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Each day I tried a different approach to see what would be most effective, though I never lied or posted fake photographs.
One day my message was intended to be sweet and normal; I suggested starting with drinks and fun conversation to see if we had chemistry, then going back to my place to cuddle on the couch with a movie and see where that led. In yet another, I explicitly detailed sexual activities and used very aggressive language.
That incognito world, complete with its own erotic lingo ("str8," "BBW," "dom," "BB," etc.), has given Reynolds a virtual window into the intimate lives of strangers."Most of my friends are queer," said Reynolds, who also identifies as queer.
"We were amazed at how many straight-identifying men and women were seeking same-sex hookups on the site's sex forums."This phenomenon inspired Reynolds to conduct an analysis of hundreds of Craigslist personal ads.
There is little precedent, however, for the knee-jerk removal of the personals section last week - what to many of the site's LGBT users might have felt like waking up to discover Tinder had simply vanished off their phones overnight.
And even before the internet began connecting LGBT people in novel ways, personal ads had played a significant but little-known role in the history of queer romance: Personal ads allowed same-sex couples to meet covertly while avoiding criminal punishments that could, in some cases, end in death.
"There's an exhibitionistic impulse that's met by posting on Craigslist, and certainly a voyeuristic need that's fed by reading it, too," she told me.
Now an assistant professor of communications at California State University at Fullerton, she has continued frequenting the classifieds site - up until last week when Craigslist suddenly axed its personals section.
Gay ads would appear in printed newspapers and magazines from the 18th century onward, one notable example being Gai Pied, once the most widely read gay magazine in France - founded by journalist Jean Le Bitoux and named by philosopher Michel Foucault.
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.