Cuffing is a playful term with its roots in two very opposing areas. On the one hand, the idea of cuffing comes from a heteronormative tradition of securing a male life partner, putting the cuffs on them, so to speak, in order to end their pursuit of other women and ensure they settle down. This is also linked to the idea of one’s wife being ‘the old ball and chain.’
On the other hand, cuffing has roots in the world of BDSM, in which handcuffs are used to signify sexual ownership. Cuffing someone or being cuffed using shackles, cuffs, rope and restraints can be loads of fun when practiced carefully and with clear boundaries in place.
Well, cuffing season describes the idea that you cuff a partner when the colder weather kicks in. As the nights become chillier and you need someone to cuddle up and keep warm with, a plus one for holiday parties and someone to kiss to ring in the new year. Cuffing season is the coldest and most miserable part of the year, so it’s also the best time to hook up with a partner.
There’s also some science to the desire we experience for closeness with others as the nights draw in. We’ve evolved to huddle together and stay warm for survival, humans are tribal animals and we seek companionship in times of stress and hardship.
According to a 2018 study called The Human Penguin Project. Hans IJzerman, a social psychologist and lead author of the study, found that people with diverse social networks are better at regulating their core body temperature in the cold. Pretty fascinating. But it makes sense, given that community and good physical and mental health qualities are so closely related.
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD can also fuel the need for closeness with others and sex is one of the best natural cures for anxiety and depression. Depression levels spike in the winter as temperatures drop and sunlight is scarcer and if you’re feeling the effects of this, you might feel yourself craving a cuddle with someone hot.
Cuffing season follows what’s known as ‘drafting season’ – another playful term that refers to getting your most promising lineup of potential partners ready and vetted for the big draft. Who you choose, whether that’s one partner, or several, is up to you.
If you’re already happily cuffed but are still feeling like you crave more intimacy during the winter months, this is totally normal. Some studies have also shown that testosterone production peaks around October and November, that means everyone’s arousal levels are likely to increase. You’ll also find that staying in creates more opportunities to hook up with your partner, or to think outside the box when planning a winter date night. Perhaps you’ll invite another couple over for some fun, or explore new ways to use couples sex toys, role play and dirty talk.
For polyamorous folks or those in ethically non monogamous relationships, cuffing season can also present an opportunity to become closer and more intimate with your partner or partners, to connect with new love interests and playmates and to focus on self love too.
So this cuffing season, if you’re feeling like you want to cuff a partner for the winter and you’re unsure why, blame it on the lack of sunlight, the cold nights and your evolutionary biology.