An increasing number, according to the owners of websites that broker such hook-ups, have taken to the web in search of online suitors or wealthy benefactors who, in exchange for sex, companionship, or both, might help with the bills.The past few years have taken an especially brutal toll on the plans and expectations of 20-somethings."Over the past few years, the number of college students using our site has exploded," says Brandon Wade, the 41-year-old founder of Seeking Arrangement.Of the site's approximately 800,000 members, Wade estimates that 35 percent are students.NEW YORK -- On a Sunday morning in late May, Taylor left her Harlem apartment and boarded a train for Greenwich, Conn.She planned on spending the day with a man she had met online, but not in person.While he summered on Martha's Vineyard, she'd likely pass another July and August working retail in Times Square. ("Taylor" is the pseudonym she uses with men she meets online.
"I just wanted to get it over and done with as quickly as possible," recalls Taylor, forcing out a nervous smile.But once on the train and no longer worried for her safety, she started to agonize over what she had just done. Jack isn't the name that appears on his American Express black card, but an identity he uses when shopping online for companionship and sex.Jack says he meets up twice a week with a young woman from Seeking Arrangement.He typically forks over about 0 a night -- and that's not including lavish dinners at Daniel or shopping excursions on Madison Avenue."Unlike a traditional escort service, I was surprised to find such an educated, smart population," says Jack, during cocktail hour recently at the Ritz-Carlton in Manhattan.
Taylor, a 22-year-old student at Hunter College, had confided in her roommate about the trip and they agreed to swap text messages during the day to make sure she was safe.