospect, I don’t think it’s really a good idea for a man to try to control a woman’s activities, and I think I would’ve been a little concerned if he had asked for, say, a certain number of dates each week or whatever. The whole thing just felt awkward to me, but, again, I didn’t know anything was wrong.

My Final Thoughts On Sugar Dating

So I’ve been on both sides of the experience. I’ve been on the receiving end of what I’ll call “the SB life.” And I’ve been on the receiving end of the male equivalent, or “the sugar daddy life.” I’ve done it, I’ve been approached, and I’ve talked to a number of women who have been approached.

But for a long time, I didn’t really get what the whole thing was about. So I’ve put together my thoughts on the experience for the people who are interested.

There are pros and cons to each side of the equation, and a lot of it comes down to how you approach the whole thing. If you’re looking for “an easy way to find dates,” don’t expect to get a ton of attention. And if you’re looking for a way to “provide emotional, physical, or financial support to your sugar daddy” in exchange for the benefits he offers, don’t expect to get your hands dirty. It’s very much like any other form of dating, except youre being compensated for it.

But if you want the benefits the sugar daddy life, don’t expect it to be easy. Don’t expect it to be anything like traditional dating. The whole idea is a little weird, and it’s not like you can just walk into a bar and pick a man.


How To Date An Artist

Compared to what has been said, it seems to me that dating artists can be quiet and carefree. This does not mean, however, that the same applies to models, photographers, videographers, and all artists. I will sum this up for myself by adding that I myself have experienced dating an artist. 

Artists are changeable, emotional and selfish individuals, but they can also be on the gentle and sensitive side and be honest with you about how best to find out for yourself the pros and cons of dating an artist.

For people who want to spend some time alone to read a novel, hang out with friends, or work on their own art projects, dating artists can be the best way to eat their cake and have it too. I’ve met many artists on dating apps, my favorite being, and found they’re my favorite kind of people.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen artists who are known to be distracted, passionate and invested one minute, but not interested in the next for nothing. The truth about this reputation is that it is not what dating an artist is made of. Artists regularly have to deal with strongly false customer opinions, people with bad taste, bad criticism and know-how. 

Artists are compassionate, engaged and intelligent people, and dating is a privilege. They want to achieve something, and they are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty without having to rely on someone else to do it. 

An artist can take you to places you’ve never been and try to involve you in their exciting, passionate life. They are mean, they do not see the world as something that has to be expressed from a different point of view. 

The basis of an artist’s life is the expression of the feelings of the world and the people around it. Everything they see becomes a part of them and turns into a spectacular masterpiece. An artist is artistic by listening, and if you say that they are artistic, you are like a sponge to them, absorbing every little detail they discover about you. 

If you date an artist who has a moderate understanding of how the world works, you can be sure that he will not let himself fail in his efforts. They will learn as much as they can from you and make you happy in the best way. Those who choose an artist choose them because they want to, and they don’t hesitate to get along with the people they love. 

Whether painting, music, writing, film or any other field of art, productivity is based on the ability of artists to express themselves without restrictions. Many of us love the prospect of becoming rich and famous, and celebrities are often in the spotlight to live out their dreams. But artists do most of all with their imagination. 

This applies to musicians, actors and many visual artists and authors. But an art girl can also try to make this elusive artist her significant other.

I think you have to be crazy to date an artist, because if you don’t, the relationship won’t last. It seems that my art friends recognize the advantages of dating an artist – but they also recognize the potential for problems. 

Artists hate being forced to make art or do things they are artistically involved in, and they will be very angry if you try to impose creativity on them. 

Artists often find it hard to date someone outside their industry because of preconceived notions about them. To debunk these notions, here are some good reasons why you should date an artist. Before you come up with various theories about why an artist would date you, go ahead and ask one. 

Dating with an artist may sound glamorous, but like much in any relationship you have to be able to deal with the highs and lows of the artist. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dating an artist. 


A little bit of hope remains

I’ve been very sick and unable to keep this blog updated over the past week.  Today I woke up in a pool of sweat, shivering.  Not good.

2009 has been a terrible year for artists…personally, it’s been downright devastating to watch my page views dwindle to less than 1/10th of what they were a little over a year ago, while my work continues to get better and more expensive to produce.

People are more interested in Tiger Woods’ driving abilities than anything else if I’m to believe what’s on my television.

I’m not quite sure if there’s anything I can do to turn my situation around, especially while the economy is still in shambles.

The uncertainty of the future has caused me so much anxiety and depression, and I’m well aware that broadcasting my self-doubt to the world is NOT a good business strategy.

On the other hand, I am inches away from rock bottom and every opportunity somehow ends up with me getting royally shafted because I’m the reclusive artist who gets discovered after they die.

I don’t have much to lose, I’ve got just a tiny shred of hope left, and I’m sincerely asking for your help.

Please, please, please share my art with anyone who might be interested.  If you’re a past client who’s pleased with your purchase…this will uphold the value of your investment.  

Have a blog?  

Link to my website/auctions and I’ll reciprocate.  On Facebook?  Add me as a friend.  This is also about spreading good karma.  I’ll be giving away free ACEOs and maybe even full-sized painting(s) to anyone who can turn my luck around.

I’m currently listing a lot of reasonably-priced “New Hope” breast paintings – these will make fantastic gifts for those hard-to-buy-for people on your Christmas list.


Turtle Symbolism

The following excerpt is from  It explains turtle symbolism throughout different cultures and eras.

A great deal of mythology exists in regard to the turtle. In the Far East, the shell was a symbol of heaven, and the square underside was a symbol of earth.

The turtle was an animal whose magic united heaven and earth. The turtle is a creation of nature that carries its round shell over the ground, like heaven, and has a flat bottom, like earth.

With a profile resembling a mountain and the turning motion of its toes, it seemed to be a depiction of heaven and earth-changing constantly through the seasons.

In the West, early Christians didn’t like turtles, and they viewed them as symbolizing evil forces during the war. In Greece, turtles were once believed to be citizens of hell.

But like the Chinese, Indians have a legend that “the world is supported by four elephants standing on a giant turtle.” (As in the great Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.)

After hearing a Western scientist clearly give a scientific explanation for the formation of the world, one old Indian woman said that he was wholly mistaken, that the world was being supported by a giant turtle.

When the scientist asked what was under the turtle, she said, “Of course there is an endless pile of turtles, one on top of another.” 

Turtles seem to possess an enviable and god-like resistance to aging, and so they came to symbolize longevity. Their link to heaven and earth made them a natural for use in divination.

Turtles are also symbols of immortality and are considered temporary dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana.

The turtle is considered to be the second incarnation of the powerful god Vishnu in the Hindu religion. After a great flood, which occurs every four billion years and dissolves the earth, Vishnu transforms himself into a great turtle.

On his back, he carries a vessel in which the gods and demons mix the elements necessary to re-create the globe.

After a thousand years, when the earth has been reborn, the turtle remains in place, and on his back stands a large elephant, which supports the planet.

According to some Native American tales, the Earth Diver turtle swam to the bottom of the water that stretched across the world. He surfaced with the mud which the creator used to make the earth.

The turtle is a shore creature, using the land and the water. All shore areas are associated with doorways to the Faerie Realm. The turtle is sometimes known as the keeper of the doors. They were often seen as signs of fairy contact and the promise of fairy rewards.

A Japanese Fairy Tale about Urashima tells of a man who protects a turtle from some boys who were bothering it. As a reward, the turtle takes the man to meet the King of the Ocean.

As a reward for his good deed, Urashima marries the King’s beautiful water sprite daughter. In Nigeria, the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality. To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies.

The markings and sections on some turtles total thirteen. In the lunar calendar, there are either thirteen full moons or thirteen new moons alternating each year. Many believe this is where the association with the female energies originated. The turtle symbolizes the primal mother and Mother Earth.

To the modern Chinese, turtles are viewed in many different ways. It is regarded as one of the four divine animals, along with the dragon, phoenix and chimera.

They are worshipped in temples. Flour turtles used to be used as offerings at temple festivals or big family events.

However, the term turtle is also used as a curse word, and the Taiwanese expression for gamblers “losing your shirt” translates as “knocking turtles”.

Apart from gamblers’ fears that eating a flour turtle will turn their luck sour, turtles have many other bad connotations in modern Chinese society. In fact, when people curse each other these days, the first thing to come out is often “turtle egg” or ” grandson of a turtle”.

Even so, the image of the turtle as a spiritual beast has become deeply implanted in people’s minds. One ancient text warns its readers not to act rashly when catching turtles and always to carry out the proper ceremony to worship them first.

There are also many legends about how those who killed turtles eventually met with misfortune.

Common Buddhist restraints against the killing of animals evolved into the Buddhist ceremony of releasing turtles.

Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us, as long as we do the same for her.

For that to happen, we must slow down and heighten our sensibilities. We must see the connection to all things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth.


Life keeps handing me lemons

Nobody takes the time to search for my cozy little out-of-the-way lemonade stand anymore (admittedly, I was never very good at marketing it in the first place.)

Sure, it may not be the newest or flashiest stand in town, but I’m proud of the fact that I built it myself (with no training in the field of lemonade stand building.)

I gave it a few minor renovations over the years, but it never seemed to make a difference in terms of lemonade consumption.

People visited because they wanted my world-famous gourmet lemonade.  The stand was merely a means of letting people know I had lemonade available – always 100% natural & made with REAL passion, hope and good intentions.

Initially, the onslaught of  lemons was a blessing because making lemonade made me happy and it made lots of other people happy too.  My lemonade used to sell briskly and I even ran out of lemons several times. 

I regularly donated some of my profits to charities that battle citric cancer, a devastating disease that affects 200,000 and kills 40,000 lemon trees annually.  It felt nice to be able to “ade” the community in that way.

My neighborhood is now littered with the garbage of corrupt lemonade vendors who have stolen my signage and tried to capitalize on partial recipes that were clearly obtained from my once-successful lemonade stand.

The lemonade industry has become cheapened with mass-produced, artificially-sweetened lemon water containing unnatural ingredients like lies and lemony tears that were obviously extracted from tissues found in MY garbage.  

I’d leave if I could, but I have nowhere else to go.

I’m destined to make lemonade…but what’s the point if nobody wants it?

Dear Life,

The lemons were nice at first (did you get my thank-you note???) but now they’re piling up rather quickly, don’t you think?  What I thought was a gift has turned into some giant practical joke to you.

Not cool, Life. It’s apparent that there’s some sort of crazy surplus on these things, and you have nothing better to do than torture me with them.  Real classy.

I am now refusing lemon deliveries on a daily basis for your entertainment.

You gave me common sense and a creative outlet, then told me to follow my dreams. 

I worked hard, helped others, and found a way to make an honest living doing something that was perfectly suited to the life of anxiety, trust issues, irrational fears, and traumatic experiences you also gave me.

I even took your advice and starting offering limeade.

Life, you hired me for a temp job that you knew was being phased out.  You left no instructions. Do you know how horrible that feels?   I have no clue what I did to deserve this.

Please stop with the lemon thing. At least switch to kiwis or something smaller to delay the drowning process a little longer.


2009 year-end review & misc. stuff & my open letter to Darby

Might as well grab a drink, because this entry has a lot of content. This post was partially written on December 28, 2009.  

Due to the subject matter I couldn’t post it during a time of love and peace and all that other nice stuff that only happens once a year.

irst, an update on my mental state.

Zoloft is helping me a little, but those first 2 weeks were pure heck. It could just be that I’m glad that the OMG unrelenting stiffness finally went away.

 I can’t even explain it…had to talk myself out of quitting the pill cold turkey on several occasions because the physical symptoms were so debilitating.  

I was scared to drive because my arms were so numb.  I didn’t want to leave my bed.  Ever again. My dosage was upped a tiny bit, which resulted in another 2 weeks of heck.

Now, I’ve left my bed and am taking my meds as prescribed (half the Adderall I was originally prescribed, but taking Ambien semi-regularly.

It seems to help me fall asleep better because the Adderall dose is lower and the Zoloft makes me slightly tired.

I’m still having insomnia, but nowhere near as often.  My focus is a little off, but being on Zoloft doesn’t make your problems go away, only the intensity of the negative emotions they cause.  I’ve been painting a lot, and it’s seemingly become more enjoyable!  

It makes me realize just how bad my depression had become. It progressed so slowly that I didn’t even know that I’d changed until I no longer wanted to live.

 I have myself convinced that I’d never go through with suicide, but just carrying those intense feelings around with you all the time is no fun.  

My husband deserves better, and we deserve better because we’re good people.  I’ve put Nes through a lot of unintentional stress.  

I don’t know where he finds the strength to put up with my “episodes” and unhealthy fishing obsession, but I’m smart enough to know how lucky I am to have married him.

He’s patient, makes me feel safe and he’s the ultimate in terms of snuggification.  He even does the dishes!

4th of July at Fenway

Christmas was OK…as atheists, we (parents & I) use the day as an opportunity to spend time together, mom uses it as an excuse to do a ridiculous amount of shopping and a reason to bake cookies & cupcakes then gorge ourselves on them.  

The season is a celebration of excessively salty pork products, and getting absolutely trashed is “optional.”  Oh, and Scattergories MUST BE PLAYED, even though I ultimately get upset because my mom attempts to rationalize how an impala belongs in the category “things you’d find in the ocean.”  Nes and I didn’t “exchange gifts” but he surprised me with a ticket to see Bon Jovi concert at Mohegan Sun.

 Yup, I told you he’s awesome.  🙂

Overall, it’s been a really rough year.

A lot of it comes down to money…this $14,000 medical bill (gallbladder-ectomy) never seems to get any smaller, another 11K in credit card debt that never goes away (even though I haven’t used a card in years.)

Business has been awful for many artists.  

I’ve considered ending the “Hope” series because sometimes I feel there’s only a “glimmer” of hope left.

I did get some publicity in 2009, although these small victories quickly turn bittersweet as quickly as the copycats swarm.  

I hate money, but let’s face it…when you don’t have any money, things get stressful.  Bills pile up; sacrifices need to be made.

It sucks. I no longer have the National Geographic Channel. :-(