Lots of us have heard about ‘sugar daddies’, where a younger (often teenage) girl dates an older guy for money, gifts or other services like free transport. She might even be getting good school grades if she is dating a teacher. We mustn’t blame young girls who are in relationships with older men, and shouldn’t tell them to end their relationships: instead we can give young people information about relationships with sugar daddies and sugar mummies to help them understand the risks and why they might not be the healthiest relationships to be in.

These relationships can be problematic. The older person is usually in control of the relationship, and the younger person might depend upon them. Condom use can be difficult in these relationships because the younger person doesn’t always have enough power to insist on using them.  

As a mentor, your job isn’t to tell your young participants that their relationships are a bad choice or wrong – instead you can empower them to think about their relationships and change their behaviour themselves.

Example SMS:

What do you think about sugar daddies?  Tell us your thoughts.

Girls who date older guys are more at risk of HIV infection than those who date guys their own age.  Think about who you are dating and share your experiences.

Young girls may date older men because they get money or gifts. Look out for yourself and your friends…

Have you dated someone older or younger than you?  Tell us your experience (and don’t tell us their name!).

If you are worried about your friend or daughter’s relationship, give them chance to talk to you if they need it.