Real Personal Ads: How and Where To Find Them in 2023

Doublelist Team

October 20, 2023 12 minutes read
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Personal ads have been a way for people to connect with potential partners for decades. Our first record of them dates back to the 1690s. In the past, magazines and newspapers had little columns on the back for people seeking love or sex. With the rise of dating apps and websites, classic printed personal ads are less common than they once were. But they aren’t gone! You can still find real personal ads today if you know where to look.

This article explores everything about personal ads in 2023. Read on to learn what they are, where to find them, and how to navigate them safely.


Diving Into the World of Personal Ads: What Are They?

Personal ads are advertisements in publications or online for people seeking romance, friendships, or sex. The ads are typically brief, describing the person placing the ad and the type of relationship they seek.

Personals have existed for centuries, with the first known appearing in British and French publications in the late 1600s. Personal ads became more popular in the 1700s and 1800s, especially in urban areas. Eligible singles living in large, impersonal cities often tried to find spouses and companionship through personal ads.

In the early 20th century, printed publications like newspapers usually had sections dedicated to personal ads. The ads were short and direct. They list the poster’s basic information, like age, gender, occupation, and desired traits in a partner. Personal ads often used phrases like “lonely spinster seeks companion” or “affluent gentleman searches for a suitable wife.”

Many newspapers and magazines featuring personals separated them by gender. Men would place “bachelor” ads while women placed “lonely hearts” ads. This reflects the societal norms at the time. Many people in this period believed proper ladies did not actively seek relationships or casual dating in the public sphere. Today, thanks to many feminist movements, women can seek partners actively without shame.

The internet revolutionized personal ads, making the process much more efficient. Sites like Match provide free and paid personal ad services. Singles can now post detailed ads and even add their pictures.

The world is now modern, but individuals still feel the basic human desire to find friendship and love. While personal ads have evolved with extra features, their core purpose remains to connect people seeking meaningful companionship.


How to Craft Irresistible Personal Ads That Spark Connections

Writing a great personal ad is easy. You just need to be authentic, positive, and specific about what you’re looking for. Here is a step-by-step guide for crafting a personal ad that’ll bag you a date:

  • Start with an attention-grabbing headline: Your headline should make potential matches want to talk to you. You need to make it catchy. You could say something clever or funny, depending on your personality. Just keep it light, not cheesy.
  • Introduce yourself: Share a bit about your personality, interests, and what makes you unique. But avoid oversharing; a bit of mystery will keep the fun going.
  • Describe your ideal partner: Let ad browsers know your preferences for a partner. Use vivid imagery and positive language. Rather than a laundry list, describe the experience of being with this person.
  • Extend a tempting invitation: Entice potential matches to connect over shared interests and activities. For example: “I’d love to meet someone to share hiking trips, visits to the farmer’s market, and cooking classes.”
  • Clarify your dating goals: State whether you’re looking for casual dating or a serious relationship. Being upfront will help attract compatible matches.
  • Close with a call to action: End with an invitation to get in touch, making it easy for interested people to reach out. For example: “If this interests you, I can’t wait to hear from you!”
  • Choose the right platform: You don’t want to post a killer personal ad on a mediocre platform. So, you need to select a dating site or app that fits your goals and preferences.
  • Be authentic: Overall, the most important tip for crafting a winning personal ad is to show your genuine personality. The right matches will find the real you attractive. Have fun crafting your personal ad!

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Exploring Romance and Sex: Best Dating Sites To Find Real Personal Ads in 2023

Looking for a real personal ad in a world of fake accounts can be challenging. You need to scroll through countless profiles and have many small talks to avoid scammers and catfishers. But don’t fret – you can find compatible partners online easily if you choose the right platform. Certain dating platforms, like Ashley Madison, specialize in facilitating real personal ads that communicate romantic and sexual interests. This allows like-minded individuals to connect easily for relationships, casual hookups, or shared fantasies. Here are the top sites for discovering personals tailored to your desires in 2023.

Top Free Dating Sites for Amazing Connections

Several free options allow you to browse personals and communicate with potential matches without opening your wallet. Here are five of the top free dating sites for making amazing connections:

  • Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace is one of the best free platforms for browsing personal ads if you already have a Facebook account. It helps you find locals with whom you share interests when browsing potential matches. You can also join Facebook dating groups focused on specific interests or demographics.
  • Oodle Personals: Oodle is a top classified site for people to buy and sell all sorts of goods and services. For free, you can post an ad describing what you’re looking for in a partner in the personals section. Browsing and responding to other people’s ads is also free. Oodle Personals caters to both long-term relationship seekers and casual daters.
  • DoubleList: DoubleList is another classified dating site with personal ads for casual dating and serious commitments. You can also browse personal ads or post your ad for free. DoubleList emphasizes the privacy and safety of its users, so you’ll need to verify your identity.
  • Locanto: Locanto offers local classified ads with categories for jobs, furniture, housing, and dating. You can post a personal ad, browse ads, and chat with matches for free on the site. Locanto is available globally, so you can find locals or browse ads in other cities.
  • BedPage: BedPage offers a traditional text-based personal ads system that you can browse for free. You can filter by location, age, and sexual preferences to find the perfect match. Registration only requires an email address, so you can create a profile easily and start browsing.

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Exploring Personals on Mainstream Dating Platforms

Many mainstream platforms offer sections for people seeking meaningful connections or casual hookups. Here are some major dating sites you can use to find real personal ads:

  • Match: Match, one of the first and largest online dating platforms, has offered personals since its launch in 1995. Every Match user takes a personality quiz that helps the site’s algorithm match them with compatible singles. You can create a profile for free to find singles near you, but you need to subscribe for extra features. Match mainly caters to singles seeking serious relationships.
  • OkCupid: You can easily find and contact potential matches for casual encounters or love on OkCupid. Like Match, OkCupid also provides personality matching and quizzes to help you find compatible dates. You’ll answer questions to better understand yourself and what you seek in a partner.
  • Reddit r/Personals: The r/Personals subreddit allows Reddit users to post personal ads and connect with fellow Redditors. You can meet someone through ongoing threads, whether for a friendly conversation or a coffee date. All you need to do is create a free Reddit account to access r/Personals.
  • EliteSingles: EliteSingles caters specifically to educated, career-driven singles seeking serious commitments. Members take an extensive personality test that matches them with compatible professional partners. Tell matches your occupation, interests, age, and relationship preferences in your personal ad to attract the best matches.
  • Tinder: Tinder doesn’t have the layout of a personal website; it uses the swipe feature to help users find matches. However, you can post longer-form personal ads conveying your personality and desired qualities in a partner in your profile. Tinder caters more to hookups than lasting relationships, but some users seek more serious dating on this app. You can feature profiles based on location, age, or sexual orientation.

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Unearthing Desires: Where To Find Personal Ads for Kinks and Fetishes

Finding partners who share your kinks and fetishes is exciting but often challenging. But by browsing personal ads on certain niche sites, you can connect with like-minded individuals discreetly. Here are five sites that cater to a wide range of alternative interests:

  • BoldPersonals: BoldPersonals has been around since 2004, serving adults seeking consensual kinky relationships. It attracts open-minded people looking for casual encounters, relationships, and anything in between. With over half a million active users, BoldPersonals connects adults interested in BDSM, swinging, polyamory, and other fetishes.
  • is one of the original fetish dating sites. You can find people seeking bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM) on Alt. Members can browse personals with detailed fantasies, connect via chat and message boards, and attend virtual or in-person events. You can access advanced search and communication tools if you pay for extra features.
  • The Cage: The Cage features personal ads from singles seeking vanilla and kinky relationships and hookups. You can easily find fetish-friendly users interested in bondage, leather, domination, foot worship, and other kinks. You can leverage search tools to find compatible matches on The Cage.
  • FetLife: People often regard FetLife as the Facebook for kinksters. This free social network boasts over 10 million members. Users can share stories, discuss fetishes, and find local/online groups focusing on their interests on the site.
  • AdultFriendFinder: AFF is one of the largest adult dating networks worldwide. It provides an open environment for all sexual activities. Members can search profiles based on fetish keywords, interact via chat and instant messaging, and meet for sexual encounters.

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Safety 101: How To Know if a Personal Ad Is Real

While many personal ads are genuine, some can be scams. Discerning a real personal ad from a fake one is easy. Here is how to know if a personal ad is real:

  • Research the person’s name and photo: Scammers often steal people’s photos and identities so that a quick online search can save you a lot of stress. If you find a potential match’s name and photo on other profiles, they’re likely a catfish.
  • Watch for too-good-to-be-true traits: Beware of ads describing someone perfect. Most people have flaws. A profile with exaggerated positive traits is likely a fake account appealing to fantasy.
  • Look out for overseas locations: Many scammers claim to be overseas military personnel or contractors. Be wary if they say they are abroad and cannot meet in person. Ask yourself why someone overseas would post a local ad.
  • Beware of requests for money: A real admirer will not ask for money. Scammers often concoct emergencies to trick people into sending money. Never send money to someone you haven’t met.
  • Analyze their writing: Does the ad read like natural speech, or is the language weird? Scammers may use language translating software that phrases sentences awkwardly.
  • Talk on the phone first: Insist on a phone call before meeting physically. This way, you can confirm if they’re who their profile says. Ask specific questions about their background that a real person could easily answer.
  • Meet in a public place: When meeting for the first time, choose a crowded public spot. Never go to their home or invite them to yours.
  • Go with your gut: Trust your instincts if anything seems “off” about the ad or interactions. It’s better to miss a chance than risk your safety.

Follow these tips, and you’re more likely to have a safe, successful dating experience.


Are Personal Ads on Craigslist Real? Exploring DoubleList as an Alternative

People often wonder, “Are personal ads on Craigslist real?” when seeking various types of connections for dating and casual encounters. Craigslist is a private classified company that helps people find jobs, housing, community services, and more. The site had a personal ads section that catered to people seeking all kinds of relationships. On the site, people used to browse classified ads for dating, casual encounters, adult relationships, etc. Many of the personal ads on Craigslist were real, and people depended on it for romantic or sexual connections.

However, Craigslist Personals shut down in March 2018 after Congress passed new legislation to curb sex trafficking online. The legislation (FOSTA-SESTA) made websites more liable for third-party content facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking. Though Craigslist is not illegal, criminals and sex traffickers sometimes misuse the personals section. This made Craigslist remove the personals section to avoid potential legal issues.

Craigslist Personals may have shut down, but you have other options for finding relationships. If you need a classified dating site with features similar to Craigslist Personals, DoubleList is your best bet. DoubleList is a foolproof plug for finding the perfect match, whether a casual hookup or forever love. You can feel confident finding real personal ads on our platform because we verify our users’ identities.

Are you ready to join the DoubleList crew and start browsing listings for potential matches in your area? Sign up for free and create a profile today!

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