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Craigslist Casual Encounters

Craigslist Casual Encounters: A New(ish) Sexual Frontier

I wonder how many people Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has helped to find an apartment, sell a guitar . . . or hook up.

Besides its helpful housing, for sale, and job sections, Craigslist has a personals section that caters to every predilection, ranging from the strictly platonic to relationship seekers to Casual Encounters — its anonymous sex hookup section.

Sometimes dangerous and often disappointing, Casual Encounters is nevertheless part of what gives the Craigslist personals section higher traffic than other online personals sites — including, eHarmony, and Yahoo personals.

"Our users like the ability to be both candid and, initially, anonymous," says Newmark matter of factly about Casual Encounters, which accounts for 2 percent of all Craigslist postings.

In a recent New York Times trend piece, 100 or so users were interviewed about their experiences and provided a peek into who posts and answers those ads: Craigslist Casual Encounters attracts a gamut, from "desperados" to prostitutes and spammers and thrill-seeking hotties. Click here to


Nola, a 42-year-old saleswoman in Manhattan, seeks men who will meet her in a public place, so she can go to the bathroom, take her underwear off, and hand it to them in an envelope — for a fee. Melvin, a 35-year-old divorcé, recently made the mistake of going to a woman's apartment before meeting her in public, finding that she was insecure about her weight and trying to hide it by turning out the lights.

And then there's someone like Michael, a handsome artist who claims, "I've met some extraordinarily beautiful women, had a few extraordinary sexual encounters that made my teeth itch and my brain sweat, put me in states of weird contemplation like, 'My God, I’ve never experienced that before.'"

Casual Encounters has been around since 2000 and has probably changed the way a lot of sexually frustrated people deal with dry spells. The question is — does it work? And is it healthy for the parties involved?


Join The Conversation
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
I disagree that you are more likely to get an STD from someone you know. Give me a break. If you are willing to play russian roulette with your safety, more power to you. I hope the sex is worth it.
oni1 oni1 8 years
jessy777 jessy777 8 years
I use Craigslist to find apartments, jobs and used furniture. I do not need it to find a sexual encounter. To each their own but it seems like it might be more dangerous than other online social networks because of the lack of accountability involved in a posting. This just isn't for me.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
Not judgment, realism. Check out the headlines today...some medical student in Boston murdered a woman he met on Craigslist and is being looked at for other instances of robbery and assault against women he met there. Why do people play games with their safety? I feel the same way about going home with a stranger you meet at a have NO idea what you are getting yourself into. Rent the movie "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" will cure anyone of one night stands with strangers, trust me.
lindssaurussss lindssaurussss 8 years
i dont think i would go to craigslist to get any.. but cheers to those who shrug off the judgements.
SeaAre86 SeaAre86 8 years
I would never find someone through craigslist.. Gross. although I will admit that I look at them sometimes because their descriptions amuse me..
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I know Craigslist has probably gotten asked or sued about this before, but...if you charge fees for sexual activity, isn't that prostitution? Which, last I checked, was still illegal in most states and cities. Isn't there a better way to deal with sexual frustration, though? Invest in a good sex toy (or 4). Or at least hook up with people you somewhat know. At least that way you can track the STD trail if/when you should develop one/some. :\
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I have a soft spot in my heart for Craig's List because it helped me find my house, some furniture, and daycare facility. I think people who do this are crazy but no more crazy than folks who pick people up in bars.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
Why doesn't Craig just file it under Seeking STDs?
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Per usual, gross. I don't get why people don't care about their health.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
No thanks for me, but if it works for the people using it, more power to them.
greenapples1987 greenapples1987 8 years
Sounds hott to me, although I'm in a relationship if I was not then I would prolly want to hook up with someone.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Just another reason for anyone looking for a real relationship to avoid Craig.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
"Casual encounters" definitely aren't anything new; Craiglist is just one of the newer mediums for connecting with people. Personal ads in print publications have been around for a long time. I also don't think most of the people using this part of Craigslist are there because of a dry spell. Most of them probably just enjoy casual sex or are discreetly stepping out on their partners.
bethsuga1 bethsuga1 8 years
Dan Savage has a lot of really great advice about how to make hook-ups via craigslist safer. there is always an element of risk but i dont see it being much different that going home with someone you just met at a bar or through an online dating website
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