Craigslist The Online Dating Hookup Site

Online Dating

Craigslist: The Online Dating Hookup Site

Gina Stewart

Written by: Gina Stewart

Gina Stewart

Gina is the owner of Expert Online Dating. As an online dating consultant, she helps men and women maximize their online dating experiences to get more dates. You can visit her website,, for more information or to contact her.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Update: Craigslist no longer openly supports online dating personals on its website…but some people continue to use it for that purpose on the down low…

You know where to go when you’re looking for a roommate, a job or a used bike, but have you used Craigslist for online dating?

There once was an entire section on the classified site devoted to people looking for a human connection — personal ads ranging from missed connections, women for men, men for women, women for women, men for men, strictly platonic, miscellaneous romance, and casual encounters. The missed connections section still exist for finding people you ran into in real life…but the dating personals are no more.

Like most of the site, the posts are listed chronologically with the newest first.

Unlike most online dating sites, there are no real formats to follow. Write whatever you want, as much or as little as you want. Post a picture if you want.

Searching the ads is just as unstructured. Once you’re in the section that matches your pursuit, the only search forms available are age, keywords or pictures.

It’s hard to believe anyone would use this medium to find love. It seems very archaic, limited and fast moving.

But the down and dirty approach seems to represent Craigslist users to the T.

Who uses the personals section of Craigslist and why?

After posting several ads on the site and personals section itself, I found plenty of people willing to tell me their Craigslist dating stories.

Most of the people who contacted me about their experiences were male.

Themes of “dating” through Craigslist include don’t make expectations and be careful.

Both of these warnings come on either side of the spectrum of what can happen. Some people get sorely disappointed…

The disappointments can include prostitutes, theft, spam, scams and men — lots and lots of men contacting each other (usually unwelcomed).

Others have had (mind) blowing experiences. I was given stories of threesomes involving clipboards with checklists, back-alley blowjobs and a lot, a lot, a lot of hooking up.

One guy told me he met his soul mate on Craigslist and they later used the site to vet for some swinging.

When I asked my sources if anyone actually looked to date through Craigslist, the answer was resoundingly, “No, not really.”

As one guy put it, “It didn’t matter what section I posted in or responded to, the vast majority of women I have met on CL were interested in casual sex. I have concluded that despite what is expressed in the post, CL is nothing more than a booty call site.”

Who are the people using Craigslist?

“CL is for people too bored at work, too stoned at home and too lazy to actually move from their chair to get a date. Bottom-feeders of the online dating world.”

Ouch, does it take one to know one?

Things you’ll need to know if you want to try out Craigslist for yourself:

  • There are tons of scams. Take a look at a lot of ads to get a lay of the land before you do any posting or contacting.
  • There is a Craigslist culture and language: m4m=men looking for men (w4m=women for men), ts=transsexuals, tv=transvestite, tg=transgender, nsa=no strings attached, bbw=big beautiful woman, fwb=friends with (sexual) benefits, std=sexually transmitted disease, ddf=drugs disease free, 420 friendly= smokes marijuana.
  •  Some people write out their phone numbers or emails so bots can’t scan the ads and harass them (i.e. call me at three six five…)
  • You will get spammed. Ask for specific things in the email title to know who’s legitimately reading your ad. You’ll see a phrase like, “Message me with your favorite flower in the subject so I know ur real.”
  • Pics get more clicks. Although, most pics are not of the person.
  • Most ads are sexually charged.
  • If you’re a straight man, don’t be surprised if gay men/trannies contact you.
  • Do your due diligence to weed through who you’re talking to before going out.
  • Leave your credit cards at home.

Any Craigslist users out there want to expand on how they used the personals section? I’d love to hear your stories – good or bad!

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