I Did It For Science by Grant Stoddard


To have a "casual encounter" via Craig's List, a web site where one can buy, sell and/or use anything and anyone with impunity.


State your hypothesis in the form of a prediction that can be verified by the results of the experiment.


Hirsute? Hung like a beer can? Horny and aching for sadistic nipple play? If you fit any of these descriptions , or any others in between , I suggest you stop reading and go to the Casual Encounters section of Craig's List, an online bulletin board where armies of people yearn to hook up in a wide spectrum of ways. Urban America has an itch that really, really needs to be scratched. Like, right now! No lurkers! No time-wasters!

Chat rooms and online personals may have simplified the costly, elaborate social dance that once preceded boot-knocking, but judging from what I've heard on the young urbanite grapevine, Casual Encounters might be the ultimate in this trend's evolution. It provides an ambiguity-free forum for sex, no strings attached. My friend Simone, an attractive, 27-year-old Ivy League grad, raves about CE because she can't stand structured personals websites and, she insists, "bars are for drinking."

But can it really be that easy: post an online ad and get a made-to-order sexual experience? Can fucking really be that anonymous, convenient and hassle-free? If so, the men and women of Casual Encounters might be sexual pioneers. If people really are deserting the dating pool in droves, this could be my most fulfilling study so far. Right?

Please list all the materials required for this experiment (including, if applicable, how they were obtained).

Computer (1)
High-speed Internet access
Coffee (1 qt.)




In this portion of your report, you must describe, step-by-step, what you did in your lab. It should be specific enough that someone who has not seen the lab can follow the directions and recreate the same lab.

In the beginning, the stigma attached to online dating guaranteed that only chubby medievalists with unfortunate skin conditions deigned to search for their soul mates via 9600-baud modem. Then , suddenly and against all odds , they started getting more action than R. Kelly at a Delia's outlet store. In a few short years, socially adept people were flocking to online personals sites, professing their love for long walks on the beach, "a sense of humor" and spooning. All of this, of course, was codified chatter for hooking up.

Enter Craig's List. Founded by ex-software engineer Craig Newmark in 1995 as a venue for apartment ads, the site gained notoriety for its "Missed Connections" section, where everyday citizens could cash in on the prolonged leer they shared with a stranger on the subway platform: "Saw you on the downtown N/R at Union Square. You remind me of my dead girlfriend. Would love to meet for drinks," etc.

Fast forward to this year, and the zeitgeist turned its greasy eye to Casual Encounters, a.k.a. the sex-wanted section. As for the ads' entertainment value, I'll say this: start reading and say goodbye to whatever you were planning to do for the next four to six hours. Outside of Naomi Campbell's autobiography, "Swan," it is the most fascinating, horrifying thing you'll experience in print.

Here are some recent highlights:

- The personal assistant to a "classy, Manhattan-based female celebrity" posted an ad seeking five or six guys to be on call to service her boss with sensual massage, oral/penetrative sex and "various other activities." The dirty half-dozen would be paid a weekly stipend, plus a fee for each individual act. They would also be tested for STD's on the classy diva's dime. I applied, mostly to see if the classy mystery woman is who I think it is. If you too have a hunch, send your nominations to lizawithaz@nerve.com.

- A self-professed young, attractive, female Williamsburg resident wants anonymous men to come to her apartment once a week over an eight-week period. The lucky applicant would be manually relieved by the woman, who would catch the fruits of her labor in a Tupperware container. Each week she will put the container in the freezer. On the tenth week she'll thaw out the accumulated jism and guzzle it before your very eyes. From the ad, I'm not sure what kind of reaction she's hoping to elicit.

- A "nice guy" from Bay Ridge asks; "On your period? Give me a call and let's examine the possibilities."

- A twenty-eight-year-old man is looking to fulfill a fantasy whereby he goes to see a "real" doctor who, in addition to taking his blood pressure, checking his reflexes, shining a light in his ears etc., includes some more unusual examinations not covered by most plans. These include the measuring of the patient's penis , "Doctor will then comment on diminutive size of penis" , and a series of tests to ascertain "anal tightness."

- Little-known fact: The prince of darkness lives in Southern Connecticut. He writes, "Satan seeks F minion for total depravity in the abyss of hell... Leave your morals at the gate."

- And my personal gross-out favorite. "Suck 'n' dump. Italian with buzz cut seeks to suck your dick while you take a shit."

I'm intrigued, to say the least. People say that the seething sexual underbelly of New York City is long gone, but perhaps it just evolved. Giuliani might have moved peep arcades and hookers out of Times Square, but his iron rule couldn't extend to cyberspace.

I have empirical evidence of this: several of my friends have had success on Craig's List. And not my scary friends, mind you. Simone explains what led her to Casual Encounters and a zipless fuck with a good-looking party planner in the East Village: "I was sitting at my desk one afternoon, thinking about recent dates I'd been on and thought, 'What the hell , nice guys are great, but sometimes you just want to screw." My friend Jeff, a graphic designer in his twenties, told me that he used the site to hire a clean-cut college couple who performed a live, hourlong sex show on his living-room couch , it was one of the hottest experiences he's ever had. I also know an attractive couple who use Craig's List to find hot girls for threesomes; they assure me that downtown girls post there all the time, and they've assembled a rotating cast of nubile characters for their devious ends.

Everyone is talking about Casual Encounters. Some people are actually having them. So why can't I? I think I want to try something freaky, something that maybe wouldn't fly with girls I date.

Actually, that might be tough.






Commentarium (36 Comments)

Sep 26 03 - 12:49am
jmj

and I thought it was just me.

Sep 25 03 - 2:47pm
mm

I KNEW it, I knew it....great reading but all false promises..I wondered who hooked up, I bet your experience is typical...

Sep 25 03 - 7:21pm
j

I spent this past summer, restless and frustrated by a rather long "dry spell" due to feeling damaged by my last relationship, feeding my insomnia and and obsessive tendancies by weeding through the sleaze on CE. I even posted a few ads of my own seeking men, stating various desires (oral pleasure, spanking and phone sex) and got a litany of replies. The oral post was particularly overwhelming. This is, of course, because I'm a woman which makes me a prime target. Oh, just remembered, I also posted twice seeking women and got *nothing*. I've also looked for women seeking women on CE and found only a smattering of ads, none of which worked turned out anything to my satisfaction. Of the, literally, hundreds of responses that I got from men only a relative few were worth following up on and many of them were downright disgusting by my standards (or perhaps by most people's). However, this has also resulted in some great fun with several "no strings attached" adventurous types that were to my liking and I don't regret a minute of it. It's been good therapy for me after the depression that followed the relationship I mentioned above and began a new chapter in my life that will inevitably end at some point and begin a new one that I'm hoping might include a substantial relationship. But for now I'm just having a jolly good time. Bars *are* for drinking and since I don't drink any more they're not even useful for that in my case.

One more point. I asked this guy who I'm currently encountering with why he responded to my spanking ad since there hasn't been a whole lot of spanking involved in our affair and he told me that it was more because he liked the way it was written. He usually only surfs CE for sheer entertainment purposes but something that has even a modicum of imagination to it is rare. A couple of others have made similar comments to me. I'm no literary genius but there are some who still appreciate signs of intelligent life in the land of casual sex. Quality counts sometimes even seediest of places.

Sep 25 03 - 10:36pm
GC

Nice going Grant - while you're at it, I think you should break down the mathematical probability that anyone using NERVE to try and meet somebody will actually do it, the whole macro view of sperm v egg attached... Know what else? Why don't you figure out a man's fair chance of getting casual poon if he A) Doesn't try to get it online, plus B) Doesn't go to bars, since bars are for drinking, lol... No, I've got it, do a documentary and follow a group of average dudes around until they've all offed themselves. That'd be super.

Sep 26 03 - 7:52pm
NK

My friend G--- and I have both had success on Casual Encounters. We live in San Francisco (the origin of Craigslist) and in Febuary of 2001, G responded to an ad on Casual Encounters. Something to the effect of "girl not getting it enough from her boyfriend.. looking for casual fuck." G sent a pic, got a response, and a date was arranged. The girl was a bit flaky, rescheduling the date and stuff, saying she didn't want to get caught.

In the meantime, I was feeling rather competitive and responded to an ad on in casual encounters on Feb. 13th, about a girl looking for a Valentine's Day date. I met the girl on the holiday after work, and although I wasn't super-enthusiastic about how hot she was, I was not going to give-up (I wish I always had this attitude). I brought her home. We fucked in my unmade bed and then the shower. It was OK and then weird afterwards. She wanted to stay and I wanted her to go. She left, I walked her to the MUNI stop.

A couple days later G finally meets this girl, he has sex with her, and their relationship quickly wanes.

All in all I would say we both had a good experience.

BTW, I've yet to get laid off friendster. I had one date, which went fairly well, but I've all but given up in exasperation. You would think that responding in earnest to girls who have good taste in literature and film would work, but I have had enough no-responses to give up in frustration.

Sep 26 03 - 8:43pm
NMF

Grant, you are TERRIFIC!

Sep 29 03 - 7:06pm
MBD

Yikes, for at least 30 years sex ads and comeons have always been swamped with lonely, usually unattractive men looking for young women. Hell, any half way attractive woman can get picked up in almost any bar or honky tonk in the country. Dont men realize that many phone sex operators are men posing as hot young babes? Or grossly overweight women who do NOT resemble the come on photos in the sex papers? Sad, sad, sad.

Sep 29 03 - 7:17pm
BCE

Back in the mid 70s I met a buffed young guy around my age who like me, was curious about gay sex. I met him at a beach resort and although we were both straight, we ended up in his room for some hot man on man fun. Seeing our naked selves in the mirror, both of us tanned all over, was a real turn on. It was the first and only gay sex for me, but seeing our hard ons and teasing and licking his body and cock was a rush. I learned how to have anal sex with a girl friend with plenty of lube and patience, and I was astounded at the number of women who are curious about this besides lesbian sex with boyfriends as spectators. God, the sex parties that were out there after a day at a nude beach, back in the mid 70s! Some of the young babes could hardly wait to get to a party and show off their tanned buns and shaved pussies, besides perky nipples to be tweaked and licked. Ah, the memories.

Sep 30 03 - 2:52pm
MM

Great tale. It made me try out Craig's List. And I met a great guy in town for business just looking for someone to hang out with. Ended up having a great few days together. I even got very sick and he stayed and took care of me. I think I at the least found a friend in Philly. (I am in Dallas.)

Thanx, Craig's List! (for the great oral sex I got!!!)

Oct 01 03 - 10:06am
CAL

I saw Grant's varsity swimmer ad. I didn't respond, largely because my girlfriend would be upset but also because I have an average-sized cock.

Oct 02 03 - 2:45pm
jas

You're such a fucking funny writer- and I really enjoyed it- but I felt like it was sort of a cop out. Like ending stories in middle school with "and then she woke up, because it was just a dream," because your paper is late. You've got a following now Grant, I think everyone wanted to see you actually meet someone- I suppose that doesn't work when you're under deadline. And I guess it's better that you aren't dead or infected with the clap now. Funny funny.

Oct 03 03 - 4:49pm
a

Sooooo.....I take it you and your girlfriend broke up. Oh well. So much for your experiment with strap-on anal sex.

Oct 06 03 - 7:50pm
jsg

the author asks the hard question and then forgets it. his friends are succeeding, why cant he? i still want to know.
i also want to know how i can meet women like feedbacker j
9/25. do i have to leave portland boregon? i didnt meet them in the bay area either so its probably me not my location. altho the demographics are even worse here, on the casual encounters CL site, its only @1% purported women, and then you have to adjust for whores and men posing. the idea of answering one is almost laughable.
even the relationship area has 3X as many men. and my ahem wonderfully creative ads have dredged up a difficult (tiny) collection of mostly significantly overweight women. some of whom cant be bothered to read that i am a tall, obesity-phobic gym rat and perhaps their being 5'2" and outweighing me is likely to make this problematic.
before i left the bay area 3 years ago there was a popular rumor that there were at least three books being written about CL. anybody know if anythings gotten published?
peaslove@hotmail.com

Nov 05 07 - 5:44pm
DS

Very well written article. It was informative and eloquent. Please continue coming up with interesting topics such as this.

May 21 08 - 4:23pm
HC

I am a woman who actually has had experiences on Craigslist casual encounters. I actually prefer to answer ads not place them, because as you said the response is overwhelming. I like it because I am 38, a BBW and not all that actractive, but I seem to have my pick on guys on CL. I have met my share of weirdos, though. I don't answer/place on the pay for sex services because of the cop thing aspect.

May 21 08 - 4:23pm
HC

I am a woman who actually has had experiences on Craigslist casual encounters. I actually prefer to answer ads not place them, because as you said the response is overwhelming. I like it because I am 38, a BBW and not all that actractive, but I seem to have my pick on guys on CL. I have met my share of weirdos, though. I don't answer/place on the pay for sex services because of the cop thing aspect.

Jul 28 08 - 12:50am
AD

Grant,, That was a hilarious read!
I've been lurking about on CL for probably two weeks now,, and I basically had the same results. Prior to CL,, I had no idea that there were so many BI-women out there. Moreover,, that they ALL had "register for free" websites. WHO KNEW?!
Who knew that there was such an abundance of easy going, fun loving, carefree,, and open minded bi-chicks that don't wanna play head games out there?!?!?
PLUS,, possess the knack of website creation!
Astonishing. Thank you CL for bringing this to my attention.

Aug 28 08 - 3:07am
DW

ugh great review on criagslist. very true

Mar 06 09 - 2:35pm
BSA

I just spent the last 2 days doing the exact same thing. I googled this to see if others had the same results and voila, this was exactly what I was looking for. I emailed every single woman on the Casual Encounters and obtained the same results as this experiment did. This experiment is highly valid.

Jun 14 09 - 1:05am
at

looking for companion

Jun 14 09 - 1:15am
at

just setting here horny as hell would like to know if there are any woman out looking to see a 9 inch big black dick if so call me are email me musaa363@gmail.com or 516 581 7472 hurry i'am waiting

Jul 06 09 - 5:13pm
JJ

I enjoyed reading this :) I'm a young woman and tried using CL's casual encounters.. no luck. I only got responses from horribly unattractive men, and I'm not very picky when it comes to these things..

Sep 07 09 - 2:46am
JA

I just posted an ad on CL seeking a girl on campus for NSA. So far I have only received one response and the person is real. However, she is requesting money for her services. I specifically stated that no men, prostitutes, or fake ads are to respond.

Sep 08 09 - 12:49am
CW

I'll admit that it's possible to have a hook up on CL (because I have) but you've gotta do things right:

[Note: This is for guys looking for REAL women.]

-Scout the ads.
i.e. If the subjects says they're 21, but the post says 34 then skip it.

-If the post is in a quote. It means that it's copy and pasted.
i.e. "&?!

-Make sure they're in your city
i.e. w4m-suck in Boston
The ad reads: "I love the South Loop. Go Bears!"
Then you want to skip.

-The ad is too good to be true:
"Blow & go. Age/stats/location. I come in, you unzip pants, and I suck you down."
Translates: A dude, a prostitute, or a fake.

-Look at the pics and compare with what they post:
Pic: Brunette with green eyes.
Post: I'm a bombshell blonde, with DDs, and blue eyes.
Then skip it.

-Gives you a website:
____localsingles.org OR something like that.

Ok, so how do you find someone real?
-The real women aren

May 04 12 - 2:58pm
hanging

hi CW, "The real women aren"?... ...? :((

Oct 10 09 - 8:59pm
DH

I have been hooked on craigslist for a while now and will agree that is very hard to find someone that is real and not trying to sell their cam-sites. I did have some success though. My wife posted an ad in ce looking for another woman to join us as my birthday present. A couple days later a very attractive college girl responded. We emailed back and forth for about two weeks and then she came to our house. To say the least, it was a very good birthday. Since then we have had virtually no success.

Nov 28 09 - 7:26pm
wp

I have been working CE for a couple of years now in Austin, Texas. I have had 2 intimate CE's with women from the site and have a couple of friends that didn't get intimate. All answered my ads. One long term FWB CE actually came off of the "strictly platonic" section. All I said was that I was interested in just being friends but open to more if there is a connection. At the same time I have also had the same results as Grant. There are a lot of fake posters and a lot of fake repliers. Obviously, I don't have success all the time. Nothing good this weekend. But, like fishing, I get a good bite and even catch one now and then. I'm a male and competing with the posting in the m4w section is awful. Your ad will be buried on the 2nd page within 30 mins. And you have to have an original post that is not the routine "i wanna fuck" ads. I put a picture in my post, but not of me, usually a sunset or something. Having a pic, makes them curious to click and see what the pic is. You can have success on CE it just takes some creativity.

Jan 27 10 - 10:01am
FA

Thank you Grant for performing this valuable experiment. I performed a similar one this week in a smaller mid-Atlantic city, with much worse results: not a single reply from a real human being, not even a flake or pretend-woman. Every last one of the 40+ emails I got back (either contacting w4m or posting m4w) tried sending me to a "verification" site or an affiliate marketing scam. AFAICT, there are no females in this burg who use CE.

Jul 07 11 - 1:06pm
Philly Girl

We do exist! Well..maybe it's just me, haha

Jan 27 10 - 10:04am
FA

...nor any interesting weirdos, in a city reputedly known for such. But I did have a couple wild conversations with sexy Brazilian chatbots, who also linked me to credit card scams. :(

Mar 29 10 - 2:17am
DW

I'm loathe to report that pickings for lesbian encounters are as slim as encounters with straight women. If anyone would explain to me why this is, I'd be ecstatic.

May 21 10 - 3:32am
lizzie

@DW: because women simply don't crave for causal sex as much as men do, straight or lesbian don't make a difference.

May 22 11 - 8:45am
Just wasted 8 hours

Just finished responding to w4m c/l Denver ads for 4 hours x 2 days (Friday and Saturday). Finally got a response from a woman who asked "what's a template" (everything else responded with a link to a "verification" site). I sent her 1 pic and she never responded. Gotta love the odds. It's easier for me to stop 10 women on the street with "Excuse me miss, sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to tell you that I think you're absolutely..." That way I at least get coffee with 1/10 and lay 1/300. Instead of 0/100 in w4m. My ads 3 ads in m4w haven't done much better.

Jul 07 11 - 1:04pm
Philly Girl

I'm a 27 year old woman from Philly - I recently browsed the casual encounters section and decided to responded to a guy's post. If you're looking for sane guys, look for the posts that look real, and from people who are not asking for too much. If you go back and forth with someone in a couple of emails, you can usually tell if they're scum or just a normal person, looking for a little excitement. So after a bunch of emails back and forth (most not even talking about sex, but other hobbies and topics), we started talking through AIM (I know, it's so old school..haha). We exchanged a few pics, which of none were explicit, which was nice - because it shows who is respectful or not. So, now we are texting back and forth and looking to meet up in a public place just to see how it goes.. The most important thing to making a connection on casual encounters, is finding someone who you feel comfortable talking to. You should at least share a common bond, or be able to hold a decent conversation. Who knows; this guy may just end up being a good friend and nothing more. So, there ARE normal girls who browse the casual encounters. We are just very rare, so it's quite uncommon. Women really should think of doing this more often - we have a veritable pick of the litter! And we aren't all morbidly obese! :)

Aug 26 11 - 11:41am
Yup

I looked up girls about 4 years ago before they started flagging every single post in my area. I met a girl who had an ad up for this, and we dated for 4 years. The main reason we broke up was that she wouldn't move out of her hometown. Now...CL has run dry when I find that this might be fun as a rebound. I tend to imagine some right-wing conservative with too much time on his/her hands flagging every single post. Luckily, it isn't the only site - but this does work usually.

Feb 02 12 - 10:48pm
bicoc

I'm looking for a trany or hung blk coc in dallas tx 4693486478