A study on male homosexual sugardating

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Andrea Wiuf Christiansen
  • Sophie-Helena Rosenlund Breum
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
The aim of this master thesis is to investigate which experiences and understandings of homosexual sugardating that are expressed among young male sugardaters and how experiences from sugardating affect their daily lives. The intention is to contribute with knowledge within the field of social work.
This thesis is formulated on the basis of philosophical hermeneutics as a scientific theoretical approach to investigate male homosexual sugardating. The thesis includes data gathered through structured interviews based on qualitative in-depth interviews with five young men aged 18-33 years.
In order to answer the thesis statement, we included Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘doxa’, ‘habitus’, ‘capital’, ‘symbolic power’ and ‘symbolic violence’. In addition, we included the British social scientist Dr. Catherine Hakim’s further development to Pierre Bourdieu's concept of cultural capital, called erotic capital, and R.W. Connells concept of hegemonic masculinity. Finally, we included Erving Goffman’s theory of symbolic interactionism and his concept of stigma. The thesis analysis has been prepared on the basis of thematic structures.
The first theme ‘sexualized culture’ concludes that the homosexual environment is characterized by an increased sexualization, which results in normalization and detabooization of sugardating among young male sugardaters. The normalization of sugardating within the homosexual environment can affect the daily lives of young men allowing them to step into a social context, where their sexual behaviors are generally not stigmatized. Nevertheless, the heteronormative understanding of sugardating, seems to cause young men feel compelled to keep sugardating hidden. This emphasizes that the reactions of their surroundings have an impact on their experience and understanding of sugardating. The second theme ‘sexualization of adolescents’ concludes that young male sugardaters experience their young age as desired erotic element in homosexual sugardating relationships. This results in a normalization of age-related asymmetrical relationships, thus making them keen to engage in sugardating relationships voluntarily, despite unpleasant experiences.
Another reason for engaging in sugardating relationships is expressed in the third theme ‘more wants more’, which concludes that material goods play a decisive role for the young men’s choice to sugardate, allowing them to gain a higher social status.
The fourth theme ‘loss of control and boundary pushing’ concludes that younger men have a higher risk of losing control and exceeding own boundaries because of their young age, lack of sexual experience and lack of mutual expectations between young men and sugardaddies. By receiving financial compensation or-/and gifts from sugardaddies, young male sugardaters have an increased risk of experiencing transgressive behavior, because the sugardaddies feel the right to control the relationship. Furthermore, the prospect of achieving financial compensation or-/and gifts makes it difficult for young men to set boundaries. Young male sugardaters seem to have lower hierarchical power in the sugardating relationship. Therefore, sugardating is considered to be an exchange that must accommodate sugardaddies both sexually and emotionally, resulting in a normalization of the transgressive behavior towards them, leading to negative consequences for the young men. The fifth theme ‘grey area prostitution’ concludes that young male sugardaters experience that the line between prostitution and sugardating is hard to define, however there seems to exist a general reluctancy among the informants to be characterized as a prostitute. This reluctance is caused by a need to maintain a positive self-understanding.
The sixth theme ‘double life’ concludes that self-stigmatization depends on whether young men understand sugardating as part of their identity. Self-stigmatization can affect their daily lives poorly, since it forces the young men to keep sugardating secret.
In conclusion, sugardating can lead to a process producing a string of bad circumstances which over time can lead to social vulnerability hence existing social work initiatives should be optimized. An optimization of existing initiatives will help professionals mitigate any derived consequences and/or social issues regarding homosexual sugardating. Moreover, it will contribute to destigmatizing young male sugardaters and contribute to making it feel more legitimate and safer for those to seek help.


LanguageDanish
Publication date1 Jul 2022
Number of pages86
ID: 471674955