After having over 200 casual encounters (and counting) under his belt, a veteran of the Craigslist Casual Encounters section (where people go on to meet with strangers and have anonymous sex) outlines all of the best how-tos and don't-dos of one of the most infamous places on the internet. From what all the lingo means, to what kind of posts to stay away from, to how to fish through the best responses, here's a beginner's guide on cruising the Craigslist personals section with success. For more dating ideas, check out this list of the Best Dating Sites. Good luck and be safe.
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
Craigslist Mostly Sucks For Straight People
Straight people have it way easier than us gay people in most respects. You can get married, aren't hated by religious nutjobs and your days all probably end a lot sooner than ours do.
Homegirl on the left can do a lot better than that
However, when it comes to getting casual online sexual hook ups, we have it SO much easier than you (or, since this is all about craigslist, I'll just say Str8s, to keep with the lingo.)
Women by and large just don't go looking for casual sex like men do, most likely because they can, for the most part, get it on the street fairly easily if they're looking for a man. So while there is a section for Women Seeking Men (W4M), even for a casual encounter they are likely expecting dinner and drinks first, and the appearance of respectability.
Also, most women posting on casual encounters are A: Hookers or B:Girls operating webcams they expect you to pay for (aka spam).
The reason so many str8 men indulge their bi-curiosity (which you will come to learn and learn well throughout this piece) on Craigslist is that they simply get fed up looking for women only to get scammed over and over again. Most posts by men under M4W go ignored or are only answered by the previously mentioned hookers and webcam girls, and sometimes the occasional horribly unfortunate-looking real woman looking for a casual good time. it's like seeing a unicorn, only if unicorns looked a little more like this little guy.
And yet, you always have to send them pics first
I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but most women actually looking for sex on Craigslist (from everyone I know who's actually met up with one) really aren't the type to socialize beyond a certain point or even know to look (or groom) past a certain... hygiene level.
I'm not saying it is impossible to meet an attractive woman on CL, I suppose if you keep trying it'll eventually happen. But same goes with meeting anyone you'll find attractive in pretty much any situation.
Don't expect success on your first try, your second or your twentieth. That's really just the way it is. In the meantime, there are plenty of us gay guys on M4M who might be happy to take care of your needs. And you don't even have to buy us a drink.
Know Your Craigslist Terminology
We live in an age of abbreviated words and phrases, mostly due to the wonderful world of the internet, which is still something "new", I don't care how many of you kids grew up with it. Anyway, no place on earth exemplifies this culture of abbreviation more than the Craigslist personals section, or the "Casual Encounters" section.
There are several CL shorthand terms, but I'd say these are some of the essentials. For example, NSA does not refer to the National Security Agency on Craigslist, it means No Strings Attached. DDF means "drug and disease free" (this is big in M4M encounters. Oh, M4M is Men for Men btw. You do know what btw is though right??)
HWP is Height/Weight Proportionate, which is just a fancier way of saying "I’m not built, but I’m not fat."
ISO is In Search Of.
Over in straight craigslist land, BBW is Big Beautiful Women.
ABR/ANR = Adult Breastfeeding Relationship/Adult Nursing Relationship. (And you say we gays like weird sex sh*t. Pfffft.)
After you know the lingo it's really just about making a post, including an image and waiting for fish to bite. Having a picture on there is really important, as a lot of people filter out the submissions without photos.
Much dumber people than you and I have figured out how to do this, so I'm going to focus on how not to make horrible mistakes while using this... resource. Starting with the people to avoid at all costs...
If there is one CL abbreviation that you want to avoid, it would be the one in entry #3....
Avoid PNP Listings
PNP, in craigslist parlance, stands for "party 'n play" which stands for sex while high on drugs. And 90% of the time, that drug refers to crystal meth.
While PNP could technically refer to marijuana, the average stoner will usually just say "420 Friendly" instead.
Now, I’m not gonna say I’ve never hooked up with someone on tweek; as a nite owl it’ll happen from time to time even though I don't go out looking for it.
And as twitchy and annoying as they can be... the plus side is that they last a long time. For someone like me who hates quickies, I suppose that can come in handy. But that kind of weirdly numb stamina can also be detrimental.
If you’re the bottom (straight people: bottom means the person who is, how would we say, "receiving") one of the problems hooking up with tweekers is that the speed they are taking prevents them from finishing quickly. So they can bang away, turn it over and then bang even harder until the condom literally breaks and then you’ve just had unprotected intercourse with a junkie. From Craigslist.
And if they’re on meth, they’re almost certainly a junkie… pretty much no one does that kind of thing on just a "recreational" basis.
"Oh, you know, just thinking about work!
Also, anyone looking for "Tina" or wanting to party with "Tina" -that's just another word for meth.
Anyone using a random capital letter T in an ad is looking to get high.
Example: leT's have fun TonighT= let's get high and screw all night
For those of you wondering why meth is referred to as Tina, it sort of stands for one-sixTEENth of an ounce, a common amount to buy. "Teenth", over time, evolved into just "Tina".
People Looking For Generous Men Are Prostitutes
Whenever you see an ad on craigslist advertising someone looking for "generous men" or just "gen," it can only mean one thing: The person placing the ad is a prostitute, and "generous" is just thinly veiled code for "give me money to let you do funny stuff to me". Please excuse my adult language.
While all manner of sexual proclivities are widely available on Craigslist, the truth is prostitution is still illegal in this country, and any advertisement looking explicitly for payment for sex will be pulled by the moderators on craigslist.
So, 21st century people of the night get around this by saying "looking for generous or gen."
Also, the word "roses" is code for dollars.
So when a post says "I’ll blow you for fifty roses" well…now you know they ain’t really looking for flowers from Conroy's. Also, anyone using dollar signs in their po$ts are also prostitutes. So if it says something like "Looking For Nice Guy$" you’d best move on, unless you’re willing to get your wallet out, and also run the risk that the ad is bait for a sting operation.
You have been warned.
Age Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Number
…except on Craigslist.
Look, I’m generally against lying in one’s ads. But there is one place where it can be ok to lie, its about age. If you’re 23 and look 23, then by all means post your real age in your ad. But general Craigslist rule of thumb #1: Post as the age you think you look like, not what age you actually are. It's not like you want to show those people your ID anyway.
Everyone has a perception of what a particular age looks like. If someone sees the age of say, 46 in your ad headline and decides that’s too old for them based on what they think 46 looks like, and most people think you’re 38? Then post as 38. This isn’t like lying about disease status or something. It's not necessarily going to "hurt" anybody.
If you’re a forty year old man who looks younger, the post younger. Look, I’m 37, and I’ve been decreasing my age in ads by five years since I started using CL. It isn't about vanity or anything, but I look/dress/act younger than I really am so why not use it to my advantage?
On the flip side, I have a friend who actually adds years to his age when posting ads, as he is losing his hair and appears older than he actually is. This is one of the reasons he's a great person. That is equally smart and considerate, because its better to look at an ad and say "well, that guy looks great for 43" than "that guy looks to old to be 34"
The one time it is totally NOT cool to lie about your age? When you’re underage and posing as an adult. You can totally ruin someone’s life that way, so just keep it in your pants til you’re 18, or mess around with other people your own age please.
The New 18
Side note: Lying about your race is ok too sometimes. If you’re Latino but look anglo/white for example, just say white in your ad. Aesthetics are about visuals not about facts. This isn't a US Census form... post what you look like, not necessarily what you really are.
Just be honest
Sadly, when using CL one must expect serious flakage, meaning a lot of people just won't show up or be all that reliable. For every successful CL casual encounter I have had, there is an equal amount of times were I make plans with someone and they chicken out or just fall of the face of the earth.
Lots of people get off on the thrill of setting up an anonymous sexual encounter, but while they get turned on by the thrill of the hunt they often have zero intention of actually meeting. Or maybe they do mean to meet up, only to freak out at the last minute.
Whatever the reason, it happens and happens a lot. Most of the time these people never have the courtesy to even email you or text you with a simple "I’m sorry, I’ve changed my mind" –they simply never show up or answer emails. It’s a very sh*tty thing to do, but it happens a lot. A lot.
CL is a numbers game; for every hottie that you might meet and gives you a fun time, you’ll have an equal number of outright flakes. Just know this fact going into it. It never stops being annoying, but it helps when getting ready for one of these arrangements that there is always at least a 50/50 chance that person just won't show up.
If you're really looking to give this a whirl, assume that everyone is just as nervous as you are. Kind of like when you're around bears, only without the mauling (but sometimes with an equal amount of body hair).
Develop A Thick Skin
No matter how hot you think you are, you are simply not gonna be everyone’s type. When you send someone a picture of yourself to someone and they politely say ‘thanks, but we’re not a match" just be gracious and move on.
While rejection is always damaging to your ego, don’t be a dick to them and send them a s**tty response back just because you’re not their type. And for that matter, if you send your pic to someone and they don’t email back… that means they’re not into you. They're not busy and they're not getting back to you "in a few hours". Just accept it. It’s a sh*tty, passive aggressive way people let each other know they're not into the other, but "it is what it is," as they say.
Just develop a thick skin and move on and don’t let it bug you.
On the same token, if you post an ad and someone hideous answers you, be polite when saying no. No one likes to be made to feel like they're ugly, treat others the way you want to be treated because everyone on Craigslist is not only just as fragile as you are, but even more so. It's a very vulnerable place. So be nice.
When I first started cruising M4M, I use to take every rejection personally, but since then I’ve had so many hotties that were WAY out of my league that I met through CL it isn’t even funny. It's hilarious. And I laugh about it nightly.
The old cliché of "If at first you don’t succeed…" is truest on CL. Well, on M4M, anyways.
Just keep trying and eventually you’ll hit the sex jackpot. But rejection is just part of the process.
Don't take it personally. Christina Aguilera says we're all beautiful.
Be Realistic About What Ads You Answer
If you see an ad with someone who has the body and face of a Greek God or Goddess, and you're average or below average (that's most of us) you can go ahead and try and answer that ad, but be realistic about what to expect.
Super Hot people usually only wanna screw around with other Super Hot people. If you post your own ad, and one of those super hotties answer, then great. Go for it. Sometimes it'll happen. But most of the chiseled perfect men only want to make sweet sweet love to their mirror.
And for you straight men looking under w4m, if they look like a porn star, it probably IS a pic of a porn star lifted off some website.
The notion of some hot sexy woman posting a pic on CL is all but ridiculous. If you answer that ad and end up in a Human Centipede type situation or something, you kind of deserve it.