If there's one type of 'dating' site that has blanketed the internet, it's those that cater to folks seeking something more casual. Unfortunately with said plethora of sites comes the difficult task of finding the right site with a decent price and actual members that exist outside of a professional relationship - if you get my drift.
I've spent many hours on these kinds of sites, talking to members, using the features, and generally trying to see if the sites offer what they say they do, while still trying to keep my (and your) privacy intact. It's a tricky juggling act, and for most folks, I'd recommend hitting the club or bar before trying anything else. For those convinced that they'll find the perfect hookup online however, here's where I'd suggest starting.
When I asked a male friend of mine if they thought Craigslist deserved top ranking on my list of places to find a sexual encounter online, they loudly said, "Are you kidding?!" and later quietly shared, "Uh, I've done it. Yea, it works." Almost everyone I've spoken to who has used CL to hookup has had success; those that failed to find what they sought were either rude, exceptionally picky, or ignored my tips below.
Tips for guys: Focus on replying to ads rather than posting them, make sure you have a fantastic, recent and clear picture of your face (keep the junk pictures to yourself for now), and share this picture along with a personalized first reply - most gals can spot a copied and pasted response a mile away. Then, move on to the next ad, and do the same thing. CL is a numbers game, and you'll have to respectfully answer as many ads as you can, showing exactly how you fit the criteria specified. Oh, and if you're outside of what the ad wants? Skip it.
Tips for gals: Focus on posting an ad instead of replying to them, and know that there's a good chance it'll get flagged within 24 hours. Why? There are a great number of folks on CL who are bitter, angry and/or frustrated with their lack of hooking up, and they'll automatically assume anyone who seems 'normal' is a prostitute. Share yourself genuinely, be clear and specific about who you are and what you're after, and make sure you use that flag button at the bottom of each message as often as it's needed.
Lavalife's Intimate Encounters section has been a longtime professional favorite of mine. It offers a high degree of privacy if you're also seeking a romantic relationship, and you can target your profile precisely to what you're after. Everyone who joins has to pay to gain access - a great filter for 'professionals' or lookie-loos - and their set-up is pretty swanky. It's only real downfall? The majority of the site's users are Canadian, then American.
Tips for guys: Show something provocative in your profile, minus any nudity. Be different. Take a peek at your competition, and make sure that you're avoiding all the same song quotes, catch phrases, and similarly worded desires. Use the search feature heavily, and make sure to only contact ladies whose criteria state they're after someone just like you.
Tips for ladies: There are a surprising number of gals on this site, so you'll want to do something to stand out. Be provocative with your language, and keep the nudity for your private pictures.
For open-minded, adventurous singles and couples, FetLife might be something to check out. It's meant to be used as a social networking site for kinky folks, however there are ample options in search, with profile creation, and in the groups to designate your sexual needs and intentions. This is most definitely an anything goes type of place, so do take it into account when visiting.
Tips for men: Flesh out your profile fully with details about what you're after, what you offer, and where you're at relationship-wise. Make sure you post at least a few pictures of yourself; face pics definitely increase your chances of getting a reply (although you can limit to showing your face to 'friends' only). Then, hit the groups in your geographical region that cater to singles, and post a note with what you're seeking.
Tips for women: You'll get bombarded here just for creating a profile, so make sure to keep your needs and desires up front for all to see. Make it clear who you will, and refuse, to respond to - most folks on Fet take "no" graciously - although some may get off on it. Posting in groups specific to your desires will amp up your chances of finding someone fantastic, however be prepared to wade through a tremendous number of replies, first.
Tips for guys and gals: Fill out your profile as much as possible, and then spend an hour or two answering questions. It should be fun, give you a better idea as to what you're after, and allow you a pretty decent (and accurate) matching mechanism for similarly-minded folks. Then start searching, making sure you take full advantage of OkCupid's excellent offerings: choose folks looking for someone with your sexual orientation, within a certain geographical region and age range, and then click "casual sex". You might be surprised who shows up.
I wish that I could strongly and wholeheartedly recommend more dating sites for those seeking hookups, casual encounters, or other, primarily sexually-based relationships. At this point in time however, based on my own and reader reviews, as well as client experiences and other online sources, these are your best bets. I have heard of others finding success at places like Adult Friend Finder, Match.com, or any number of adult dating sites though, so you're more than welcome to try them out as well - and then let us know in the comments what worked for you.
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