Soldiers in the US army posted in Afghanistan have been using the website Craigslist for casual hookups on base, but some have been heavily disciplined, demoted and fined, a report has revealed.

According to the Daily Mail, soldiers had been posting explicit photos of their genitals, and of them performing “sex acts”.

The report suggests that soldiers post personals ads under the ‘casual encounters’ section of Craigslist requesting things from “workout buddies”, to “NSA [no strings attached] fun”.

According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, soldiers are barred from having sex with anyone except their spouse when deployed to a combat zone.

Those who break the rules do not necessarily face dismissal from the armed forces, but do face strict penalties. One Marine lance corporal was demoted to private class, docked $1,600 (£1,050) in pay and received 45 days extra duty and 45 days restriction, he tells the Mail.

He was caught whilst trying to have a casual encounter with an undercover male Naval Criminal Investigation Service Officer.

Some have been critical of such repercussions, noting the recent case in Baton Rouge, where police officers had made at least a dozen arrests of gay men since 2011 using an anti-sodomy law despite it being struck down ten years ago.

A retired US Army psychiatrists noted the potential reasons behind why soldiers would take risks whilst in a combat zone, in order to have such encounters.

Colonel Dr Elspeth Cameron Ritchie said: “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.”