After the Senate passed the Fight Online Sex Traffickers Act, or FOSTA, Craigslist opted to shut down “Casual Encounters” and its other personals sections, explaining in a statement that keeping the sections could leave the site legally liable.
This means the end of classified sites as we know them. Finding hookups online from now on means that you will have to create an account of some kind.
The rest of this post will focus on the alternatives we've tested and how well they fill the gaping hole left by craigslist pulling out its personals section.
Here is a nifty table that goes over the sites we will be reviewing. There is also a list of sites that are best alternatives for gay hookups.
My # of Encounters
Adult Friend Finder
Free Hookup Search
You've probably heard of Adult Friend Finder at some point, created in 1996, it's the only site on our list that's older than some of its members.
Thanks to its age, features, and reputation, it's the largest hookup site (229 million users) and the second largest dating site.
The people you meet on AFF have one thing in common, they love sex, and some are complete sex addicts. Before CL personals vanished, this was the only other site I used for summoning up sex on demand (now my main go-to site).
My Experience - I've met some pretty interesting girls on AFF, to say the least. One girl was a theater major and told me she fucked two guys a day, one was a Latino woman who wanted to cheat on her boyfriend, another girl told me about her rock therapy business and encounters with spirit molecules.
Yep, all weird and crazy. I'm not complaining though, they're also pretty crazy in the sack.
Don't Look For Relationships On This Site - Don't use AFF and hope to find a steady girlfriend or stable person. Every person I met was the poly-amorous type and was seeing a lot more people than just me. I got some repeat hookups with girls I really liked, but none of them were interested in going out to eat and "dating".
Membership - You can make a free account that lets you message members with an "Enhanced Gold Plan". This gives you a chance to see if you like the feel of the site without having to pay anything. The gold membership is $20 - $40 a month and lets you message anyone you want.
A membership is a good filter that keeps out fake people and spam (think doublelist). When you message someone you know it's a legit person and not a fake account that will just tell you to visit their cam website.
Year Created: 1996
Total Users: 229 million (39 million monthly active users)
Features: chat, messaging, video, profiles, forums, sex courses
An Ode To Craigslist Personals
I don’t remember when I first discovered Craigslist, but I remember my first “Casual Encounter,” as a freshman in college.
Not the guy ― he blurs hazily into memory as one of the many generic men I’ve summoned from the Internet over the years. 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. In the “Men Seeking Men” section, where I met a long-term boyfriend. In the infamous “Missed Connections” section, where my admirer complimented my pigtails and glasses, and turned out to already have a girlfriend. But it was “Casual Encounters” more than any other section that captured my imagination. Near-immediate, easy, anonymous, it served as a playground for my not-insubstantial id.
On “Casual Encounters,” the laws of supply and demand meant a bare-bones posting could net hundreds of responses, sexual possibility flooding into my inbox so quickly that sifting and responding became its own hypnotic ritual. The ads in the section ranged from a casual hookup request, to an elaborate group sex fantasy, to niche fetish ads from, for instance, a breast enthusiast looking for an “adult nursing relationship,” or ANR. They stripped human sexuality down to its most primal truths ― money could be exchanged for sex, and drugs. I smirked at men who thought a wordless dick pic sufficient to secure a woman’s attention.
The section had its own vocabulary ― laughably transparent code words skirted descriptions of illegal activity, acronyms shorthanded sex acts that I sometimes had to Google. 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 someone decide they might like to engage in some light bondage at 2 a.m. ― and actually make it happen?
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. Users didn’t have to go through the hassle of creating an account, and could put as little or as much effort into finding a partner ― or partners ― as they wanted. And there was some other ephemeral quality that drew me ― Craigslist “Casual Encounters,” I felt, had heart.
Alternatives For Gay Hookups
Craigslist was a great place to find M4M encounters and the sites above are more oriented towards the F4M and M4F crowd.
Here is a quick overview of the sites we've tried that are meant for gay hookups only.
Instant Gay Hookups
Local Hookups Now
(Fun Extra) Straight Bait
(Fun Extra) Free Gay Cams