How to Get Laid with Craigslist

How to Get Laid with Craigslist


gets you laid.

I’ve been thinking about Craigslist lately, and how oddly generous it is. Craigslist is a particularly magical resource in the SF Bay Area because it started here. It built its momentum here. For me, it’s been most useful when I’m moving (finding an apt, finding furniture, helping me give stuff away, …), and when I’m looking for sex.

Before dating Kyle, I went through a six-year period where I was mostly independent, but felt the need for a one-night stand about once every six weeks or so. Like clockwork. Maintenance. I didn’t always turn to Craigslist, but the handful of times I did, it did not disappoint. (Well, okay, it disappointed once or twice. But those stories are boring.)

Craigslist vs. Dating Sites


gets you data, which is different from laid.

I’ve had far better luck with Craigslist than I have with OkCupid (a free dating site that’s also heavily used by the SF casual sex scene). On OkCupid, you fill out long profiles, take personality quizzes, read all of the details on the passions and interests of your potential matches, and then allow math experts from Harvard to offer a rating score on how compatible you are with the hot people who catch your eye.

In my humble opinion, this is a terrible, horrible, ridiculously self-defeating strategy for getting laid. It results in far too much self-edited performance, preconceptions, and assumptions. I don’t care if the match-making is spot on — if we’ve laid out everything we know about ourselves before our first interaction, we’re going to get hung up on the pre-emptive storytelling and miss the heat of discovery.

Plus, let’s be honest: we don’t actually know what we need most of the time (especially when it involves change and newness). So if you leave it to us to describe our ideal situation, we’re going to ask for what we think we want, rather than what will actually excite us.

All of this adds up to one thing for me: Creating opportunities for chance and serendipity is more likely to result in a good night of fun than trying to control the situation ever will. Or, to put it more simply: OKCupid gets me data; Craigslist gets me laid.

How to Get Laid with Craigslist

So how do you do it? The same way you land a good job: by becoming the one who is desired, rather than the one doing the desiring. You put yourself out there and post an ad. Let’s walk through the steps…

1) Read some posts. Not the posts that you want to respond to. Your odds of getting laid through that route are way too slim. Read the posts by people who are kinda similar to you and are already asking for what you want. Find out how they’re phrasing things, what the patterns are, and how it works.

2) Be different from them. Draft an ad that sets you apart. The writing quality in Craiglist ads varies wildly, so start with clean grammar and a writing style that shows a bit of personality. Take your time, and get each word exactly right. You need to mention…

  • a bit about you (“tall, bald, and adorable”?  ”handsome, husky, nerdy, and gentle”?)
  • a bit about your target partner (“confident with great communication”? “foot fetishist”? “curvy girl”?)
  • a bit about what kind of experience you’re looking for (“a night of exploring in the dark”?  ”someone to tie me up and touch me all over with feathers”?  ”a cock to suck for 2 hours while we re-watch Secretary”?)
  • a bit about safety (“I always use barriers, and I tested clean 2 months ago”? “d/d free and careful?”)
  • and a bit about how they should approach you (“tell me how you’d begin our night together”?  ”are you free this weekend, too”?  ”how would you get creative with my body”?)

Keep each of these points brief and deliberate. You’re not writing a full OkCupid profile, and you don’t want the same from them. Stick to the details that are relevant to what you’re looking for. You can get into the rest of it over pillow talk.

3) Post it. Craigslist will walk you through the process. Just make sure you put it in the right section (perhaps Casual Encounters: w4m? m4w? m4mw? t4w? If your abbreviation isn’t listed, leave it blank and then enter the best one you can come up with into your subject line). Be honest about your age and location, and don’t worry about a photo if you don’t want to include one. Use an email address that isn’t associated with your real name (go make a new one if you have to).

4) Sit back. Go do something productive for twenty minutes, like make dinner. There’s a delay on showing up in Craigslist searches and indexes, so refreshing your inbox right after you post your ad is only going to stress you out.

5) Read, giggle, and triage. Once the emails start coming in, they’ll fall into one of three categories:

a) Spammers, scammers, and fake hot people who look too good to be true because they probably are. (I haven’t seen many of these, but I hear they’re common for men seeking women.) Ignore them. Please.

b) Generic introductions that people are sending to a whole bunch of people. You took the time to be different and interesting in your post; the least they can do is acknowledge something special in their response to you. I recommend ignoring anyone who doesn’t sound like they’re paying attention, but it’s really up to you.

c) People who write you a thoughtful response. This may be a small percentage of your total responses. Don’t worry about the rest of the pile. Just focus on these emails.

6) Pick your matches. You can tell a lot by a person’s writing style, how they describe themselves, and how they describe sex. Are they comfortable speaking openly? Do they mention how recently they’ve been tested? Do they seem to speak your language? Read between the lines a bit and notice how they’re approaching you. Hopefully, after two or three hours of collecting replies, at least one email has you intrigued. If it’s more than one, even better. If none of them look interesting yet, check back tomorrow.

7) Write back. Your goal on your first reply is not to make a date for sex — it’s to get another interesting response out of them. Take the same care in your reply as you took in your original post. Acknowledge some of the details they shared, share a few more details of your own (including your first name and a photo, if it feels right), and end with a flirtatious question that will keep the conversation going. It’s okay to write back to a few people.

Safety tip: If they haven’t brought up STD status or safer sex standards yet, explicitly ask them about it.

8) Make a plan. Once they get back to you, you should have enough details to trust your gut on whether this is a good idea. If it is, make a date. Plan to meet in a public place (like a bar), and make sure you’ve shared enough details to find and recognize each other (swapping phone numbers isn’t a bad idea at this point).

Safety tip: Plan a safe call! Tell a close friend what you’re doing, where you’re going, and whatever identifying information you have on the person you’re meeting (including their phone number). Then pick a few times that you’ll check in with your friend (like while you’re still bar with your date, and then again by midnight).

Tell the person you’re meeting that you’ve set up this plan with a friend, and then check in with your friend when you agreed to do so. If your friend doesn’t hear from you by the agreed times, they should start actively trying to track you down, calling your date, and (if all else fails) calling the cops. The simple act of setting this plan up will probably make your date feel very focused on your sense of safety.

9) Go have fun. When you meet, greet them with a warm hug. Size each other up in person and check the chemistry before you venture out to find a bed. It’s completely okay to say, “You know, this isn’t feeling right” after chatting for twenty minutes, and go home alone. (I’ve done it.) And if it is feeling right? Go for it.

10) Thank everyone. If it works out well for you, thank your partner the next morning with a sweet email (and if you genuinely hope to see them again sometime, this is a good time to mention it). Also email anyone who sent you a sincere, thoughtful message, and graciously tell them that you found what you were looking for, but you really appreciated their note. These notes are good for karma, and good for the general health of the Craigslist scene.

And then tell me how it went!

I should probably add a disclaimer that my skills are a year or so out of date, and they’re based on my experience as a non-traditional female looking for casual sex. So if you have other tips from your own adventures (or stories you’ve heard), please share!