Craigslist “Casual Encounters” is for gay men, robots, says undercover reporter

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As attentive readers might have noticed, the Nerve editors have something of a fascination with sexually charged democracy of Craigslist. It can be wonderfully human and totally perverse — a Greek town-hall meeting with ecstasy in the punch. Which is why we were pleased, and a little jealous, when we found this piece. A brave writer at Mashable spent a full week as an embedded reporter in the world of Craigslist Casual Encounters the site’s weirdest, horniest corner — with the following mission:

I decided to dive into Casual Encounters — a section made for no-strings hookups — to see if any of what I assumed about that virtual place was true. Is it populated entirely by perverted sexual deviants, serial killers, prostitutes and scammers as rumors insist? Or can two regular people really make the connection that the section’s name suggests?

The answer is basically [spoiler alert!] "no" — if you are a heterosexual, non-robotic woman, at least. When posting as a man, the writer received about half a dozen responses a day  — mostly from scammers, hookers, and almost charmingly persistent gay men. When he posted as a woman  — a credible post with normal-looking pictures  — he averaged about a response per minute.

In a different part of the experiment, he spoke to some women who’d actually successfully used the site. The upshot for them, the few straight women out there actually looking to meet men, is that they’ve got the pick of the litter; most seemed to find it useful primarily for instances  — a kink or specific request  — that was a bit beyond what you could hope to find on a given night at a bar.

The take-away lesson is to be very discriminating and have something very specific in mind, Craigslist Casual Encounters is as good a place as any to find it. For women, that is. The take-away lesson for men is don’t lead with a picture of your junk. Everybody hates that.