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‘Sugardating’ in Denmark: Challenges and understandings

The Anthropology Departmental Seminar with Christian Groes, Roskilde University

26.06.2019 | Mia Korsbæk

Dato ons 13 nov
Tid 13:00 15:00
Sted Foredragssalen Moesgård, 4206/139

Abstract: Transactional sex and ‘sugardaddy’-relationships have been the focus of anthropological studies in several regions of the world, with a focus on gender, poverty, intimate exchange, kinship, age disparity and transmission of STDs. Only recently have scholars begun examining what this phenomenon means in a European context, where it seems to be increasingly popularized through media and online dating sites. This study of ‘sugardating among Danish youth’ is the first of its kind and the question is how to understand the growth of the phenomenon in a highly egalitarian and individualist welfare society. Looking at exchanges of sex and intimacy for money, gifts and material goods in Denmark, the research project takes as point of departure a continuum of intimate relationships, ranging from romance and ordinary dating to sugardating and escort prostitution or sex work. In order to achieve a preliminary understanding of sugardating, the project builds on theories of patron-client relationships, a search for alternative ‘father figures’ and gender roles, and the neoliberal individual’s use of erotic capital for recognition and upward mobility. Since the project is still ongoing the intention is not so much to present research results but to have a discussion around the theoretical and methodological challenges of studying sugardating and transactional sex in a Danish and European context.


Christian Groes is Associate Professor at Cultural Encounters, Roskilde University


He has published a number of articles in international anthropological journals regarding transactional sex, gender, kinship, eroticism, migration and exchange systems in the neoliberal age and he was the co-editor of ‘Affective Circuits: African Migrations to Europe and the Pursuit of Social Regeneration’ (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and ‘Intimate Mobilities: Sexual Economies, Marriage and Migration in a Disparate World’ (Berghahn, 2018).

Seminar, Antropologi