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Sex with Dr. Jess


November 18, 2021

Cuffing Season: Tips and know-how for this winter

As the temperatures drop and the holidays approach, more people might be inclined to pair up — not only to keep one another company over the winter but also to ensure that they have a date for holiday events, which seem to be slowly returning. This phenomenon has been dubbed cuffing season, but is there any science to it? And how can you make sure you’re more than a warm body to a new partner.

Jess joined Carolyn and Jeff earlier today to discuss just that. Check out the video and interview recap below.

Is cuffing season a real thing?

Online dating data suggests that cuffing season is real. One study found that searches for dating increase in the winter months and peak in January. However, there is also another increase during the summer months and it may not be all related to pairing up — searches for sex and erotica also increase in the winter.

Facebook data also suggests that cuffing occurs over the winter with

  • 34% more new relationships than breakups on December 25th
  • 28% more on December 24th
  • 29% more on February 14th

So why do we do it? It can’t just be about getting a date for holiday parties…

It might be hormonal. It’s possible that as testosterone rise and serotonin levels drop that we’re driven to partner up.

And in cooler countries like Canada, it may be that we’re less inclined toward social gatherings and so we pair up with people we already know, so that we can get social support and interaction without having to go out.

Dating app POF found that during the pandemic more folks started room-mateing — connecting with a roommate or someone else they’ve known for years platonically,

Can you catch yourself cuffing? And what should you do if you know you’re just connecting to get yourself through the winter or holidays?

tai-s-captures-FsKEqmvNUhA-unsplashBe honest – with yourself and your partner. We have a tendency to blame others when we question ourselves (e.g. make excuses as to why a partner isn’t a good long-term fit instead of just admitting that we’re not ready for a relationship). So when you catch yourself looking for external excuses, take a moment to reflect on what you really want.

And if you’re not looking for something longer term, let them know. Don’t make plans for next summer if you’re just going to ditch them in the Spring-riting)? Do you want to spend more time alone to really enjoy your own company? If you’re inclined to get cuffed for the sake of having a partner you don’t like/care for, consider how you can love yourself a little more first.

What if you think you’re being cuffed? 

Speak up. Ask them how they feel, but don’t make accusations. Be open to hearing what they have to say. Oftentimes when someone doesn’t want to commit, it isn’t about you — it’s about their specific needs and plans.

Any general tips for new (or old) couples moving into the winter season?

Yes. Plan ahead now for the holidays. Start talking about how you’re going to split your time between families and what your expectations are with regard to spending, gifting, and hosting.

Don’t wait until December hits to make decisions, because you won’t have as much time to pivot. The holidays are approaching quickly and the data shows that they’re a time of increased stress for many people — especially those who get tasked with hosting, cooking, cleaning, and shopping, so if you don’t want a repeat of last year (or 2019), make a change now.

And perhaps look at 2020 vs. 2019 to see if you can learn anything from last year — you likely prioritized more meaningfully since gatherings were limited and finances may have been tight and that can give you insight into what really matters to you.