It was only after I spent an evening comforting a friend who had been dumped by a casual boyfriend (he had strung her along pretending he wanted more commitment than he really intended) that it dawned on me that paying to go on a date was a more honest way to conduct a non‑committal relationship.

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I was in my late twenties, a television producer, and fresh out of a suffocating three-year relationship with a man who drained both my time and my finances when I signed up. Instead, I fantasised about someone older, more sophisticated, more established.

And, if I’m being honest, someone with some money, too.

It felt such a naughty thing to do, typing “younger women for older men” into Google – but when I did, I found several dating sites that would help me find men of a certain age with whom to have some fun.

I joined two of them and for the first few months was like a kid in a sweetshop.

I went on as many dates with men in their mid-forties or above as I could arrange.

My dates began offering gifts – and monthly cash allowances – to see them on a more regular basis.

At first I was horrified, and deleted such messages which filled my inbox. But then I learnt that one of my dates – a handsome 45-year-old energy trader – paid all the other girls he went out with for the evening.

The non-exclusivity didn’t bother me – but I felt a mug for providing for free what he would have been willing to pay for.

When I joined my first sugar daddy dating website five years ago, it wasn’t to find someone to help pay the bills or provide me with a shopping allowance.

It was because of an innocent penchant for the older man.

Until this week, “modern” sugar daddy dating was barely known in Britain.