Google Bans Sugar Dating Apps From Google Play Store

The tech giant says the change is per its updated "Inappropriate Content" policy

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Android users will have to seek sugar elsewhere (like a web browser.)
Carmen Martinez Torron @superkarmen

Google is cracking down on sugar dating, and beginning in September, Android users seeking what are often referred to in the sugar dating space as “mutually beneficial arrangements” will no longer be able to download apps designed to help sugar daddies (or mamas) find sugar babies from the Google Play store.

This change is part of a handful of updates Google recently published, and reflects changes to the Play store’s “Inappropriate Content policy” designed to police sexual content. Per Google’s updated guides, as reported by Android Police, “We’re updating the Inappropriate Content policy to institute new restrictions on sexual content, specifically prohibiting compensated sexual relationships (i.e. sugar dating).”

Sugar dating apps are indeed a thing, because in our post-Tinder era, there’s a niche dating app for literally any kind of dating you could possibly imagine. Seeking Arrangement, which actually pre-dates the advent of dating apps and launched as a website back in 2006, is among the most famous, though multiple others have cropped up in the wake of Seeking’s success. While many sugar dating arrangements do include a financial component, the terms of any arrangement vary significantly on an individual basis, and direct “play for play” encounters are generally discouraged as most sugar dating platforms take care to differentiate themselves from escorting services and other sex work providers.

Naturally, sex work does occur on sugar dating apps, because sex work occurs everywhere all the time. But sugar dating is designed to sit in the legal grey area between sex work and generosity, and most sugar dating platforms would staunchly deny that the “mutually beneficial” arrangements to which they play host represent “compensated sexual relationships.”

Whether or not sugar dating is or should be considered sex work is a long, divisive and incredibly nuanced argument for another day. But one thing that’s certain is that, like sex work, sugar dating has been around in some form or other since long before there were apps or online platforms to streamline the process, and will continue regardless of any attempted internet policing.

Of course, just because the apps will no longer be available doesn’t mean the platforms themselves are going anywhere. Sugar daters will still be able to access their online sugar dating platform of choice in a web browser, or simply resort to seeking sugar arrangements on traditional dating apps, which, apparently unbeknownst to Google, are already filled with sugar daters as well.

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