Modern Mating

When Technology and the Sexes Collide

Monday, April 17, 2006

Casual Encounters on Craigslist

Where daters can sort and search on match.com">Match.com, Craigslist offers immediate ad visibility – for free. As soon as you post your an ad on Craigslist, it goes to the top of the list where it will be viewed by anyone looking for such an encounter. This immediacy is important in the Casual Encounters section, because if you’re “lonely in Brooklyn right now”, your ad has the potential to be seen right away by someone who is “horny in Brooklyn.”

Though Craigslist offers more conventional types of personals, Casual Encounters offers the least ambiguity. With listings like “Bored in my hotel room, m4w”, “Rain doesn't bother me. Invite me over, and we can party and play - m4w” and “Really horny. Looking to meet up, mess around and have some fun – m4m” it is easy to know exactly what the advertisers are looking for.

In any given day in New York City, over 90% of the Casual Encounters ads are placed by men looking for company, split between the 70% of the ads from men looking for women (the “hope springs eternal” crowd), and the 20% of ads from men looking for other men (the group most likely to find what they’re looking for). The balance of the ads are placed by women – mostly women looking for men, though a small number of ads are placed by women looking for other women.

The posters are hopeful, though the men looking for women seem skeptical about the process. One fellow writes “Do women really respond to these things?”

The women who advertise on Casual Encounters appear to be split between the coyly commercial – prostitutes who use a subtle come on to entice men to respond – and the genuinely willing. One probable sex worker wrote “Hi fellas! I need to find a new lover. My current friend-with-benefits is never available. He's not dominant enough for my taste and he's selfish when it comes to taking care of my sexual needs-- plus its seems its only when it's convenient for him. He's adorable and has lots of stamina but he's young and inexperienced and I need a real man who knows how to take care of a real woman. Any takers with at least 7"? Send a pic and a blurb.”

A less entrepreneurial, but no less enterprising woman wrote, “My slumlord hasn't turned on the heat (bastard) and I'm freezing!! A casual encounters cliché, I know, but I really am looking for someone to come over and keep me warm! A hot makeout would do the trick, maybe more if you do a good job. If you brought over some soup and hot chocolate you'd be my best friend forever. Sorry to disappoint but I'm very normal. I’m attractive with long brown hair, green eyes, 135lbs, 5'7”. Looking for someone just as normal, cute, clean cut, in shape, great kisser, D&D free and all that good stuff... NO REPUBLICANS.”

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