"Looking for a married hookup": an examination of personal ads posted by men seeking sex with married men.
Abstract: Bulletin board websites and the Internet have created new ways for individuals to find partners for casual sexual encounters through personal ads. This paper examines men who are seeking sexual encounters with married men through placement of a "men seeking men" personal ad found on a free, non-sexual, large mainstream bulletin board classified website. Three thousand advertisements were analyzed to reveal themes among advertisements including items such as marital status, sexual act desired, sexual roles desired, whether or not individuals were seeking safe sex encounters, race and age. The results (based on descriptive statistics) reveal that men who are seeking sexual encounters with married men are more likely to be married themselves, open to a variety of types of sexual encounters, are most often looking for safe sex and are more likely to report that they are drug and disease free.

Keywords: Internet, sex, personal ads, men seeking men
Article Type: Report
Subject: Internet (Social aspects)
Sexual intercourse (Social aspects)
Personals (Social aspects)
Men (Social aspects)
Authors: Cheeseman, Kelly
Goodlin-Fahncke, Wendi
Tewksbury, Richard
Pub Date: 03/22/2012
Publication: Name: The Journal of Men's Studies Publisher: Men's Studies Press Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Men's Studies Press ISSN: 1060-8265
Issue: Date: Spring, 2012 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs Computer Subject: Internet
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 295058324
Full Text: Cruising for sex is not a new phenomenon (Delph, 1978; Humphreys, 1975; Tewksbury, 1996, 2003). Traditionally, men who wanted to engage in sex with other men in secret would cruise for sex in particular public places or seek out areas known as erotic oases (Delph; Desroches, 1990; Humphreys; Pollack, 1993; Tewksbury, 1996, 2003). What has changed dramatically is the means in which men are cruising for and finding potential sex partners (Tewksbury, 2010). The Internet has become a common way in which to arrange for one-time sexual hook-ups, where individuals meet up for "no strings attached" sexual activity, including kissing, masturbation, oral sex and intercourse. This is particularly popular in the college environment where navigating dating and sex is facilitated through a hook-up culture (Bogle, 2008). One area not explored by Bogle (2008), however, was the same sex sexual hookup, whether it be men seeking men or women seeking women. Such approaches to sexual liaisons, as noted by Tewksbury (2003), are also a popular way for men to seek out other men for casual, anonymous or occasionally serialized sexual encounters. This recognition is further supported by more recent research by Grov (2010) and Moskowitz and Seal (2010) who have found that bulletin board websites such as Craig's List provide an easy way for people to post ads and remove them without having to create a traceable profile or insert personal information. In short, internet personal ads reinforce and maintain the abilities of those seeking sexual encounters to remain completely anonymous.

The Internet has provided a means for men to cruise for sex with other men without having to leave their own homes or deal with the potential fallout if they are caught cruising for, or engaging in, same sex sexual encounters (Polley & Tewksbury, 2010). Sex is the most frequently searched term on the Internet and some observers estimate that as many as 20 percent of all Internet users have participated in some form of online sexual activity (Carnes, 2001; Cooper, Delmonico & Burg, 2000).

Many men who have sex with men (MSM) use the Internet for sexual encounters and dating (Benotsch, Kalichman & Cage, 2002; Bull & McFarlane, 2000; Bull, McFarlane & Rietmeijer, 2001; McFarlane, Bull & Rietmeijer, 2000; Tikkanen & Ross, 2000; Quinn & Forsyth, 2005). Regardless of self-proclaimed sexual orientation, individuals can create a user name and password and delve into the world of personal ads, accessing a wide range of Internet sites. Sexual encounters can be arranged through generic, all-purpose classified advertisement sites, on sites devoted to only heterosexual encounters, only same sex encounters, or to very specialized and specific populations/activities, such as transgendered individuals, specific race/ethnicities, persons with HIV disease, obese individuals or any number of other specialized populations.

This paper looks at MSM personal ads that are posted on a non-sexual Internet classified ad bulletin board, well known for its free classifieds. Grov (2010) noted that many men-seeking-men websites (i.e. gay.com or manhunt.com) have memberships which call for registration information as well as subscription fees, and that such sites often regulate content and structure themselves so that members must initiate contact within the website. Bulletin board sites, by contrast, allow for one time postings for sexual encounters with virtually no personal information collected and at no cost, which could also allow for more curious or married website traffic. The bulletin board website that was used in this study does not require any type of registration and is accessible to anyone with Internet access. In order to get to the personal section area of the website, two simple steps are required. The first is to click on the desired category you are seeking (i.e. men seeking men), which leads you to a screen that asks you to acknowledge that you are age 18 or older and that you realize that you are accessing adult content. After these two steps, you have access to the personal ads and can post and respond to an advertisement without entering any personal identifiers.


Personal advertisements have been a method used for numerous decades by both men and women to search for a desirable mate, partner, or sexual hookup. Although there are other outlets that can be utilized for partner selection such as bars, gyms or work, at least some people appear to prefer the anonymity, ease and convenience provided by personal ads. The personal ad serves as a form of screening in which a person can inspect a potential date, allowing individuals to pick and choose prospective encounters without the potential awkwardness of either rejecting an individual in person or being rejected themselves (Bartholome, Tewksbury & Bruzzone, 2000; Gonzales & Meyers, 1993; Phua & Kaufman, 2003; Woll & Young, 1989). Furthermore, because of the impersonal nature of personal ads, including their one way communication, individuals may easily present themselves in what they perceive to be their best light (or embellish their positive attributes) while emphasizing those characteristics they see as most desirable to a potential partner.

As noted by Bartholome et al. (2000), individuals who place personal advertisements can also emphasize selection criterion that is most important to them, and easily filter any received responses to effectively and efficiently identify potentially suitable matches. Personal ads may also have increased appeal to short term or one time encounter seekers. The use of an ad may decrease the amount of time one has to spend wondering or questioning if another person is looking or willing to engage in the encounter in which the advertiser desires. When using a personal ad, "small talk" is virtually unnecessary which is ideal for advertisers who are seeking one time sexual encounters, due to the anonymity and lack of conversation needed to create the meeting or hookup (Tewksbury, 1996; Polley and Tewksbury, 2007). Interestingly, research on personal ads has found significant differences in advertisements based on gender and sexual orientation (Tewksbury, 2003). Men, when describing potential partners are more likely to focus on physical characteristics (including size of penis) (Bartholome et al.), while personal ads placed by women are more likely to make reference to physical appearance (i.e., tall or good looking), social characteristics and age (Frigault, Mensah & Perez, 1994; Goode, 1996, 1998).

Research has found that MSM are very likely to be influenced by statements in personal ads that refer to physical attractiveness, which is a high priority among gay men (Hatala & Predhodka, 1996; Goode, 1996, 1998). Furthermore, Deaux and Hanna (1984) found that gay men offered a narrower range of characteristics sought than men seeking out heterosexual contact. For example, gay men were more likely to seek out very specific characteristics (body type, penis size) rather than offer information about finances or their occupation. Likewise, men seeking men personal ads are less likely to offer information about hopes of a long term relationship or personality characteristics, compared to heterosexual men seeking women or women seeking women personal ads. In simple terms, personal ads of men seeking men for sexual encounters tend to be highly focused, specific in their stated desired partner characteristics and explicit about being in search of sex and only sex.


It must also be stated that the study of men who have sex with other men is not equated with a study of gay male culture (Tewksbury, 1996). Moreover, not all men who engage in MSM encounters or that place personal ads seeking sexual encounters with other men identify as gay or bisexual; this might be particularly relevant in the study of those who seek out hookups with married men. Much of the research on men who have sex with men have found that men of essentially all sexual identities and sexual orientations engage in sex with other men (Humphreys, 1975; Weatherford, 1986; Gray, 1988; Tewksbury, 1990, 1996).

Humphreys' (1975) examination of the "tearoom trade" was one of the first to analyze participation of public sexual acts. Beginning in 1966 and continuing for two years, Humphreys served as a watch-queen (voyeur lookout) in tearooms (public restrooms used for sex) in St. Louis. Humphreys also took down over 100 license plate numbers and then posed as a survey interviewer for a study on mental health to follow up and collect personal information from these men. While his study is often cited as unethical, his research provided important information on same-sex sexual encounters in public places. Humphreys specifically discussed how the tearoom participants engaged in a complex set of collective action which included signaling, maneuvering, contracting, foreplay, and the sex act. Of the 50 men Humphreys covertly interviewed, over 50 percent reported that they were currently married. The post Humphreys study of MSM have taken different approaches, including law enforcement surveillance techniques to obtain information (De sroches, 1990; Gray, 1988; Maynard, 1994; Polley & Tewksbury, 2010). Delph (1978) and Tewksbury (1990, 1993) used simple observation to study MSM, and Tewksbury (1996) and Brown (2003) used in-depth interviews to study cruisers and cruising behaviors. (See Tewksbury (2010) for a review of men's same-sex sexual encounter search and consummation behaviors.)

Tewksbury (1996) conducted in depth interviews of men who cruised urban parks for sex, focusing on such as a dangerous game. In addition to public parks men go to adult book store peep shows (Tewksbury, 1990), adult cinemas (Tewksbury & Douglas, 2008), gay bathhouses (Tewksbury, 2002), highway rest areas (Corzine & Kirby, 1997) and publicly accessible restrooms in a wide range of locations (Tewksbury, 2008) to initiate and negotiate sexual encounters. Searching for MSM via the Internet allows for quick and easy cruising with less risk of getting caught than conventional cruising, although there are still risks for married men regardless of the hookup medium used. Additionally, as more and more individuals utilize phones with Internet access, the opportunities for cruising for casual sexual encounters would appear to increase dramatically. In fact, the Internet might even allow for easier access to more risky sexual encounters, such as bug chasing and/or bug giving (giving or receiving sex from someone with HIV/AIDS) or bareback sex (sex without using a condom) (Carballo-Diquez, Dowset, Ventuneac, Remien, Balan, Dolzeal, Luciano & Lin, 2006; Grov, 2004; Tewksbury, 2003,2006). The Internet and use of personal ads provides an easy portal for individuals who are looking for a discrete encounter or encounters on the down-low (DL).


It could be argued that many of the same rationales that men use for engaging in sex outside of marriage with a female partner could also be used to describe sexual infidelity by married men who are seeking sex with male partners. These rationales include boredom, lack of sexual variety, desire for additional partners, or desire to explore or engage in sexual encounters that have been repressed due to males trying to conform to traditional male roles (i.e. strong, heterosexual, sports loving male). Research on infidelity has noted that individuals with permissive sexual values are more likely to engage in extramarital relations (Smith, 1994; Treas & Griesen, 2000). Opportunities, in particular the access to potential partners and circumstances that allow for secrecy, facilitate the onset and persistence of extra-marital sex. In their famous study on sex, Kinsey, Wardell, and Martin (1948) distinguished between emotional and sexual infidelity. Emotional infidelity has been traditionally explained as when a dyadic partner experiences feelings of love for another individual (Buunk, 1980). Sexual infidelity, by contrast, involves a sexual encounter without emotional attachment, such as that of when a male visits a prostitute. Another example could be that of the hook up where an individual engages in a sexual encounter that lasts only one night or one time, between individuals who barely know each other or are strangers (Paul, McManus & Hayes, 2000). It has been argued by some authors that males are more likely to engage in sexual infidelity, whereas females are more likely to engage in emotional infidelity (Thompson, 1984). Thompson also found that women were far more disapproving of sex outside of marriage without love and were far less likely to engage in it. Additionally, men were more likely to report less guilt from extra-marital sex (Spanier & Margolis, 1983).

Men may engage in sex outside of marriage due to lack of sexual satisfaction or boredom with their current sex life (Glass & Wright, 1992). In the case of married men who engage in sexual encounters with men, it could be proposed that these men are getting some type of sexual activity that their wives are unwilling or physically cannot perform. It could also be argued that married men who have sex with other men are experiencing an ego boost or increase in self confidence from the hook up or casual encounter (Paul & Hayes, 2002). Malcolm (2008) notes that married men who have sex with other men (MMSM) are difficult to study because, as a general rule, they prefer their MMSM behavior to be clandestine. In his earlier research, Malcolm (2000) noted that MMSM occurs for various reasons, including a preference for homosexual sex but the desire to appear heterosexual through marriage. Men may in fact prefer sex with men or identify as gay but choose to be married to a woman to cover up these feelings or hide them from open view, instead seeking to fulfill these desires through hook-ups, cruising for sex or any other erotic oasis outlets where they can find MSM. Studies suggest that 20 percent of self-labeled gay men marry (Grever, 2001; Lehne, 1976).

Regardless of whether a seeker is looking for a one-time occurrence or a continuous sexual liaison, or the reasons why they engage in the MSM, men who engage in using personal ads for sexual encounters with married men are intentionally looking for a sexual encounter considered to be outside of the typical type of extra-marital sexual encounter. Personal ads allow an individual a great deal of freedom, selection and mobility, increasing the ability for secrecy or discretion while also allowing someone to arrange for an encounter on the go (using a phone to set up a casual encounter over a lunch break). A willing individual could have free time at lunch, post an advertisement and arrange the hook up with little fear of arousing suspicion from a wife or partner. This present study sought to capture more information on men who in their personal ads specifically requested that their hookup be a married man and attempt to gather information on their sexual preferences, sex roles and level of discretion desired as well as interest in safe sex and drug and disease free encounters. Such is an area that has received little attention in previous research.

The authors believe that men seeking married hook-ups are more likely than their counterparts not seeking a married hookup to be open to all sexual activities, mention safe sex in their advertisements, request a disease and drug free (DDF) hookup, and be more open with regards to a time frame to meet for the sexual encounter. The authors also believe that men seeking married hookups are more likely than their counterparts not seeking a married hookup to also be married.


A large portion of the previous research on men seeking men for sexual encounters involves advertisements on websites that are exclusively for personal advertisements or finding sexual partners. The data used in this study come from the analysis of personal advertisements of men seeking men on a traditionally non-sexual classified advertisement website, even though ads are placed in the personals section. As a result, it is believed using a traditionally non-sexual classified advertisement website for this study examines a new dynamic not examined by the previous research on MSM. It differs from previous work in that this is a general bulletin board website that is easier to get to and does not require sub-cultural knowledge. Users of this non-sexual website are free to post non-sexual and sexual advertisements and respond to advertisements at no cost to the user and membership is not necessary.

For purposes of this study, the males placing advertisements on this traditionally nonsexual classified advertisement website are called seekers whereas those responding to advertisements by the seekers (or those seekers hope will respond) are called hookups. Seekers have the opportunity to place any information they desire into their advertisements. The most common information found in the advertisements included geographic location of the seekers (usually city or specific location within the city), the race and age of the seeker, the preferred position or sexual role of the seeker (top, bottom, or versatile), sexual activity desired (receive/give oral sex, sexual intercourse, mutual hand job, etc.), and being drug and disease free. Other information, such as if the seeker wanted to use a condom during the encounter, the time frame the seeker preferred the encounter to occur (morning, lunch, afternoon, evening, late night), and the marital status of the seeker as well as for the hookup were also found in some advertisements. These variables are examined in this study because it is believed that these are topics that are especially important for married males who are being sought out for sexual encounters by other male seekers.

The data used in this study came from the analysis of personal advertisements of men seeking men on a traditionally non-sexual classified bulletin board website. For this study, MSM sexual advertisements from four geographically dispersed cities across the United States were used from one common bulletin board website. For the Midwestern and Northeastern cities, all advertisements posted from September 1, 2009 through September 30, 2009 were used. Moreover, for the two Western cities, all advertisements posted from October 1,2009 through October 31, 2009 were used. The random selection of twenty-five advertisements per day (e.g., 645 advertisements on July 1/25 = 25.8 or every 25th advertisement) was utilized in this study for a total of 750 cases from the Midwestern and Northeastern cities and a total of 775 cases from each of the Western cities. As a result of the four cities having a different number of cases, a random selection of 750 cases out of the 775 cases from both of the Western cities was utilized in order for each city to have a total of 750 cases; therefore the total number of cases used in this study was 3,000. Advertisements were then coded and entered into SPSS. Descriptive statistics were used to compare married and unmarried posters of advertisements.


Requesting the Hookup to be Married

If the seeker stated that he desired the hookup to be married in the advertisement, this was coded as 1 for "requesting a married hook-up." If the seeker did not state he desired a married hookup or requested an unmarried hookup, this was coded as 0 for "unmarried or unspecified married hookup requested." In this study, there were a total of 83 respondents requesting a married hookup (2.8 percent) and a total of 2917 (97.2 percent) who did not specify a marital status for the hookup or requested an unmarried hookup.

Age of Seeker

Many of the seekers stated their age in their advertisements. The ages ranged from 18 to 75 and age was coded as a continuous variable. The mean age of the 3,000 respondents was 33.29 years old (standard deviation = 9.26). For the 209 (5.9 percent) respondents missing on this category, the average age of 33.29 was used and imputed. For the respondents seeking a married hookup, the ages ranged from 18 to 56 with a mean age of 36.32 years old (standard deviation = 8.57). For the respondents that did not specify a marital status for the hookup or requested an unmarried hookup, the ages ranged from 18 to 75 years old with a mean age of 33.21 (standard deviation = 9.26).

Time Frame Desired for the Sexual Encounter

Many of the seekers stated that they were only available at specific times of day in their advertisements. These times were coded as Morning, During Lunch, Afternoon, Evening, Late Night, Open, and Not Specified. Each of these time frames were coded 1 for yes and 0 for no. In this study, there were a total of 81 men wishing to meet in the morning (2.7 percent), 32 during lunch (1.1 percent), 71 in the afternoon (2.4 percent), 174 in the evening (5.8 percent), 89 late night (3.0 percent), 205 men that were available at any time of the day (open to any time) (6.8 percent), and 2348 men did not specify a time in their advertisement (78.3 percent). Among those seekers requesting a married hookup, 3 (3.6 percent) requested a morning encounter, 0 (0.0 percent) desired the encounter to be during lunch, 1 (1.2 percent) wanted an afternoon encounter, 2 (2.4 percent) wanted an evening encounter, 2 (2.4 percent) males requested a late night encounter, 17 (20.5 percent) were available at any time of the day (open to any time) and 58 (69.9 percent) did not specify a desired time frame for the sexual encounter.

Those seeking a married hookup were found to be significantly different than those seekers without a specified marital status for the hookup with regards to being open to meeting the hookup at any time of the day or night. For example, those seeking a married hookup had significantly higher percentages of not specifying a time to have the encounter compared to those who did not specify a marital status for the hookup (20.5 percent versus 6.4 percent, p < 0.001 respectively).

Drug and Disease Free Seeker

Seven hundred and ten (23.7 percent) seekers stated that they were drug and disease free whereas 2,290 (76.3 percent) seekers did not state if they were or were not drug and disease free. Among the seekers desiring a married hookup, 38 (45.8 percent) reported they were drug and disease free whereas 45 (54.2 percent) of the married seekers did not report they were drug and disease free.

Those seeking married hookups were found to report significantly higher percentages of being drug and disease free compared to those seekers without a specified marital status for the hookup (45.8 percent versus 23.0 percent, p < 0.001 respectively).

Was Safe Sex Mentioned in the Advertisement?

There were a total of 263 (8.8 percent) male seekers that mentioned safe sex in their advertisement whereas 2737 (91.2 percent) seekers did not mention safe sex. Moreover, 21 (25.3 percent) of the seekers looking for a married hookup mentioned safe sex in their ad and 62 (74.7 percent) of them did not mention safe sex in their advertisement.

When comparing seekers requesting a married hookup to those seekers without a specified marital status for the hookup, those seeking a married hookup had significantly higher percentages of mentioning safe sex in their advertisement compared to their counterparts (25.3 percent versus 8.3 percent, p < 0.001 respectively).

Preferred Sexual Position/Role of the Seeker

A majority of the advertisements specified the preferred sexual position/role of the seeker. The common sexual roles included Top, Bottom, and Versatile. The 3000 male seekers in this study reported their sexual position/role preference as follows: 240 (8.0 percent) Tops, 398 (13.3 percent) Bottoms, 110 (3.7 percent) versatile males, and 2252 (75.1 percent) with an unspecified sexual position/role. Of the 83 seekers looking for a married hookup, 4 (4.8 percent) reported being a Top, 8 (9.6 percent) reported being a Bottom, 5 (6.0 percent) reported being Versatile and 66 (79.5 percent) did not report a specified sexual position/role.

No significant differences were found when comparing seekers requesting a married hookup and those seekers who did not state specific marital status in their hookup request.

Activity Sought by the Seeker

In the posted advertisements, various activities for the encounter were requested or desired by the seeker. These activities included Receiving Oral Sex, Intercourse, Giving Oral Sex, A Mutual Hand Job, Open to All Activities, and Other Activity Desired. Of the 3000 respondents in this study, 187 (6.2 percent) wanted to receive oral sex, 229 (7.6 percent) wanted intercourse, 475 (15.8 percent) wanted to give oral sex, 94 (3.1 percent) wanted a mutual hand job, 1175 (39.2 percent) were open to all activities, and 33 (1.1 percent) desired another activity. In addition, 807 (26.9 percent) respondents did not specify a desired sexual activity in their advertisement.

Among the 83 seekers desiring a married hookup, 0 (0.0 percent) wanted to receive oral sex, 3 (3.6 percent) wanted intercourse, 18 (21.7 percent) wanted to give oral sex, 1 (1.2 percent) wanted a mutual hand job, 43 (51.8 percent) were open to all activities, and 0 (0.0 percent) desired another activity. In addition, 18 (21.7 percent) of those seekers desiring a married hookup did not specify a desired sexual activity.

Significant differences were found between seekers desiring a married hookup and seekers without a specific marital status for the hookup with regards to the type of activity desired during the encounter. For example, seekers requesting a desired hookup reported significantly higher percentages of being open to all activities (51.8 percent versus 38.8 percent, p < 0.001 respectively) than the seekers without a specific marital status required for the hookup.

Marital Status of the Seeker

This variable was based on if the seeker stated he was married. If the seeker stated that he was unmarried or if he did not state his marital status then he was coded as unmarried/unknown marital status. These were all coded 1 for "yes" and 0 for "no." There were a total of 161 (5.4 percent) married men and 2839 (94.6 percent) men with unknown marital status.

Seekers that were requesting a married hookup were significantly more likely to be married than those seekers without a specific marital status desired for the hookup (37.3 percent versus 4.5 percent, p < 0.001 respectively).


The results of this paper add to what is known about MSM and the nature of sexual encounters that are pursued via online personal advertisements particularly that of men who desire a married hookup. It also alludes to the fact that MSM is not a gay culture phenomenon but encompasses men of all sexual orientations and sex roles (Humphreys, 1975; Tewksbury, 1990, 1996, 2006). One could also argue that it also adds insight to the idea that marital sexual transgressions occur outside of what is seen as a traditional "affair," and that the internet provides a medium to find a mutual partner for a variety of sexual encounters. Seekers that were requesting a married hookup were significantly more likely to be married than those seekers without a specific marital status required for the hookup. This could be due to the understanding of a "no strings attached" encounter or similar circumstances of having to meet when a spouse is not around. Moreover, those seeking a married hookup sought out encounters at different times than their counterparts who did not request a married hookup and were more likely to be open to the time frame for the encounter. This could be due to the nature that married hookups are more limited to the times they are available for the encounter. Leaving the time frame open for the encounter allows more flexibility for the married hookup so as to not be caught by their spouses.

Of particular interest when considering public health and risk taking behaviors as well as the transmission of HIV/AIDS, is the language used such as "safe sex" or "drug and disease free" in online personal ads. As noted by Grov (2010), the prevalence of bare-backing or uninhibited sex tended to be low in ads placed on a non-explicit specific website. One could also conclude that men who are looking for those activities seek them out in places where they are more likely to be well received or replied to (Grov, 2006; Tewksbury, 2003, 2006). Those seeking married men were more likely to report that they were looking for safe sex as well as that they were drug and disease free. Not surprisingly, married men may be concerned about bringing a disease home to their wife and family, not only to prevent the spread of disease to their family but also because contraction of a disease would indicate that the individual had been unfaithful. Due to the belief that married men may want to engage in sex with men but are more likely to want to do so in a way that is safe, by using protection, those looking for married hookups may be more likely to place this information in their advertisement in order to have a married hookup respond to their advertisement.

In regards to desired sexual activity during the encounter, those seeking married men were more likely to be open to the type of activity than those who were unmarried or did not state a marital status. This may be because they care more about having an encounter with a married man and do not have a particular activity in mind. On the other hand, by leaving the type of activity open, this may allow for more than one sexual activity to occur during the encounter such as oral sex and/or a mutual hand job. Moreover, married men may see certain activities as not cheating on their wives, such as a mutual hand job because this is a sexual activity that is simply not an option with their wives; consequently, by being open to activities during the encounter, the seeker may be more likely to have a married hookup respond to his advertisement.

There are several limitations to this study. First, this study utilized self-report data or data entered by a person to project a certain appearance. As is the case with all self-report data, it is unknown if the respondents are being completely honest with their answers. Consequently, it is unknown if the users of the free bulletin board website were being completely honest with the information posted in their advertisement. It should be noted that this is common on most personal ad websites as well. For example, some males may have said they were married when they truly were not. Moreover, because the site used in this study is free, this may cause an increase in those who are curious about seeking males for sex. Therefore, it is unknown if users posting advertisements were serious about seeking males for sex or if they were posting advertisements to see if they would receive a response to their advertisement and what type of person responded (e.g., younger or older male, attractive or unattractive male, etc.). Another limitation of this study is the possibility of repeat advertisements or males posting advertisements daily. Although the attempt to avoid repeat advertisements or repeat posters was utilized, there is a possibility that all of the repeat advertisements may not have been deleted. An additional limitation is the advertisements can be easily removed at any time. Therefore, it is unknown if all of the advertisements posted were observed for each of the cities during the specified times of data collection. However, it is believed that an adequate sample was obtained that represents the majority of the advertisements posted during the month of September 2009 for the Midwestern and Northeastern cities, and October 2009 for the two Western cities.

It would appear that a small proportion of men are seeking out sexual encounters specifically with married men. This analysis found that the personal advertisements of these seeking hookups with married men were different than that of those who did not report they wanted an unmarried hookup or did not specify a marital status for the hookup.


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Kelly Cheeseman,

Messiah College.

Wendi Goodlin-Fahncke,

University of Toledo.

Richard Tewksbury,

University of Louisville.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kelly Cheeseman, email: kcheeseman@messiah.edu.

DOI: 10.3149/jms.2002.144
Table 1
Means and Percentages Comparing Those Requesting a Married Hookup
and Those Requesting an Unmarried Hookup in Four American Cities
in 2009

                                         Total        Requesting a
                                                     Married Hookup

Age of Seeker (a)                        33.29           36.32

Time Frame for Encounter
Morning                                81 (2.7%)        3 (3.6%)
Lunch                                  32 (l.1%)        0 (0.0%)
Afternoon                              71 (2.4%)        l (l.2%)
Evening                               174 (5.8%)        2 (2.4%)
Late                                   89 (3.0%)        2 (2.4%)
Open                                  205 (6.8%)       17 (20.5%) ***
Unspecified                          2348 (78.3%)      58 (69.9%)

Disease and Drug Free
DDF Specified in Ad                   710 (23.7%)      38 (45.8%) ***
DDF Not Specified in Ad              2290 (76.3%)      45 (54.2%)

Safe Sex is Mentioned in Ad           263 (8.8%)       21 (25.3%) ***
Safe Sex is not Mentioned in Ad      2737 (91.2%)      62 (74.7%)

Preferred Sex Position
Top                                   240 (8.0%)        4 (4.8%)
Bottom                                398 (13.3%)       8 (9.6%)
Versatile                             110 (3.7%)        5 (6.0%)
Unspecified                          2252 (75.1%)      66 (79.5%)

Desired Sexual Activity
Wants Oral Sex                       187 (6.2%)        0 (0.0%) *
Wants Intercourse                    229 (7.6%)        3 (3.6%)
Wants to Give Oral Sex               475 (15.8%)      18 (21.7%)
Wants Mutual Hand Job                 94 (3.1%)        l (l.2%)
Open to All Activities              1175 (39.2%)      43 (51.8%) *
Other Activity Desired                33 (l.1%)        0 (0.0%)
Unspecified Activity                 807 (26.9%)      18 (21.7%)

Seeker is Married
Yes                                  161 (5.4%)       31 (37.3%) ***
No/Unspecified                      2839 (94.6%)      52 (62.7%)

N                                   3000 (100.0%)     83 (100.0%)


Age of Seeker (a)                         33.21

Time Frame for Encounter
Morning                                 78 (2.7%)
Lunch                                   32 (l.1%)
Afternoon                               70 (2.4%)
Evening                                172 (5.9%)
Late                                    87 (3.0%)
Open                                   188 (6.4%)
Unspecified                           2290 (78.5%)

Disease and Drug Free
DDF Specified in Ad                    672 (23.0%)
DDF Not Specified in Ad               2245 (70.0%)

Safe Sex is Mentioned in Ad            242 (8.3%)
Safe Sex is not Mentioned in Ad       2675 (91.7%)

Preferred Sex Position
Top                                    236 (81.%)
Bottom                                 390 (13.4%)
Versatile                              105 (3.6%)
Unspecified                           2186 (74.9%)

Desired Sexual Activity
Wants Oral Sex                         187 (6.4%)
Wants Intercourse                      226 (7.7%)
Wants to Give Oral Sex                 457 (15.7%)
Wants Mutual Hand Job                   93 (3.2%)
Open to All Activities                1132 (38.8%)
Other Activity Desired                  33 (l.1%)
Unspecified Activity                   789 (27.0%)

Seeker is Married
Yes                                    130 (4.5%)
No/Unspecified                        2787 (95.5%)

N                                     2917 (100.0%)

*** p <0.001, * p <0.05. (a) = Mean
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