Your chances of getting laid through Craigslist: A Bloggasm case study

Premise: I was surfing through the job listings at Craigslist, and inevitably wandered my way into the personals section, and became instantly fascinated with all the posts. I eventually made my way into the “Sex with no strings attached” section, and immediately wondered: Could this be real? Is it really this easy to get laid by simply logging in and making a post, when so many other people out there have to struggle to get laid the normal way? It didn’t take long to realize that for every female who posted, there were anywhere from ten to twenty males posting, and several of the posts mentioned that half the girls who posted were just spammers, which led me to believe that the ratio was even greater than that. So with this curiosity in mind, I set out to find out how hard it was to get laid using Craigslist, or rather, how many people actually responded to the “No strings attached” ads.

Methods of experimentation: I picked three cities: New York, Chicago, and Houston, and posted ads to each city, using different email addresses for each ad. For each city I posted four ads: One pretending to be a straight female looking for sex with a male, another one as a straight male looking for sex with a female, another as a bicurious male looking for sex with another male, and one as a bisexual female looking for sex with another female. I said basically the same thing in each ad and didn’t include a pic or much personal information, except that I had just moved into the city. I then sat back and let the emails build up in the inbox, and then went through every single one to assess the results, which are as follows.

Results: Here are the stats on how many people responded to each person.

New York:

Straight female looking to have sex with a male: 165 responses

Straight male looking to have sex with a female: 0 responses

Bi-curious male looking to have sex with a male: 9 responses

Bisexual female looking to have sex with a female: 2 responses

Chicago:

Straight female looking to have sex with a male: 200 responses

Straight male looking to have sex with a female: 0 responses

Bi-curious male looking to have sex with a male: 6 responses

Bisexual female looking to have sex with a female: 2 responses

Houston:

Straight female looking to have sex with a male: 54 responses

Straight male looking to have sex with a female: 1 response

Bi-curious male looking to have sex with a male: 10 responses

Bisexual female looking to have sex with a female: 1 response

Interesting observations:

1. For the New York and Chicago postings where I pretended to be a straight female looking for a male, I had over twenty emails after only three or four minutes of posting. The rate of emails slowed down as the day went on when the post got pushed further and further down on the page.

2. I was overwhelmed with how many straight males simply included pictures of their penises and nothing else. Were they really expecting that a girl would see a picture of their penis and exclaim “That’s the guy for me!”?

3. Some men wrote really short, one-lined notes, while others gave entire biographies of themselves. One guy included a 2,000-word erotica short story to “get [her] in the mood.”

4. Many men included their full name and face pics, and it wasn’t hard to find most of them using Google.

5. Two of the men who responded were aides to Congressmen and bragged about it in their emails. Other people told me their professions.

6. Several men admitted that they were married or in a relationship and were looking to cheat on their significant others.

7. Home phone numbers were often included in the emails.

8. Some men tried to impress the girl with how witty they were, I guess as an attempt to stand out in the crowd.

9. If you haven’t gotten the point yet, most of the people gave away an ungodly amount of personal info away to an anonymous person on the internet.

10. The post from the straight male looking for a female got spammed the most by people trying to advertise their dating websites and webcams.

11. Many of the people who answered the ad for the bi-curious man claimed to be straight, which means that a lot of bi-curious males are surfing through craigslist to have their first experiences.

12. Most the responders were between twenty and forty years-old.

Conclusions/advice:

1.The first thing that always came to my mind was the fact that if a really malicious person wanted to get on craigslist and ruin a lot of people’s lives, he easily could. I had so much personal information and so many pictures of so many people, that I could have posted their names and pictures alongside their messages online somewhere and have their most treasured secrets available to anyone who google searched their names.

2. It’s almost impossible for a straight male to find anonymous sex through craigslist. At least when he has a post that doesn’t include his picture. Out of all the ads put out by straight males, there was only one woman who responded. Also, whenever you respond to a female’s ad, you are normally competing with anywhere from 100 to 200 other males.

3. Lesbian/bi females, gay/bi males, and straight females should have no problem getting laid through craigslist.

4. My advice for straight males is to perhaps try answering ads in other personal sections, including the “friends-only” section and the “relationship” section. Many of the female ads there indicated they were only interested in light dating, not a serious relationship, so my guess is that a few of those people could lead to some casual sex after a date or two. This based purely on speculation. But as a side experiment, I filled out a few ads pretending to be a straight female inside the “dating” section, and they got far fewer responders than in the “no strings attached section,” meaning a lot less competition. In my limited experience, girls are just as horny as men, they’re just less likely to meet anonymously some stranger they’ve never met so they can have sex.

5. Or here’s even better advice for straight males: don’t get laid through craigslist. I’m all for the internet and the doors it opens, but c’mon, guys have managed to get laid for thousands of years, and so have our evolutionary ancestors. It won’t kill you to actually put some effort into the task at hand and actually meet people on your own. There were times when I really felt ashamed to be a straight male. I mean, I can understand the allure of the whole thing, but there’s nothing like staring at 200 emails from horny men that allows you to understand how dismal the male gender really is. This must be why so many males think that honking your horn at a lady while you’re flying by her at thirty miles an hour is a legitimate way of hitting on her.

Flaws in my experiment:

1. This experiment didn’t really measure how hard it is to get laid through craigslist, only how hard it is to get people to respond to you. Getting them to meet you is probably another battle on its own.

2. I didn’t exactly create a representative sample: Houston, Chicago, and New York. All three are major cities, and the results might have been slightly different if I’d posted in less-crowded areas from different parts of the country. But I only gave myself a week to put this together, and between creating all the different email addresses, and then all the different personal ads, and then collecting and sifting through all the data, it was very time consuming and I only had time for three cities.

Final notes: Thanks to everyone who unknowingly participated. I’m sorry that I wasn’t the person who I pretended to be and you were a guinea pig for my experiment. If anything, hopefully you’re now more aware of the situation and can use the results from this experiment to increase your chances of getting laid through craigslist. Be sure to tune in next Friday for a new Bloggasm case study.

UPDATE: This post got a lot of reader feedback, which I posted over here

ANOTHER UPDATE: In the past few days, several journalists have contacted me asking for interviews, for both my Craigslist experiment and my post on facebook’s controversy. If you’d like an interview, contact me at Simon.bloggasm@gmail.com

We can set up either a phone or email interview through there.

52 Comments

  1. Raul Jacobs Says:

    What a great study. I most say, I respect your study, and although I still don’t know why you did it. I think it is very impressive to see the results…Good luck with your next search!

  2. Simon Says:

    Well, I sort of wanted my first bloggasm case study to be a little racy, to catch people’s eyes. I was also pretty interested in the subject matter. It seemed too good to be true, and in the end, it pretty much was.

    And I think it’ll provide a valuable tool hopefully. Guys won’t waste hours of time replying to ads, or better yet, realize that sending their pictures and life info over to anonymous strangers probably isn’t the best idea in the world.

  3. Barry Says:

    So when are we meeting for that handjob you promised me?

    xo,
    Barry

  4. Simon Says:

    Barry!!! Shush! :-P

  5. Romeo Says:

    I saw your posting in the Portland Oregon CL.
    It be interesting to study the quality of people posting or responding to posts. Just take a look at the women seeking male section and you’ll see what I mean. I’d be willing to bet that a high percentage of males are clean cut good looking HWP, while the mayoority of the female posters are overweight and dirty looking.

    RL >

  6. Simon Says:

    Actually, your comment is spot on! I almost included it in my post, but I noticed that there were a lot of men who not only obviously were very professional, and well educated, but extremely good looking as well. In fact, I even commented on this fact to one of my friends.

    Although the women who answered the ads for the bisexual women were all very attractive.

  7. christopher Says:

    Very interesting study you did. I’m impressed you took the time to do it just for the heck of doing it. I never would have known about it though if one of the guys you duped in Houston hadn’t put up another post complaining about you. hahaha.. It’s nice to see something interesting can come from Craigslist.

  8. Simon Says:

    Yeah, I got a few angry emails, my favorite one was this one:

    “I do believe what you are doing is ot right and maybe illegal..

    I will be notifying tyhe CL people.

    I dont think its very fair you “use people foy your “study” thats just not right…

    Especially unknowingly ….and fuck your results… I get laid all the time, just by sending a couple of emails…. unlike most people…

    You fuckin jerk off.. you re just as bad as all the whores and dope dealers on our great site…. fuck off and die you bastard!”

  9. Dude Says:

    What about the one woman who responded to the male ad? Was she attractive or not?

  10. Simon Says:

    She didn’t include a picture. For all I know, she was a spammer as well.

  11. E Says:

    I admit I’ve tried that in the past and I actually got two replies from “women”. Turned out to be spammers. What “she” wrote made no sense to my post and when I replied, I got one back that basically felt like a robot….hence, I figured I would have better luck in the real world…..

    By the way, I’m getting spam on MySpace from webcam girls – you know, girls with one picture on their profile, little info but a lot of guys in their friends who leave comments like “you’re hot ! let’s hook up !!!!”

    *sigh*

  12. William Beeman Says:

    I was amused to see this post, because I have been suggesting this as an one of a series of exercises for my students in linguistic anthropology since the mid-1980′s–not on Craigslist, but in chat rooms. The straight men in my classes have always been amazed–and sometimes a little shamefaced–at the behavior of other straight males. When logging into a chat room as an obvious female: Jennifer, Susan and the like, they are immediately hit on by the other straight men. Typical interchange: A: So what do you look like? B: medium height, brown hair A: Sounds HOT!!! Wanna hook up? The internet is a great vehicle for exploring genedered interaction. My students’ results have generally been similar to Simon’s.

  13. Al Says:

    If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can try to do another study (in futility). How many single-female ads does one need to answer before getting a date on CE?

    I’ve had two good dates from CE and turned down one recently where the woman wouldn’t tell me her age, but kept repeating that she looked 38 (her pictures made her look closer to 60).

    Looking at my outbox, I answered about 280 ads. I’m 39, good looking and fit — on a time-spent basis I probably would have been more productive if I spent that time in bars and such.

  14. The Bildungsroman of Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey Says:

    Contrasting Craigslist experiments

    What happens when you go trolling for no-strings-attached or kinky sex on Craigslist? (Links are not safe for work.) Bloggasm: Your chances of getting laid through Craigslist: A Bloggasm case study RFJason: The Craigslist Experiment (Jason is EVIL!) Gu…

  15. Jacqueline Says:

    “The first thing that always came to my mind was the fact that if a really malicious person wanted to get on craigslist and ruin a lot of people’s lives, he easily could. I had so much personal information and so many pictures of so many people, that I could have posted their names and pictures alongside their messages online somewhere and have their most treasured secrets available to anyone who google searched their names.”

    Someone just did that:
    http://rfjason.livejournal.com/410835.html

  16. rupert Says:

    I wonder then why no-one has cottoned on to the poor results of this method of advertising online for a ‘no strings attached’ encounter – I guess the real-life version would be guys who go by the ‘one out of ten’ theory that if they ask ten girls then they might get nine ‘no’s’ but possibly one ‘yes’. Are they covering all bases in their personal and online lives? Or as your results more often concluded the ‘anonymity’ felt on the internet allows for a space for potential ‘bi-curious’ experiences or ‘affairs’ which would otherwise be more at risk of being obvious in a real-life public sphere. Behind the curtains, and I guess in some way, the fact that it seems almost impossible in happening is the basis of fantasy, so the act of posting is kind of ‘safe’.

    Rupert

  17. the_researcher Says:

    I think the chances of getting laid from Craigslist could be even worse than you first thought.

    While you were conducting your experiment me and a fellow researcher were simultaineously conducting our own independant tests as well.

  18. Simon Says:

    Re: the_researcher

    Independant tests for which experiment?

  19. Craig Says:

    My experiment with Craig’s List was that I went out on dates with 9 girls and eventually laid all of them. 5 of them came on the first date. However, this was not random “NSA sex”. These were legitimate dates found in the “W looking for M” section. So some dude looking for guaranteed sex might just be looking in the wrong place

  20. Bloppo Says:

    Ignorant buffoons willing to fornicate strangers found via any venue.

    American Center for Disease Control proclaims that around one-in-four Americans carry the herpes simplex virus. ONE IN FOUR.

    No cure for it.

    Not deadly but the effects can be life-altering.

    Some folks suffer horribly from the virus for a lifetime; constant pain and other horrid effects.

    Some folks suffer little, are merely carriers.

    But, once the virus is within you you can pass it along.

    Such stupid people. I hope all of those engaging in promiscuous wanton sex absorb that virus into their bodies. Suitable punishment for being so animal-like in feeding their lust.

  21. Trevor Says:

    I’m a male who actually HAS gotten laid from an ad on the Casual Encounters part of CL– in the New York area no less. I think a lot of it depends on “target marketing.” I’m an early 30′s male who advertised specifically for an older, bored housewife type and posted a tasteful body shot. Got a response from a late 30′s MILF just over the bridge in NJ. After some email exchanges, we met at a motel in NJ and I banged her brains out during my lunch hour.

    Of course, this is only after answering/posting scores of ads in the Cas. Enc. section.

    Scary to realize that of the women who do respond to ads, yes, some of them are married moms with kids, who mention where they live and where they work.

  22. poopy Says:

    myself as well as a friend do quite well actually getting laid from the SeattleCL posting as single straight males. From my first post alone I recieved aprox 12 responses and of those, 1 encounter ( home run!) Cant understand your results…

    btw, the post was under 3 words in length.

  23. jsaltz Says:

    This is an abomination. ’nuff said.

  24. Gary Says:

    If you had posed as a straight male who is independantly wealthy and looking for a trophy wife, I wonder how many response you’d recieved from gold-digging females.

  25. Gan-San Says:

    I don’t understand why so many men are attracted to whores… what good can possibly come from doing something like this? You walk away from it without catching any diseases? You’ll be satified for maybe an hour? Or maybe later on in life you will be confused as to why your wife is cheating on you, because you have found a wife that can only do one thing, get f***** by everyone else.

  26. Dannie Says:

    I posted an ad on New Mexico craigslist 2 weeks ago, in the “women seeking men” category. I got almost 20 responses, only 3 of which I would consider (based on their e-mail responses ONLY) to be normal. The rest were sick, sick, sick!
    My ad was tasteful and halfway clever, so I thought I would weed out the crazies, but no such luck. By the end of my 3rd e-mail with one gentleman, he was sending me pics of flowers with the caption, “flowers for my princess”. After 4 days of e-mailing each other, I had to request that he never contact me again, when he got violently angry becuase I had not yet removed my ad! There are some crazy, lonely people out here!
    BTW, I did not attach a picture, and that seemed to be fine with most of the guys who wrote.

  27. Les Says:

    Male here who is reporting about his activity when he was single.

    My experience with CL (posting on M looking for W) as well as with (the old) Salon.com: If you –a man –post something intelligent, grammatical and sans spelling mistakes, and you are actually someone that an intelligent woman might want to hang out with (so your post reflects that), you get lots (about a dozen) of responses. I suppose that if it shines through that _ALL_ you want is to get laid, well, no one’s going to respond. But if you are a human being who (being human, _of course_ wants to get laid but) is open to significant emotional contact with others, and your humanity somehow gets through, you’ll do just fine.

    I met a lot of women this way, always very quickly. I slept with a lot of them; usually they weren’t right for me, or I wasn’t right for them. Most of them are still my friends.

    Bottom line: Ya know, if you aren’t a total fucking emotional loser (who is simply looking to get laid) and you can string words together well enough to make that clear (and make something about yourself come through), you will do just fine using CL. The fact that most men can’t get responses when they advertise themselves correctly speaks volumes…..

    The point:

  28. Anonymous Coward Says:

    I was a male looking for another male using craigslist in a mid-size university town and found that it gets an amazing amount of results when you consider the market of the individual page and the fact that I didn’t include a picture. I got about 6 responses each time and they have turned into actual meetings and at least further contact. however, I noticed that even for the men, claiming either to be bi, bi-curious or straight but interested in sex with another man, they were not too discreet and some even included email address that obviously showed their full name. I totally agree that this is an amazing tool for straight and gay woman and gay men though is of limited use to straight men. really good article though I’m sorry that RFJason decided to be a sociopathic ass and ruin it for some people. life goes on, though, i guess.

  29. Jason Says:

    I did a similiar experiment in Texas and got the same results. I was amazed that I am more likely to have a man have sex with me than a woman. What gives. Is the straight male a dying breed?

  30. Anita Says:

    Curiously enough, I posted a w4m ad on Craigslist in the Los Angeles dating section (with a picture of myself that didn’t include my face) describing myself truthfully – as an introverted science nerd and nothing more. My aim was to get at a niche population of nice guys…but I drastically underestimated how many guys that would be.

    In the following 24 hours, I received exactly 400 emails. Over the next week, it got up to 650.

    I actually have more faith in the male species because of this. My friend has been sending me articles like this and my ad has received approximately 4x the responses that any of the experimenter’s hardcore w4m ads have. Way more guys are looking for nice girls than for casual sex. :)

    For the record, I only received one picture of a penis, and less than 4 shirtless pics. Only one guy was married and another said he was in his 50′s looking for a much younger girlfriend. (No thank you.) I received a lot more sincere emails in the process. And yes, I could have ruined a lot of people’s lives…but I’m a nice person so that thought never even crossed my mind. :)

    Well, I could also say that my faith has gone down a little bit since about 8 of the sincere emailers never responded after I replied with a headshot of myself. Apparently they think I’m fugly. :P

  31. Thom Says:

    I did something similar years ago on one of the dating sites. I set up a generic female profile, making it as ‘average’ as I could and did not post a picture; within the hour ‘she’ was swamped with messages. Not only that, but that throwaway email address still gets emails from the site, inviting her to come back for free trial periods; the legit male address I used gets no such offers. As a lark, I wrote a scraper to trawl the “Who’s on” page at regular intervals and capture age and sex of the participants. At certain times of the day, men outnumbered women 60:1 I haven’t bothered with online dating since.

    In closing, I did try CL once, and found out the hard way what “BBW” meant – eek!

  32. bruce_14 Says:

    Been on seattle craigslist for…2? years. as a m4w. Mostly responded to womens ads, in w4m or casual. out of approximately 60 emails sent, met 30, laid 25. Trick is mostly to get your response into the first page or so, have a decent game, and be reasonably attractive.

    Most women, confronted with 200 or more responses start at the top, and find someone long before they reach #110 or 220 or whatever.

    I’ve actually had more luck nailing gold diggers than CL women. On seekingarrangement.com I’ve nailed 7 out of 7 contacted, and spent no money. Test drives are WONDERFUL.

  33. Serra Says:

    I know, I know… I’ve been there and done that with the whole personals thing. I got the same type of responses that you did when I did my man search on the internet. While looking for a relationship, I got way too much information about stupid perverts and idiots that were looking at my profile.

    Luckily, I found myself a man… one that I didn’t meet online.

  34. Kyde Says:

    I LIKE IT! Well played!

  35. Scott Says:

    This experiment’s results are pretty much what I expected. I’ve been posting there for a while, but looking for a long term relationship. I usually talk about how my dream is to one day have a family, and do my best to sound witty, and maybe list a few hobbies or favorite movies. Mostly spam bots answered. After a year or so of tweaking my ad, posting about 5 times, I got maybe 4 or so real people to email me. I ignored the two that looked like emo hood rats and typed like their keyboard was a MySpace branded cell phone. Another turned out to be a republican, and took weeks between emails anyways. The last, I talked on IM for a while, and met once for dinner and a tour of the city. We had a lot in common, both web developers and such, but she was a city person, and very involved in that culture, clubs and such. She felt I couldn’t keep up, as I’m a bit more laid back from the sticks an hour away, hah. I guess it didn’t help letting her see how nervous I was driving in the city.

    I’m curious if anyone as experimented looking for a long term relationship. I’ve been considering posting some more ads, try sounding ghetto, try sounding like a perv, or keep it dead simple like the females often do: “looking for someone that likes to have fun and hang out.”

  36. DR2000 Says:

    Interesting experiment indeed. Had fun reading this post.

  37. Omri Says:

    Good thing you didn’t go the route of exposing the men who revealed their identities. As Dan Savage pointed out, they are the ones willing to take more responsibility for their actions, and to assume more of the risk in these encounters. The ones who stay anonymous are the bigger creeps, although they are all clearly idiots.

  38. FUCD Says:

    You should have tried Myspace lol.

  39. nospam Says:

    CHARTS, CHARTS…..

  40. anonymous Says:

    i’ve been amazed at how much more success a man has in trying to hook up with another man, than a woman.

    even in IRC chat lines, a man can easily find another man.

    really it cant be too much of a surprise. just look at the kind of responses single women get. a horny guy writing to another horny guy? how can u fail!

  41. Dave Says:

    When you need craigslist to get laid, you have a problem. When you impersonate a woman on craigslist to see how hard it is to get laid on craigslist for a woman, you need serious mental help.

  42. Anon Says:

    So…what are you doing tonight?

  43. Haiku Headlines | Headlines of Today. In 17 syllables. What more do you need? Says:

    Your chances of getting laid through Craiglist

    Worthy case study
    Better chance for the females
    Also hope for gays
    read more | digg story

  44. Zap Says:

    Nice article. It’s pretty amazing that so many people were so willing to give up their most personal information to a total stranger on the internet. That boggles the mind.

  45. Smooth Says:

    I’ve been laid a few times from CL. It wasn’t hard but it wasn’t easy. Come to think of it, I was hard and the girl was easy.

    yay!

  46. morons Says:

    u can see ppl from the CL thing posting to boost up the site’s rep cuz they write with big letters and respect grammar rules. so basically it just confirms what’s been known allready: banging milfs living 2 blocks away is just a porn movie fantasy for wankers hanging out on these sites. and those of u who “got” dates r prolly just horny pedophiles that wanked to the first paragraph of this post.

  47. Kimmie Says:

    Dude Simon,

    I’m a straight female and I have gotten laid thru CL casual encounters. Yes there were about 200+ replies, but the winner was incredibly hot. And he happened to be a doctor (weird huh).

    K

  48. Jodi Says:

    Curiosity (hehehe) got the best of me, and I answered a NY/NJ craigslist ad by a man who only wanted to perform oral on women – no reciprocation, no strings. I used my standard fake email address with fake name, no picture. I asked if he REALLY only wanted to perform oral.

    He gave his first name only, had a lewd email address like hot4u, said his wife has a medical condition that ended their sex life, that he loves giving oral, and that he only gives oral because he wants to remain safe while having intimate contact with a woman. He proposed meeting at a motel, said he’d done this once before, and that the woman said the orgasm was the most powerful she’d ever experienced.

    I asked something else (I forget now), since I don’t trust strangers. He said he felt I just wanted to exchange a few emails to break the ice. I replied that I was more concerned about my own physical safety meeting a stranger than ice breaking. He responded that my concern was valid. I never answered after that cause I’m scared of Jack the Ripper, or a razor blade in the mouth. Also, I get at least one “I just want to give you oral” proposal every time I go to a bar – I never accept.

    Would be nice though…

  49. drbehavior Says:

    I know I’m coming late to the party for this one, however, I need tell you that I’m doing a study on your responses alone. They, perhaps more, than anything else yield an absolute wealth of data about who’s out there in the ether. Thanks for the information.

  50. Leon Says:

    Wow. The fact that posing as a straight female got more responses is no surprise. I don’t know. Perhaps girls are just as horny as guys. Maybe they’re just holding it in for society’s sake. Really enlightened me as to just how cheap the sexual act has become.

  51. r€nato Says:

    I can tell you that indeed, people will give you an ungodly amount of info about themselves when they respond to a CL personals ad. Sometimes just for fun (I don’t do CL anymore… or at least, I don’t do people from CL anymore), I would Google them. Astounding.

    What I found hilarious are those who told you they were aides to congressmen. It’s just a short step from that to finding out who they work for. If I were a diabolical political operative, I’d start trolling CL to see who I came up with, then if they worked for my enemies… ruin them. I would never DREAM of giving away that kind of information to a complete stranger. Odd what the ‘anonymity’ of the internet does to people’s judgement.

    It’s also a wonder that more Republican politicians haven’t been busted looking for down-low gay sex.

  52. Kitten With a Whip Says:

    Fascinating! I have a morbid curiousity about CL ads. Some are downright hilarious. Thank you for such thorough research!

    ;)

    Kitten


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