U.S. Soldiers Using Craigslist To Solicit Sexual Encounters, Prompting Investigation

American troops in Afghanistan are reportedly using Craigslist to solicit and arrange casual and discreet sexual encounters, according to the Army Times

"Sexual activities in a war zone are as old as wars themselves, but with the advent of Internet personal ads and social media sites, arranging a sexual encounter can become brazen, public and risky. Warnings from commanders, standard guidance for any unit headed to the war zone, appear to have fallen on deaf ears in many cases."

As a result, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Afghanistan is now having agents monitor such sites, and investigating any potential sexual encounters as violations of conduct. The Times told the story of one soldier:

"One Marine lance corporal…posted an advertisement on Craigslist for a sexual rendezvous. The guy he met at Camp Leatherneck, whom he thought was also looking to hook up, turned out to be an undercover agent with the NCIS."

The report then went on to explain:

"Online sex solicitation is technically not a crime under the UCMJ. However, commanders have the right to enact regulations that make it a punishable offense."

How so? While it may not be against any regulations to post a personal ad, "posting pornographic images on a public web or social media site is a chargeable offense," explained Erin Stattel, a press officer for International Security Assistance Force. "Adultery, pandering, and prostitution" are also on the list of violations. Commanders can also punish soldiers on a case-by-case basis under an article that bans conduct “to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces.” Take the above-mentioned lance corporal for example. Commanders charged him with three violations: "attempting to commit an offense in violation of the UCMJ; failing to obey an order or regulation, and pandering and prostitution." The soldier accepted the punishment gracefully, but did express some resentment to the Army Times:

"It was against the rules set forth by the base general, … so they were doing their job, but what I don’t agree with is how they were pretty much searching for people to arrest." 

Army-craigslistAs the report indicates, a majority of the Craigslist ads investigated by the NCIS are by men seeking other men. That does not necessarily mean that the agency is targeting gay soldiers. Retired Col. Dr. Elspeth Cameron “Cam” Ritchie, Army psychiatrist and chief clinical officer for the District of Columbia’s Department of Mental Health in Washington, offered a different explanation. She told the Army Times:

“When detached from home, without the ability to openly exercise relationships in a combat environment and with a fatalistic attitude, military members would be inclined to embrace risk-taking. These young men have high testosterone and, with the inability to quietly have a relationship, it is not surprising that they are willing to put themselves into that situation.”

UK's Daily Mail took it upon themselves to peruse many of the Craigslist pages in question, posting many racy screencaps on their site. The images depicted standard fare for any casual-sex-soliciting social network pages…disembodied torsos, genitals, and an overabundance of words such as "looking" and "discreet". Naturally, upon discovering news of these casual sexual encounters, conservative activists did not approve


  1. FuryOfFirestorm says

    Of course, the conservative are going to have a field day with this, because we all know that straight soldiers NEVER solicit sex, EVER. All those ladies they met on shore leave? They were just holding hands while listening to Bing Crosby on the Victrola!

  2. William says

    I hate to sound a “conservative” knell on this because I’m not conservative; but, hey, if they’re in Afganistan, they’re in a war zone! Straight or gay, you don’t do online hook-ups in a war zone. It’s not about sex, it’s about integrity of the operation and the safety of your fellow troops.

  3. JamesInCA says

    These boys need to learn to be more discreet. Don’t post a nude selfie with a note that you’re looking for bottoms. Post a volleyball pic with a note that you’re looking for someone to take long walks on the beach.

    This seems pretty basic.

  4. Marc C says

    As a former soldier, who went in when I was out, left before DADT was implemented, and never once felt I couldn’t manage things with my right hand, I support the exercise and decisions of the NCIS in this completely. WTF, are you trying to get yourself and your brothers killed for a piece of ass?

  5. greg says

    I’mn not trying to be snarky here, I have never worn a uniform or served in any kind of US service, but how is getting a piece of ass going to get you killed? As the above poster stated. These guys are in a tough, life or death combat zone. I would imagine that on their very brief spots of downtime, getting some ‘relief’ would be a emotional and physical boost. No?

    Being that the crux of these daliances are men on men, I really wonder if thats what the full issue is about.

    I am more concered about the rampant military rape situation that seems to be not so front and center.

  6. Anon says

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: gay soldiers WILL have to uphold a higher standard than straight ones. It’s not right, but it’s the way they’ll be judged for a while.

  7. GregV says

    Looking through the Craigslist ads, I see that the slight majority of ads are Men For Women (M4W). Yet all the attention seems to be on M4M.
    At first, I had the impression, this was about soldiers looking to hook up with local Afghans, and I could see how that could be risky. But looking at the ads, everybody is looking for other foreigners living in the compounds.
    Of course, on any job it should be a conflict of interest to date or have sex with a superior who oversees your job. But if an American soldier wants to spend his off-duty time with the American server at the donut shop on the fenced-in compund, I’m not understanding how this is any kind of risk to anybody else.

  8. Zeta says

    “I’mn not trying to be snarky here, I have never worn a uniform or served in any kind of US service, but how is getting a piece of ass going to get you killed?”

    Tale as old as time.

  9. Steve says

    Straight soldiers have sex when deployed all the time. It’s discouraged, but the military knows that they can’t stop it. I’ve read that they even make condoms available, because it’s better than people getting pregnant.

  10. says

    Did you really need to publish what the Daily Mail reported? It’s a sneaky ugly right-wing rag that I wouldn’t descend to wipe my arse with.

    Admittedly it has a very high circulation, but that just reveals how sneaky and ugly and right-wing much of Britain is nowadays.

    Do consider your sources more closely and report the nature of the publications in their bias.

  11. Scott says

    As someone who served in the Army and deployed to Iraq allow me to answer the question of how is this dangerous. The military is very strict on what we call OPSEC (Operational Security) and that includes not allowing anyone to know outside your unit where you are based. Soldiers are not the only ones who have access to the internet and posting photos and locations puts that information out where anyone (to include enemy combatants) can get it and any info they get can be used against us. It may not seem like it but any and all information can be used against troops. They are extremely clever that way.

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