A collaboration between Roskilde University, Aarhus University and the counselling service for young people regarding buying and selling sex, RedenUng. In addition, the project has established partnership with the following organizations that work with marginalized youth: Headspace, The Danish Red Cross Youth, Børns Vilkår, U-turn, SSP Ballerup and De Unges Hus.
Over the past few years sugar dating has received a lot of media attention and the number of profiles on known Danish sugar dating websites have increased from 8.000 in 2014 to 78.000 in 2017. Yet research on sugar dating in Denmark is still very limited and because of that, the knowledge base for the few existing efforts offered to sugar daters are inadequate. In order to understand why young people sugar date as well as develop new efforts, we need knowledge regarding their different reasons to start sugar dating and the problems they experience.
This project is the first combined qualitative and quantitative research into sugar dating in Denmark, including research into young people’s motives for exchanging sex for money or gifts, their social background as well as the problems they experience. Furthermore, the project contributes to both the development of a new field of practice and a new field of research.
Recent study from RedenUng (2018) and other practitioners indicate that young homosexual males and young people with a minority background are among today’s sugar daters, and the project will therefore introduce an intersectional perspective on sugar dating. This perspective makes it possible to understand marginalization among sugar daters as an interplay between inequality related to gender, social background, age, ethnicity and sexuality that makes some young people especially vulnerable and calls for specific social efforts. With the use of questionnaires, interviews and fieldwork among young sugar daters, the project will gather knowledge on these aspects as well as the different types of sugar dating, on a continuum from dating to conventional prostitution. This will make it possible to identify primary target groups for future efforts based on their motives, marginalization and the problems they experience. Throughout the project, a field of practice will be developed by sharing knowledge, establishing new contacts and social efforts through partnerships between RedenUng and key organizations who work with marginalized youth. The knowledge this project produces may contribute to the development of social efforts that can help young people who are marginalized by giving them access to specialized help and constructive communities.