In case you didn’t know, Craigslist shut down its “personals” section last year due to some naïve laws that I’ll talk about later on. As such, US residents and sex workers who used the site’s personals section for casual sex and hooking are now being forced to try other alternatives. Luckily, there are many apps and hookup sites like Craigslist which offer a safe haven for those seeking casual encounters, swinging, escorts, and more. Here we list 12 free adult personals sites/apps which might just tickle your fancy!
Best Personals Alternatives & Replacements
We’re covering a lot of bases with these Craigslist alternatives, whether you’re straight, gay, curious, shy, open, or a full-on swinger. Some of these sites are designed more with romantic and friendly intentions in mind, helping to replace the innocent “strictly platonic” section of the Craigslist personals section. On the other hand, some of these services know that their users are looking for sex and they are designed around that.
I have more respect for personals sites which are upfront about the sexual nature of their service. Rather than pretending to be prudish, they embrace you with open arms and shout “we know you just wanna fuck, and that’s okay”.
Adult Friend Finder – Best Casual Encounters Site Overall
Adult Friend Finder kind of suggest that you might find romantic partners on their site, but the sultry pictures indicate that it’s mostly intended for sex. They describe their site as helping “millions of people [to] find traditional partners, swinger groups, threesomes, and a variety of other alternative partners.”
The site is very organized and categorized, which I think is really handy. For example, if you’re a couple looking for people who are interested in threesomes, there’s a whole “threesomes” section full of people who want to have a threesome! It saves you a bunch of time interviewing people about what they want to do in the bedroom. You’ve also got dating forums, live webcam models, and gay/lesbian/trans sections too.
The only thing I’d say about Adult Friend Finder is I get the impression that their target market is on the older side, perhaps in their 40s and 50s more often. The site places a very strong emphasis on swinging, which tends to lean towards middle-aged people, so that’s something to bear in mind.
Craigslist activities section – Best 100% Free Personals
Why look for a replacement for Craigslist personals elsewhere when you could just jump to another section of Craigslist? After the personals section was shut down, a lot of Craigslist users migrated over to the “activities” section to look for an “activity partner” for certain… “activities”, if you catch my drift.
I think this section is meant to be for people who are looking for a buddy to go fishing with or a friend who wants to go rock climbing with them. Now it’s become a wretched hive of scum and villainy full of people looking for casual sex! I bet the people who want fishing buddies are furious.
Sadly, there are limited features and filters to help you refine the free sex ads in the “activities” section of Craigslist, so it’s not great compared to tailor-made hookup services out there.
Doublelist – Best New Craigslist Personals Replacement
Doubelist are smart. Their Google result clearly reads: “Craigslist Personals Alternative” right after their name. This upfront approach has seen them become one of the best alternatives to Craigslist on the internet, quickly scooping up many former Craigslist fans.
The format is very similar to the old Craigslist personals section, dividing itself up into major cities in both the US and overseas, which is handy if you’re travelling. Their “Connect Now” (i.e. shag now) section has various combinations of gay, straight, single, and couple options, and they even have a similarly divided “Let’s Date” section too.
In the near future, they plan to host a sex education section on their site which advises users on how to play safe, avoid STIs, and ensure that their online casual encounters are not with a weirdo. They also plan an introducing an entertainment section soon too, which seems to be centered around Omegle-style live chats and sex webcams. Neat.
Grindr – Best Gay M4M Personals
Grindr is a gay hookup app which you use on your smartphone. It uses your phone’s location data to display a grid of guys’ images, starting with whoever is closest to you first. It’s a really interesting way to design an app, especially if you’re super horny and just want to get down and dirty with the closest and most convenient person possible.
The Grindr PR team will tell you that this app is an LGBT social network. There may be some minor truth to that, but the primary function of this app is to facilitate quick, easy, and simple gay sex between nearby guys. If you join the site and you’re relatively good looking, you’ll often be inundated with dick pics and flirty messages from people of all walks of life, some of whom purport to be straight.
Many of the profiles on Grindr will feature faceless torsos or pictures of random landscapes instead of faces, so be weary of that. Some people have to do it for professional reasons (i.e. they’re a teacher/doctor/lawyer and being on Grindr doesn’t look good for them) while others do it because they’re curious or still in the closet.
Although it’s not primarily designed for casual encounters and hookups, Locanto does feature a “Personals” section which is split into 3 subsections – long-term relationships, casual encounters, and “personals services”. I love the euphemistic nature of the term “personals services” … essentially, it’s a place for hookers and escorts to advertise, as well as erotic masseurs and masseuses.
Once you get into the “personals services” section, you are actually presented with a bunch of further subsections including “BDSM & Fetish”, “Escorts”, “Strippers”, “Erotic Photography” and more. It’s the same with the casual encounters – once you click on it, you are presented with further subsections for gay/straight/couples etc.
I think Locanto don’t want to sully the main page of their website with words like “BDSM” and “Escort”, so they don’t give you further erotic options until you’re already in that part of their personals.
Reddit R4R (reddit.com/r/r4r) is a subreddit which is designed to bring 2 redditors together for “almost” anything. In case you were wondering, that includes dates and hookups. However, if you’re posting about casual sex, you should use a NSFW tag so that people looking for more innocent connections aren’t force-fed pictures of cocks and titties.
You have to be 18+ to post there, and there are some rules to follow, so be sure to read through their guidelines before posting there. R4R is good for getting a sense of whether someone who replies to your personals ad is genuine, as you can browse their reddit history and see what they’ve been up to in the past. Of course, it doesn’t prove anything specifically, but it can make you feel more confident if you have a general sense about the kind of person you’re going to be meeting.
The only downside about R4R is that your horny sex ads about casual encounters are mixed in with much more innocent posts about people wanting friends and people to play boardgames with. Personally, I’d feel the eyes of judgement of the entire subreddit, but perhaps you have less shame than I.
Tinder – Best Casual Encounters App
Tinder is basically ingrained into the international consciousness at this point. If you’re below a certain age, you can’t get away from jokes about “swiping left” and “swiping right”, referring to the unique swiping system that Tinder uses for people to judge their potential partners.
A swipe to the left means that you’re not interested in meeting someone, while a swipe to the right means that you are. If two people both swipe right for each other, Tinder informs them about this and they are then able to talk to each other if they want.
Tinder is designed to be used for dating, but many straight men and women use it as their own version of Grindr. The great thing about Tinder is that you’re only able to contact people if they also express interest in speaking to you, so you can avoid feeling like you’re nagging someone who isn’t into you.
Just make sure that your intentions are clear if you’re only looking for hookups and casual encounters – not everyone is using it as a replacement for Craigslist personals.
Tinder is now worth over $3 billion and counting, with the BBC estimating that Tinder has over 57 million worldwide users as of 2019.
OkCupid, like many of these services, is designed with dating in mind, but you could potentially use it for hookups and casual encounters too. Creating a profile on OkCupid takes quite a long time, and they want you to answers lots of questions about your lifestyle and personality, helping to match you up with people who they think you will get along with.
Because of the level of detail involved in OkCupid profiles, it’s not great for NSA anonymous hookups and stuff. However, if you’re looking for regular fuck buddies who you can chill with afterward, OkCupid is a great place to find people who you connect with on a sexual and personal level.
Ashley Madison is controversial. Very controversial. Why? Because its whole brand is based around the idea of having an affair. Their slogan is literally “Life is short. Have an affair”. They acknowledge that some users on the site may be polyamorous married couples, but the core of this Craigslist alternative is focused on connecting married people who want to cheat on their partners with single people or other married people.
My personal approach to this website is akin to the Dutch’s tolerance of hookers and soft drugs – people are going to cheat on their partners anyway, so why not allow them to do it safely? I doubt that the existence of Ashley Madison makes a partner more likely to cheat. In my opinion, if someone is going to cheat, then they’re going to find a way to do it. At least the boundaries and discretion are clear with a site like this.
So yeah, Ashley Madison is a Craigslist casual encounter alternative designed for cheaters! If you’re cool with that and it doesn’t bother you, then go for it. If you don’t like the idea of potentially breaking up a marriage (your own or someone else’s) then look elsewhere.
Fetlife is a social network designed for people who are into fetishes, kinks, and BDSM. As soon as you enter their site, they are very upfront about what their deal is:
“Like Facebook, but run by kinksters like you and me. We think it is more fun that way. Don’t you?”
There are almost 8 million Fetlife members, all of whom have their own distinct kinks and fetishes which they like to discuss and share. Fetlife members look for partners who can play with them and enjoy their mutual sexual turn-ons, no matter how taboo they might seem to the outside world. I first discovered this site in this list here.
Seeking is based around the concept of “Sugar Daddies”, “Sugar Mommas”, and “Sugar Babies”. If you’re not familiar, Sugar Daddies/Mommas are usually rich and successful businesspeople who are looking for “Sugar Babies” to buy expensive gifts for in return for company and sexual favors.
In a way, sugar babies are kind of like escorts, but they’re not being “paid” as such and they’re usually monogamous to one Sugar Daddy or Momma. This site is all about matching you up with someone who has “looks and charm” (i.e. they’re poor but good-looking) or someone who has “success and wealth” (i.e. they’ve got a lot of money and want sex).
Again, this is quite a niche site so its not as general as some Craigslist alternatives on this list, but if the idea of a “sugar” relationship turns you on, look no further.
A few years ago in the UK, Match.com had a [really irritating TV commercial] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z4aguu4Ex0) that is still stuck in my head to this day. It was annoyingly saccharine and featured awful singing. It’s one of those adverts that everyone in the UK is familiar with. Personally, it put me off using Match.com forever, but maybe I’m just grumpy.
Nonetheless, Match.com has been going strong since 1995, giving hope to people who are looking for love. Again, you could potentially use this site for casual encounters and hookups, but Match.com’s online personals ads are designed to find you a long-term romantic partner rather than a quick blow-and-go, so bear that in mind.
Why was Craigslist Personals shut down?
We all know it’s gone, but what happened to Craigslist personals anyway? As Craigslist themselves explain, the US congress passed a bill in 2018 called “FOTSA” which stands for the “Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act”.
Basically, Craigslist and some other personals sites were hosting ads for things like child sex workers and trafficked hookers. Of course, this is not their fault personally because they are just a platform for people to use as they wish, but the US government became concerned and decided to pass a law which could land sites like Craigslist in hot water if they didn’t better regulate their personals section.
To cut a long story short, Craigslist decided it would be more effort than it’s worth to try and keep their personals section open, so they closed it to focus on running the rest of their website without chasing up bad posters every 2 minutes.
Of course, shutting this part of Craigslist down is not going to suddenly eliminate online sex trafficking, but alas the government seems to be bad at understanding how the internet works. I mean, look at the commotion around net neutrality or that awkward interview where Mark Zuckerberg explained how the internet works to Congress. God help us.
We talked about lots of different sites like Craigslist personals in this article, some of which are more geared toward casual encounters than others. Whatever platform you decide to organize your next bit of casual sex through, just remember to be safe, responsible, and use common sense when meeting strangers over the internet for sex. Have fun!