Janice Edman

            During a recent trip to the salon, I had ample time (four-and-a-half hours to be exact ” it’s a tough life) to read up on the magazines you find in vast, thumbed-through abundance at salons and the doctor’s waiting room.  Although I found Vogue’s cover story on Ashlee Simpson less than stimulating, one feature in March’s Details specifically awakened me to a new sexual trend sweeping the Internet ” and no, it’s not the widespread fear that Google will release a list of the most common queries from its users to the government.  It’s the growing popularity of Casual Encounters, a section of the widely-used Web site Craig’s List that goes beyond your typical “desperate SWF searching for ANYTHING before my biological clock runs out”  personal ad foray.

            Alongside the links to job postings and “For Sale” ads, Casual Encounters doesn’t look any more exciting than the other parts of the site.  But after a quick disclaimer (yes, I’m 18), a page opens up to a myriad of postings, all from people in search of sex, sexual acts, sexual partners, etc.  Some samples include “I need a hot lady to lick,” “pregnant women need to be satisfied?” and my favorite, the simple “Seduce me!” All postings are followed by a general location in San Francisco or the Bay Area where the encounter seeker is available to get busy.  However, Craig’s List isn’t just a city by the Bay phenomenon ” while it started there, the site has expanded to every major city in America and practically the world.

            The name Casual Encounters is anything but a pseudonym.  The beauty of the posting board is that anyone involved knows that the encounter is, as the name suggests, casual.  The site appeals mostly to the gay male population in San Francisco ” over two-thirds of the users are gay men.  But every user, even those searching for the most kinky or fetish related encounters won’t be disappointed.  The author of the Details article described an encounter he himself went on, which consisted of meeting a teenage Asian girl in a covert location (actually a Barnes and Noble), watching her take off her V-string, and accepting it from her in giddy lust.  Not exactly hardcore, but not exactly something you’d get much excitement from doing with a person you know well. 

            The site appeals to anyone (and maybe everyone?) who has ever had a wild fantasy but felt too embarrassed to try it out with a partner.  The postings range from a user “seeking strap-on play” to a young guy eager to please an older woman, both examples of fantasies that can’t be experienced with just anyone.  While the occasional post does mention an interest in a relationship, overall the theme of one-time-only runs rampant. 

            Although the overwhelming sexual content of the post feels initially dirty (I almost wanted to take a shower), the concept of Casual Encounters has to be applauded for its efficiency ” everyone knows how hard it can be to arrange a great orgy.  And naturally, you want to be sure you’re targeting a person who shares your sexual interests.  Casual Encounters allows users to do just that, making it easier to find someone to live out the fantasy with, without ever having to see or talk to them again.  While wild, anonymous sex may not be for everyone, it’s still nice to know the opportunity is there, if you’re ever so inclined. 

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