The Science Behind "Cuffing Season"

The Science Behind "Cuffing Season"

Just like that, it’s December again. The Yuletide rush brings with it not just a particular flavor of excitement, but also a change in temperature. And as the number on the thermostat goes down, our desire to get warm and cozy goes up. 

Over the past few years, the pop culture hive mind has brought its attention to a pattern of partner-seeking behaviors that become apparent during the season of celebrations. So if you’ve been finding yourself craving for more cuddles—you’re not alone.

It’s Cuffing Season

If you’re not familiar with the term, cuffing season is the time from October to March when some singles feel extra motivated to find a romantic partner during the holidays. The cold weather and the dwindling amount of sunshine can make people experience some physiological changes that affect their mood and make them susceptible to feeling sad or isolated, so they seek out romantic partners to quell the loneliness.


Baby, It's Cold Outside

One theory that can explain the longing for touch during cuffing season is the biological necessity of self-regulating body temperature. A very effective way to survive in harsh frigid environments is sharing body heat, which underscores one of the many functions of social bonds for survival. 

Yet even in tropical countries like the Philippines, where the only seasons are wet and dry and subzero temperatures are not a factor, the holidays—paired with the sentimental, family-oriented local culture—may bring out some anxieties about being single.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

As an answer to these social pressures, people may find themselves catalyzing quasi-complicated connections into Facebook-official relationships. If there aren’t any current potential partners on the roster, some find themselves on their phones rapidly swiping—a 2013 study found that, in the winter, a surge of people flock to dating apps. 

But companionship is hardly the only thing people yearn for; it is also during this period that a rise in Google searches surrounding pornography and prostitution occur. It appears that the season brings with it a certain kind of hankering, and it’s only human to find a way to satiate this hunger.  

Being single during the holidays isn’t a curse or the end of the world, but if you're single and feeling more enticed during this time, there’s no shame in seeking to satisfy these urges. Nonetheless, it is important to reflect on what you want out of any connections you make during this time. The key to navigating this situation is being honest about what you want; don’t create or cultivate false expectations, and be aware of your intentions and actions.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

And if you find yourself in the wonderful position of already being in a committed relationship, it’s a great opportunity to reinvigorate the physical aspect of your relationship with your partner. This magical mystery mist of merriment is precisely the secret ingredient you want for some extra lovin’. 

If you were looking for an excuse to get more hugs in, now’s the time to sneak in a loving embrace with your partner, because cuddling up feels good anyway. Not to mention, hugging releases oxytocin, which can help brighten up your mood if something’s got you down. 

Feliz Navidad

Overall, the holidays are actually an amazing time to find warmth in our hearts, cuffed or not. If all else fails, you can look forward to some good food on Noche Buena and three cheers on the New Year, and maybe just get some hugs from family and friends.

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