I was selling SOFA online. Instead I got a WIFE...

All I wanted to do was sell my sofa. but there I was, down one of the steamier back alleys of Craigslist.com, browsing a section entitled "Los Angeles Casual Encounters."

Honestly, I can't remember how exactly I arrived there from the Furniture For Sale section. Perhaps I clicked on something by accident. Perhaps it was some kind of malfunction. Regardless, I can report that most of the postings I found there were indecipherable to the layman, composed as they were of curiously obscene combinations of letters and numbers (w4m, m4m, m4w, t4m, etc.). Not everything appeared in code, however. Some of the postings stuck to a more straightforward formula: a time, a place, and a suggestive profanity. You had to admire the simplicity.

I've long been a fan of Craigslist and the man behind it--the awkward, bespectacled, Inspector Rebus-obsessed Craig Newmark. I met him once for a drink in L.A. and congratulated him for introducing a new kind of liquidity into our lives. A sofa used to be a difficult item to get rid of: big, expensive, impossible to carry alone and too easily ruled out on grounds of questionable taste. But these days, with unlimited free advertising on Craigslist and a marketplace as big as the universe (Newmark has beamed some of Craigslist's postings into space through the Deep Space Communications Network), it's now just a question of typing in a few lines and clicking on "publish."

What I hadn't realized, however, was that Craigslist--and other social networking Web sites--had introduced that same kind of liquidity to our sex lives. Online, people are trading each other like baseball cards. After my visit to Los Angeles Casual Encounters, I expanded my research to other sites, designed specifically to facilitate extramarital affairs, or afternoon motel sessions with men and women best described as professionals. I soon came across Fling.com, HornyMatch.com and AdultFriendFinder.com ("The World's Largest Sex and Swinger Personals Community"). The latter boasts 1,562,811 listings in California. If this number is correct, 5% of the Golden State's population is currently searching online for meaningless sex. Which, when you think of it, is surprisingly low.

In a strange way it's reassuring to know that men are making an effort to turn online dating into something cheap and furtive, especially when the respectable matchmaking sites--I'm thinking of MillionaireMatch--are promoting a return to the kind of asset-based courtship not seen since the days when Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy circled each other in the Meryton village dance hall. Then again, I hope we don't push it too far. With Casual Encounters and Adult Friend Finder--not to mention the billions of pages of passive adult entertainment online--men are beginning to enjoy the kind of sexual liquidity once available only to billionaire sultans, English kings, and the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. With nothing more than a personal computer and an Internet connection the modern male can now indulge every whim, every kink, every twist, every preference--every vague curiosity--at any hour of the day or night.

....You can read the complete story here at "Forbes - Selling Sofa Gets Wife"

1 comment:

stargazincdesign said...

http://www.online4love.com is the primary way my husband and I meet likeminded "friends with benefits." There's no uncomfortable wondering if you ought to approach someone, you already know upfront when you meet them, and it is definitely worth the extra cost of becoming silver/gold imo, so you can exchange notes or pics before meeting and make sure its a good fit.

My hubby is str8 and I am bi and we have had no problem finding partners on online4love.com. We've had fun sex with lots of single men, single women and full swap couples that we met on O4L. And yes, I'm real, and no, I don't work for O4L or think they're perfect (they can be pricey and they goober up email sometimes,) but I think they're the best thing going by far for meeting other people who just want to have sex without strings!

For those complaining about the cost—ok, I agree, but I think you get what you pay for. I pretty much don't write people unless I can see what they look like and all, not because I'm shallow or a snob but because I want to know THEY'RE for real too and don't trust blank profiles...can you blame me? Also, it can be risky to contact people to swing with! Are they my boss? My brother? Twice my age? You get my drift. I’d like to know who I’m initiating a conversation with! The extra cost put into a good profile helps narrow down those you want to meet. How long do you pause on a profile that does not show a picture? (Faces can always be “smudged” until you know each other better to avoid embarrassing compromises.) And, although we are admittedly "just after recreational sex", part of having fun is that we have to LIKE our bedpartners too, so we look for things like a sense of humor and easygoing fun nature and a “click”. (And more expensive memberships include more matching criteria and stuff, too to help the odds of getting that “click” without too much searching.) So I guess I'm saying that if you don't cough up the extra cash for a full membership, don't expect overwhelming responses. There are lots of people who post their pictures and info, so when looking for people it's easy to breeze by the ones that don't. We may miss out on meeting some great people because of it...but we meet lots of great people too.

I agree there’s a high ratio of men to women, but I don’t know why that surprises anyone. Seems expected to me—although many women love sex, there do seem to be a lot more guys that are ok with swinging or casual sex than girls, for whatever reasons, and that’s not specific to O4L.

I definitely vote that it is worth the time and the money! We've had many a fun night of frolic thanks to connections we made on O4L. :)


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