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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Power of the "F**k Me Form Letter"

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM


I got an OkCupid message recently from an average-looking, youngish guy. It was approximately two sentences, impersonal, and contained a blatant proposition for casual sex. While I'm not interested (nothing in my profile says I am looking for casual sex), I am curious: Does this kind of thing ever work? It seems if your whole aim is to get laid, this would be about as effective as cold-calling a cute stranger on the street, which is to say not at all. Am I missing something?


Ah yes, the "fuck me form letter," as my friend AJ put it. The law of probability tells us that if you write to a shit-ton of people, even with a simple, lame come-on, eventually somebody will respond. However, that doesn't tell us how many a "shit-ton" constitutes, nor does it guarantee that a response will ultimately lead to sex. Lucky for us, in February, University of Michigan psychologist Terri Conley released a paper about casual sex that tackled a similar topic.

Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Conley's research probed (sorry) what motivates heteros to have casual sex by asking how they would react to a stranger propositioning them in broad daylight.* Men were far more likely to agree to such a proposition, while women were not.


There are two fairly obvious reasons that don't mean women are less desiring of sex. One is that the risk factor of such an encounter is higher for women, who have been told from a very early age not to accept penis candy from strangers. The other is that women know that their chances of being satisfied by a one-night stand or equivalent are low.

Conley concluded that if women were given the option of a casual encounter likely to be both safe and pleasurable, then they would be about as likely as men to engage. How do straight folks ensure that happens? Probably not in a two-line impersonal e-mail.

Of course, many sites already exist for casual online hookups (Hot or Not, Plenty of Fish, Craigslist, Adult Friend Finder, and Online Booty Call, to name a few), though according to this recent New Yorker article, OkCupid is known as more of a hookup site than those old hobnobs of prudery, Match and eHarmony. I will even give your gentleman suitor a small amount of leverage for being upfront about his desires, but since when has unabashed honesty ever been anything but a boner-killer, amiright brah?

If the fuck me form letter were a truly viable approach to bedding women, then apps like Grindr would work for straight men and lesbians. As of today, that's not the case, but rest assured that programmers are working hard to ensure your access to reach-arounds on demand.

As I wrote a few weeks ago about how to approach women without being a creeper, showing a woman a little respect online will get you a lot further than showing her your pork spear. Also, such cursory come-ons are often perceived as tacky. My friend Jami said it best: "My pussy is worth more than two lines that were likely copy/pasted from somewhere else."

Think about it. Even spam messages are sent to a "Dear Sir or Madam."

If you find things such as "rapport" and "flirtation" too labor-intensive, you have two other options in the casual sex arena:

1. Become a woman. Conley's research showed that women were more likely to accept a casual sex offer from a woman than from a man because they viewed them as more capable lovers. In other words: Yay, bisexuals win something other than Tila Tequila's ... heart.

2. Become a tattoo artist or pop culture blogger, or develop a profound fear of intimacy. Those seem to be the only people getting laid around here.

*I'm simplifying this for brevity's sake. Read a detailed analysis of the study at Yes Means Yes.

Social-media mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette involving technology, shoot her a question at

Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley and @ExhibitionistSF or Facebook

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