Feeling horny, darling? A little casual backdoor act on your mind? Well, I’m sorry if you live in Brisbane. Or Bernal Heights. And not so much in Mountain View. Unless you like fellatio, then Mountain View’s got your number — or more accurately, your Craigslist connection.
It’s free, it’s anonymous, it’s effortless to use, it’s often cited as the main reason the classified section has gone the way of the hysteria diagnosis — it’s Craigslist. With a reported 17 million visitors per month nationally, it’s no surprise that Craigslist has become the way we find what we’re looking for, and vice versa (accent on the vice). Sure, you can look for a life fucking partner on Match.com, and if you’re straight you’re all set for eHarmony’s (conspicuously hetero-only) dating-and-romance roulette, but those sites are the last place I’d think of to see who’s up for a nasty anonymous hookup or to get rid of that ugly lamp my ex left behind.
Recently, analysts have been using real-time tracking to observe the comings and goings of Craigslist’s high-traffic success, and they are finding (to the surprise of few) that escorts are (ahem) whipping used cars sales by the numbers. In a February 2007 analysis, Rival.com found that the advertisers making the most of the powerhouse’s traffic are looking for shoppers in Erotic Services and Casual Encounters (respectively), and taking a striking (of the nonsexual kind) in business supplies for sale and Web design.
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Crazy hookup ads on Craigslist isn’t news or a secret, and the Casual Encounters ads are commonly regarded as a reliable source of entertainment and titillation for parties and long days at the cube farm alike. Even more interesting — for scientific purposes, of course — is looking at how people are using the ads for lovemaking and what they’re up to. Or not up to, as the case may be.
Using a very unscientific method of stat gathering, while relying on a tried-and-true skill of colloquial hookup terminology and search-fu abilities that cut like a knife, I set about data mining Craigslist Casual Encounters over a seven-day period — and compiled an Excel spreadsheet that would make a Microsoft development team wriggle, beg for grace and then pass out. (NSFW Google document online here.) I mean, what lady doesn’t want to know in which San Francisco neighborhood boys think they’re the best draped? Or which Bay Area city has the most golden-shower enthusiasts?
With filthy spreadsheet in arm, I developed a set of specific categories based on majority results of what people were looking for (and who was seeking the activity) and added categories as I went along. For example, the numbers told me that in any given “ass fucking” search, the numbers exposed that Boys Seeking Women was the majority default for results, and Fellows Seeking Boys was the lesser variable. So either the gay-anal assumptions for “Sodom by the Bay” were wrong (likely), or the gays choose to use other online hookup services and local community resources for anonymous ass-fuck hook-up.
However, for fellatio activity, the default was Guys Seeking Guys in all neighborhoods and cities, with the exception of Berkeley, Palo Alto and Mountain View. My final categories were (seeking to get and give) gargle jobs, cunnilingus, anal invasion hookup, instant hookups, married, huge dicked, use of the word “normal,” people who were “bored,” a biohazard category (for those seeking activity including bodily fluids) and fetish interests (like the nice fellow in Cole Valley who likes vinyl inflatables, as evidenced with the lovely 5-foot-tall Godzilla in his photos).
Some neighborhoods were so boring, they just weren’t worth the down-and-dirty data mining effort. And Western Addition — I’m sorry. About everything. Maybe next time, or maybe if you relieve and have a few drinks very first it’ll help. Some neighborhoods, like the Mission, were so remarkably boring (even with a wilting two entries for “bored”) they had to be included, if only to make Potrero look like a party.
Overall, it became clear that neighborhoods with higher crime and low-income housing, like Hunter’s Point, were bereft of ads for businessmen seeking panty-sniffing rendezvous for some pretty evident reasons. But still, as one commenter noted when I posted my spreadsheet progress on Flickr, “Brisbane needs to get with the program.”
I compiled data on San Francisco neighborhoods of interest and then did Bay Area city comparisons, including San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, Mountain View, San Jose and, for joy, Fremont and Brisbane. Contrary to reputation, it seems that Silicon Valley is not a “sure thing.”
San Francisco by the Numbers
Neighborhood most in need of fellatio: Financial District (28), losers Cole Valley and West Portal (0)
Despairingly seeking cunnilingus: Financial (13), runner-up Pacific Heights (9), losers West Portal and Potrero (0)
All about assfuck: Financial (17), runner-up Castro (13), no ass fucking for us, thanks: West Portal, Haight (Upper and Lower) and Potrero
I need it (whatever it is) right now: Downtown (50)
Most self-disclosed married ads: Financial District (28), don’t ask, don’t tell: Twin Peaks (0) and Upper/Lower Haight (0)
Neighborhood most likely to put your eye out (“strung up”): Financial (22), Downtown (14) and the Mission (9)
They think they’re the “normal” ones: Downtown (7)
Biohazard warning: Downtown (golden showers) and Potrero (brown showers)
Totally bored, so maybe you are, too: SOMA
Notable fetishes: vinyl inflatables (Cole Valley), pregnant (Downtown), “mommy” (Presidio), smoking (Financial), adult baby (SOMA). Most common locally advertised fetishes: seeking female feet and fat women.
Bay Area by the Numbers
As the cities are of different, um, sizes, I’ve reported not counts, but how many residents out of every thousand give way to the urge to post to Craigslist in hopes of fulfillment.
Overall, if you want casual lovemaking and you want it right away, San Francisco is undisputedly the place to be. In San Francisco, it any given week 1 in every Two,000 people post for a deepthroat job, with 27 percent of those seeking a female (trans included) hook-up playmate for the activity (since I didn’t sample local gay masculine hookup sites, the actual number is likely higher).
In Palo Alto, 1 out of every 20,000 people proclaim that they are horse-hung, whereas in San Jose only 1 out of every 22,000 people are big-dicked — but in San Francisco you could put an eye out if you’re not careful, as 1 out of every Four,000 people claim they are not just packing socks (or, we know how to advertise).
San Jose may need to redefine wedded bliss, as it seems that 1 out of Ten,000 are self-disclosing that they’re married and looking for act.
And who, besides Google, knew Mountain View could be so joy? People are twice as likely to want gargle jobs in Mountain View (1:Four,000) than in Berkeley (1:11,000).
And urgency? 1 in 1,000 in San Francisco need it now, and remarkably sleepy little UC hamlet Berkeley isn’t far behind, with 1 in Two,000 who just gotta have it.
Palo Alto was the most remarkably sexed-up burb in the entire mix. It turns out that 1 in Five,000 in Palo Alto are seeking anal invasion. compared to San Francisco, where 1 in Four,000 are looking for backdoor act, Palo Alto may seem paltry for the ass fucking enthusiast and lubricant salesman alike (in both cases, 27 percent are M4M). But considering that in most Bay Area cities in my survey only 1 in Ten,000 are seeking ass-fuck, Palo Alto is actually seeking twice as much anal invasion act as the rest of the Bay Area.
Violet Blue is a Forbes “Web Celeb”, well known blogger (Laughing Squid), high-profile tech personality and one of Wired’s “Faces of Innovation.” She writes for outlets ranging from Forbes.com to O, The Oprah Magazine. She is regarded as the foremost experienced in the field of hook-up and technology, a sex-positive pundit in mainstream media ( CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Display) and is interviewed, quoted and featured prominently by major media outlets. Violet has many award-winning, best-selling books, a famous podcast, is joy to go after on Twitter, and is a San Francisco native.
Blue headlines at conferences ranging from ETech, The Forbes Internet Leadership Conference, LeWeb and SXSW: Interactive, to Google Tech Talks at Google, Inc. Her tech site is Techyum, her audio and e-books are at Digita Publications.