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Many people use Craigslist to find roommates, cheap furniture, used cars or part-time jobs. I decided to dive into Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" — a section made for no-strings hookups — to see if any of what I assumed about that virtual place was true.Is it populated entirely by perverted sexual deviants, serial killers, prostitutes and scammers as rumors insist?

If you follow the link she provides, the website asks you for your credit card number — y'know, so it can do a background check to make sure you're not a criminal. My favorite scam: One individual tried to get me to buy him or her virtual currency in online games like Maple Story before agreeing to hand over contact information. I decided I would have to take the initiative, so in addition to posting my own ads, I started responding to every ad from any woman who seemed at all interesting.I cast a wide net in my searches, looking up posts by straight or bisexual women between the ages of 18 and 35 who lived anywhere in Chicagoland — a large metropolitan area that's home to close to five million females.All the responses I got from real people on my first day weren't from women — they were from men.I made it very clear in my post that I was only interested in women, but a large number of men chose to ignore that. I responded to them politely, saying, "Just interested in women, but thanks for the offer!Well, it's obviously a euphemism for something else.

Many of the ads that weren't from scammers were from prostitutes.The stereotype is that women are interested in relationships, and that only men would be interested in totally casual sex, right? In fact, I was inspired to write this article when a friend told me many of her female friends had owned up to using it. I was only getting messages from gay or bisexual men!Over the next couple of days, I actually received a lot of posts from women. To be honest, I doubted the veracity of the claims.I typically wrote two or three paragraph replies and matched the tone of their own messages, then attached a couple of tasteful photos of myself.I didn't get a single reply from an actual prospect this way.Most of the women wanted something very specific they couldn't find in their normal lives: Someone to help play out a particular fantasy, someone vastly older than them or someone of another race.