How men and women attract each other – according to Austin’s Craigslist

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Austin's criagslist

I analyzed the ads and headlines of postings in the w4m and m4w section Austin Craigslist personal section.  I looked at all the postings for 44 straight days

We can’t tell how effective these ads are, but they do give us some clue about what men and women operate.  It also gives us some clue about what each gender thinks the opposite sex is looking for.


Men posted over 4 times as many ads as women did (522 and 2,252).  A couple of theories on why the large difference are women feel less safe on an internet forum than men might.  Men are expected to pursue women in society. Easier to post an ad looking than ask a woman in real life. Women get hit on all the time so they don’t need to post an ad, but men have run out of women to hit on.

Day of the Week

Men and women posted at roughly the same rate as each other throughout the week.
Women are 3% more likely to post an ad on Tuesday and men were 2.5% more likely to post on Friday.


age of craigslist dater

Average age for a woman = 30 Average age for a man = 32
I was surprised that men were more likely than women to not post their age.


This is where it gets really interesting.  I looked for specific words in the ads.  Then we can compare how frequently each gender uses a given word or set of words.

Women use these words more frequently than men (In order of increasing frequency difference)

  • Friend – 10.3% more frequently than men
  • Long term, Long-term, or ltr – 23% more frequently than men
  • Cute – 43.8% more frequently than men
  • Date – 46.4% more frequently than men
  • Democrat, liberal, or progressive – 64.3% more frequently than men
  • Herpes –  72.6% more frequently than men
  • Funny, humor, laugh, or witty – 79.6% more frequently than men
  • Aggie or A&M – 115.7% more frequently than men
  • Christian – 127.1% more frequently than men
  • Single parent, single mom, single dad  – 138.4% more frequently than men
  • Overweight, BBW, “not skinny”, thick, or plus size – 273.2% more frequently than men
  • Job – 2,606.2% more frequently than men

Men use these words more frequently than women (In order of increasing frequency difference)

  • Conservative or Republican – .4% of men used one of these words but no women did
  • Sex – 5% more frequently than women
  • UT or Longhorns – 22.9% more frequently than women
  • 420, weed, or marijuana – 23.4% more frequently than women
  • Cuddle – 82.1% more frequently than women
  • Physical – 110.4% more frequently than women
  • Handsome – 115.2% more frequently than women
  • Tonight – 120.8% more frequently than women
  • Athletic – 280.1% more frequently than women

Men and women used the following word at almost identical rates

  • Attractive – men and women both used this word in 11% of their ads

What does it all mean?  Do that many women really have herpes?  Can unemployed men get a date?  What are men talking about cuddling so much? I’ll leave it to the commenters and other bloggers to dissect.  I’d love to hear what you think.

2 thoughts on “How men and women attract each other – according to Austin’s Craigslist

  1. Liz Doherty says:

    This data is interesting, and I wonder if it holds true from city to city. Here in SF, I did some research into pure numbers, and have found the overall traffic on the MSW and WSM boards today to be about one-tenth of the volume four years ago. To answer one of your questions here, yes, women have a slightly higher risk of having genital herpes (25% of women have it) than men (20%).

  2. TexasTexasTexas says:

    This is interesting to me because I met my husband on Craigslist. I was already 40. Everyone told me I was nuts to post to perverts and that I had no chance at finding a man at 40. I just hadnt been ready to settle down and nest until then.

    I found the opposite to be true! I posted my picture (seriously, it was NOT embarrassing) and talked honestly about what I was looking for. I included that I was looking for marriage and that I was willing to relocate for love.

    I got MANY high-quality replies from educated and handsome men. They thanked me for saying I wanted to marry and said they did, too. I happen to have a great sense of humor so I attracted some funny men. What a BLAST it was to e-flirt!! I had about 6 guys in a “meet and greet” kind of communication for a week.

    After meeting my future husband (first date), I wrote to the others that I had to delete them so I could give 100% to a relationship (you can’t be 100% if you have back-burners waiting). Hardest thing to do!!!!! ….was deleting them.

    But I’m happily married and I’ve written several adverts for other single people on CL!

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