Wanted: Safe Casual Sex, Enquire Within

Isabelle Comber joined Craigslist.

I always thought Craiglist was something that only existed in American sitcoms, a Gumtree-esque service where anything could be posted as an ad. However, it’s alive and well in Australia too, and often used to ask for sex. On the website, listed under ‘personals’, there’s ads for ‘casual encounters’, ‘misc romance’ and ‘missed connections’, just to name a few. I scrolled through some postings and laughed a little, mainly at one that read, “Just got home from Stereosonic – looking for ANYONE for fun.”

As a social experiment, I wanted to see what response I’d get from my own ad. I conjured up the ultimate sexual fantasy and posted it, before falling asleep. In the morning, I woke up to 58 email notifications. Only two were legitimate. The rest were slut-shaming threats, casually informing me “I’m going to choke you with my dick.” I stopped reading pretty quickly.

The only positive of the whole situation was, thankfully, none of my personal details were involved. It seems that the prerequisite for finding casual sex online is to feel scared, threatened and generally preyed upon. I expected an online version of newspaper classifieds; I encountered a shit-slinging online space. Avoid at all costs, or look elsewhere for your next fling.