One of my oldest childhood friends, for example, posted a Craigslist ad back in the mids and met her husband. Now they're expecting their second child! But answer the wrong ad, and there's a risk of being raped, murdered or falling into a sex-trafficking ring. As these ads go offline, we spoke to a year-old man in New York who used Craigslist's personal ads - specifically the casual encounters section - as a way of finding casual sex in his early 20s.
He spoke to us on condition of anonymity, because, well, that's what Craigslist personals were all about. It's part of what made them successful, he thinks. Unlike dating apps that often require being linked to a social media account, on Craigslist you could be nameless and Facebook-less. There's less stigma now about using dating sites or apps, but some people prefer to be anonymous.
And sometimes he didn't even get to see what they looked like. He estimates that he would answer hundreds of ads, which might net about 10 replies, which might then lead to one in-person interaction. That's a LOT of email. But the encounters were memorable. In one encounter, a woman insisted on having porn blasting the entire time. Another made him put on a blindfold the moment he arrived. He's not happy with Craigslist's decision, even though he's not using the platform anymore. He has a girlfriend now.
But there's a lot of people out there just looking for casual sex and some people find dating apps intimidating. He acknowledges that dating apps have lost a lot of the stigma they used to carry four or five years ago. What I remember is the dawning sense of power, the realization that I could order up sex, when desired, as easily and quickly as a pizza. He came to my dorm room and we rode up in the elevator together. I never even had to bother to put on shoes. I posted and responded to many ads over the 17 years since that first casual encounter.
Near-immediate, easy, anonymous, it served as a playground for my not-insubstantial id. All manner of perversions were laid bare, all interest groups represented.
Men sought women, women sought men, multiple men sought men, couples sought women and all other permutations one could calculate. It was an underbelly of sorts, but a beloved one.
Where else could a woman decide she might like to engage in some light bondage at 2 a. Even as technology advanced and others moved on to Tinder and other apps, I remained loyal to Craigslist, preferring the anonymity of the platform as well as the democratic base of people attracted by the free, low-commitment interface. The message users receive if they attempt to click on any of the personals sections reads:.