Dear Kiki: My roommate’s sugar relationships are getting sketchy

Questions about love and sex in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area can be sent to (queries can also be sent anonymously using this form). Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online.

Dear Kiki

Dear Kiki,

My roommate has a sugar daddy. When she first got started, she explained to me that she had an intimate relationship with an older man that also happened to buy her things and occasionally helped her pay her bills. At first, I was completely supportive, and even considered becoming a sugar baby as well. But then she started becoming obsessed. I noticed her sugar relationships started becoming less personal. Men would come and go without any promise of coming back. That alone wouldn’t be any concern to me, but I know that she was given money after each of those visits, and now my friend refuses to have any kind of intimate relationship with anyone unless there is a “mutually beneficial” aspect and she’s getting some sort of compensation. I’m beginning to wonder what the line between sugar relationships and escorting may be, and whether or not she has crossed it. How do I tell her that I am concerned for the way these encounters might negatively affect the way she loves herself and others in the future?

–– Sugar Baby’s Friend

Dear Baby’s Friend,

Mutually beneficial relationships are ideal — symbiotic. Each person gets what he or she wants. But humans are more complicated organisms, and often in personal relationships one person becomes a parasite and the other an injured host. But what happens when payments, benefits or contracts are involved? I imagine most sugar relationships resemble a prostitute-client transaction more than the romantic love of a couple. I imagine your roommate is couching her interactions so as not to be breaking the law. Relationships “with benefits” are not illegal.

You’re a good friend to worry about how being a sugar baby will affect her mental health and ability to form deep, meaningful relationships in the future. Unfortunately, she might take your concern as judgment. Or she may be aware of that potential and either isn’t afraid of it or doesn’t care. There is the possibility she feels trapped in the lifestyle she’s creating and might seek your guidance or help.

But what’s most important is how her lifestyle is affecting your living situation and/or friendship. Personally, I wouldn’t appreciate the comings and goings of random men in my house. And if your roommate is a true friend, she will appreciate your concerns and respect your needs and be a mutually beneficial person in your life.

— xoxo, Kiki

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 229.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!


July 2020 marks Little Village’s 19th anniversary. With our community of readers alongside us, we’ll be ready for what the next 19 have in store.



$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.