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“Cuffed” For The Holiday Season: Should You Or Shouldn’t You?

Sex & Relationships

“Cuffed” For The Holiday Season: Should You Or Shouldn’t You?

The wind is brisk, temperatures chilly, days shorter, and leaves are falling. Animals hibernate for the long winter months, and people start searching for a cuffing mate. Yes, it’s November again, and it’s that time of year  . . . You know . . . “Cuffing Season.” What?  You’ve never heard of cuffing? Well, you’re not alone. Like many slang terms created by millennials, “cuffing season” is a relatively new way to describe an old phenomenon. Cuffing (cuffed, hook-up, tied-down, fling) is a term coined in 2011 and disseminated via the music world by Rapper, Fabolous’ 2013 music track “Cuffing Season.”

The Urban Dictionary defines it as the time of year (Between November and February) when “people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be “Cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity cause singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”

Well, now you’re thinking, WHAT! That’s just crazy! Who wants a short-term, noncommittal relationship that ends as soon as winter melts to warmer weather? Why not cuddle with a warm blanket by a cozy fire with friends and family and save yourself some heartache. And isn’t cuffing just another fancy word for casual sex, friends with benefits? Hmmm… perhaps, but don’t turn your nose up yet.

Cuffing Season isn’t as crazy as it sounds. It appears men and women have been doing this for decades, maybe even longer. In Psychology Today, Maryanne Fisher, Ph.D. reveals several studies that show how seasons affect love and sex.  There is a biological component that makes hooking up during cold-weather periods more prevalent. Just as animals mate during specific times of the year, it’s been shown that people have more sex during autumn and winter.

A study performed by Svartberg et al., (2003) found that testosterone levels in men are highest during October and December and lowest during hotter weather. Levine (1991) found that men have higher sperm counts during winter months because the cold improves sperm quality. Surprisingly, Pawlowski and Sorokowski (2008) found that men are more attracted to a woman’s body, although covered in layer’s of clothing, in the wintertime. This phenomenon explains why more babies are conceived during winter than any other time of the year. Logically, it makes sense. With the colder weather, shorter daylight, and fewer distractions, people are indoors nesting and spicing up their love lives.

Cuffing Mate Is Only A Dating App Away

If by chance, you’re not looking for a long-term romance, and don’t believe exclusive, amorous relationships are normal—amatonormativity—then cuffing might suit you perfectly. Finding a cuffing mate is easy with today’s online Dating Apps such as Zoosk, Tinge, Coffee Meet Bagel, HAPPN, just to name a few. But there are caveats to online dating. Hooking up with a total stranger is downright dangerous. Sure, you’ve been corresponding over time, you know the basics—age, looks, general likes and dislikes—but do you honestly know their history?  Online dating is a dangerous pursuit. Why not share your winter with someone you know, someone who is a potential long-term interest, or even just a friend instead of putting yourself in the path of danger. But if you decide to go down this road why not give that girl or guy you’ve been benching a try, someone you’ve dated but wasn’t sure of in the past, but had dating potential. Cuffing season’s the perfect time to give potential mates a try.

Pros And Cons Of Cuffing

But before you begin a blissful winter of cuddling, be aware of the pros and cons of cuffing.

The pros are:

  • You don’t have to spend the holiday alone
  • You have a date to bring to family and friend’s holiday parties
  • You have a netflicking partner to share popcorn and hot chocolate

But there are potential cons:

  • The relationship is temporary
  • You’re creating a false sense of intimacy with a noncommittal partner
  • You might develop deeper emotions for someone who doesn’t feel the same
  • There’s potential for  heartbreak when the relationship ends

Men And Women Are Wired Differently

When it comes to relationships, men and women differ emotionally. Can women enter a short-term fling without expectations of something long-term or romantic? Can they just walk away without feeling any emotional bond? Just because there’s a stipulation of no-strings-attached doesn’t mean one can control amorous feelings. Lines may blur, and heartbreak is imminent for the one who’s crossed the boundaries emotionally. The most significant risk of cuffing is heartbreak and months of trying to get over the loss of someone who doesn’t feel the same.

Cuffing Contract

Yes, you read it correctly, a cuffing contract. There needs to be an agreement between both parties. Much like the contract between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steel in Fifty Shades of Grey; define guidelines specifying what’s allowed and what’s not. Each person needs to be on the same page and understand from the beginning it’s a casual relationship with no expectations for more. Without this initial awareness, one partner looking for commitment might suddenly find themselves a Ghostee, abandoned by their cuffing party without any explanation. So if you’re considering bracing the cold cuffed, discuss the agreement thoroughly with your partner.

  • Be honest from the beginning
  • Don’t enter an agreement hoping to change the rules, or capture a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Respect each other’s boundaries. Don’t change the rules and force them on an unwilling partner
  • And last, communicate, communicate, communicate so you’re always on the same page

Sharing The Holidays With Family And Friends

Before you cuff, ask yourself this question first. Do you need a temporary fling to be happy for the winter season? Okay, so you decided to give it a go, you’ve found the right partner, drawn up the contract, and you’re planning the holiday season together. But how do you introduce your partner to the family? Perhaps you shouldn’t present them as boyfriend or girlfriend but merely as a friend. Why get your family’s hopes high just to dash them later. Just enjoy the holiday season, keep things light and merry. Live in the moment with no future expectations. And if you’re both feeling amorous by the end of the season, renegotiate for a longer commitment. However, if cuffing season ends without a love match, perhaps you’ve established the basis for a great friendship.



Fisher, Maryanne (May 2011). Sex In The Springtime: In Spring, People Are More Prone To Want Love And Sex. Retrieved from

Levine, R. J. (1991). Seasonal Variation in Human Semen Quality. In A. W. Zorgniotti (Ed.), Temperature And Environmental Effects On The Testis, (pp. 89-96). New York, NY: Plenum Press.

Pawlowski, B., & Sorokowski, P. (2008). Men’s Attraction To Women’s Bodies Changes Seasonally. Perception, 37, 1079-1085.

Svartberg, J., et al. (2003). Seasonal Variation of Testosterone and Waist to Hip Ratio in Men: The Tromsø Study. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88(7), 3099-3104.


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An author with a rare mixture of Southern and Northern charm, E. Denise Billups was born in Monroeville Alabama and raised in New York City where she currently resides and works in finance. She has an MBA in Finance and she's a prospective Ph.D. candidate. A burgeoning author of fiction, she's published three suspense novels, Kalorama Road, Chasing Victory, By Chance, and two supernatural short stories, The Playground, and Rebound. An avid reader of mystery and suspense novels, she was greatly influenced by authors of that genre. When she's not writing or reading, you can generally find her training for road races and marathons. She's a fitness fanatic who loves physical challenges of all types (running, biking, yoga, dance, and more) a discipline she uses to facilitate the creative writing process.

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