Cuffing Season (You NEED TO KNOW This)
Everything You Need to Know About Cuffing Season
If you live in a state with actual seasons, you've probably heard of one called "cuffing." Simply put, when the weather is chilly enough to outweigh your desire to go out (let alone put on a cute outfit) for a first date, so instead, you hang out with a consistent FWB in the comfort of either of your places and have lots and lots of sex. It's a cyclical hookup situation that begins and ends with the cold weather—the PSL of casual sex.
But while cuffing season is supposed to be all about coziness and ease, it's not always so simple. Here's everything you need to know to survive (and enjoy!) it:
There's no exact deadline for cuffing up.
Locking someone down for the frigid winter months ahead can be serious business. In fact, it's not uncommon to feel anxious and stressed about finding a cuff in time:
of what makes them the perfect November to February boo, and feel left out if they're the only one in their friend group who's not bingingThe Haunting of Hill Houseunder a pile of blankets with the person they just boned.
it's cuffing season and i think i might just cuff myself to a light pole or sumthin since no one want me— JSTJosh (@JoshJST) October 20, 2019
But honestly? It's just a temporary hookup situation, and slightly more common in the fall and winter because everyone enjoys post-sex Netflix when it's terrible out. If you don't find someone to cuff at the *right* time (or at all), it doesn't mean anything. Your time to regularly-bone-but-not-date someone might be in the summer! You do you.
Certain people might be better suited for cuffing than others.
Attachment theory (if you believe in it) states that there are a few different ways people connect with one another. And fun fact: Your attachment style can impact how likely you are to fall for your winter bae. For example, people who have an avoidant style tend to fare better in hookup and cuffing season situations because they're better at detaching sex from relationships, says Dr. Laurie Mintz, PhD., author ofBecoming Cliterate. Meanwhile, those who are anxiously-attached might struggle with the emotional boundaries of a FWB arrangement.
Before you commit to a cuff, do a little reflecting, and be honest with yourself about how you've dealt with crushes and flings in the past. Have you ever gotten hung up on a hookup even when you knew they weren't a good match for you? Or, have you had a track record of bouncing in the morning and going about your day, NBD? Either is OK and completely valid, BTW (as is unexpectedly falling in love when you *never* have before), but knowing your attachment style before you cuff up with someone can help you decide if it's right for you, and also help you navigate your feelings as you go.
Asking for what you want sex-wise is key.
One of the potential problems with cuffing season (and hookup culture in general) is ensuring both partners are getting the same level of pleasure and satisfaction from the sex they're having.
According to Mintz, there's a huge orgasm gap that exists in heterosexual relationships–aka, men are more likely to climax during sex than their female partners. While this gap has the potential to close with a consistent hookup buddy, it can still be hard to reach equal levels of pleasure if only P-in-V sex is prioritized, Mintz says.
“About 95 percent of women do not orgasm from thrusting alone," Mintz says. "They need clitoral stimulation.” So, if you're not getting what you want or need from your cuff in bed to get off, you have every right to ask for it.
Understandably, this can be a little daunting—especially when your partner is knowingly temporary—but remember: You're in this arrangement primarily for the sex, right? So speak up, tell them how you like to be touched, or suggest oral or throwing a sex toy into the mix. If your cuff is huffy about it or turns out to be a lazy lover, you can just as easily uncuff them and grab your vibrator instead.
Yes, you might get attached (even if you didn't want to).
Perhaps the biggest, most obvious worry surrounding cuffing is one person getting too attached and suddenly wanting a serious, monogamous relationship (see: Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis' respective-yet-pretty-much-identical movies on the subject). But while rom-coms always safely end with the couple getting together, IRL, there's no guarantee that a relationship will happen.
"Spending time with someone over and over again in an intimate activity is going to build some kind of a connection."
"It's very hard to spend that kind of time with someone and not develop attachment and caring," says Mintz. Yeah, hi, you're not robots. But beyond that, there are physiological factors at play that make you feel closer to your cuff, too. For instance, during sex and after an orgasm, your body releases chemicals such as oxytocin, which Mintz says can make you feel more loving and close to the person you're sleeping with.
"Plus, just the fact that you're spending time with someone over and over again in an intimate activity is going to build some kind of a connection,” she adds. So if you're going into a cuffing arrangement banking on the fact that you Defs Won't Catch Feelz, try to be more open to the possibility that you might (which, as you can see, is completely normal).
No, women don't always want relationships by the end.
There tends to be a huge stigma against women when it comes to cuffing season, notes Mintz. It's assumed that they're always catching feelings, whereas men always want to keep things casual. “If there's like a grain of truth to that, it's only a grain," Mintz says. In fact, in one study, 65 percent of women and 45 percent of men reported wishing their hookup would become a committed relationship.
Going into cuffing season presuming that a female partner will DEFINITELY fall in love and be a pain to break up with is insulting and sexist, TBH. At the same time, counting on men to always be detached about sex makes it way harder for guys to open up about their real feelings or admit they changed their minds and suddenly want something serious.
In short, having any preconceived notions about how you will both react to your situation encourages dishonesty, which is the last thing you want in a cuffing sitch.
If you DO fall for your cuff and it's one-sided, embrace it.
If you happen to feel unrequited emotions as your cuffing arrangement comes to a close, know this: it's OK.
Just because you weren't necessarily exclusive or serious doesn't mean you can't feel a loss in not spending time with this person anymore. Nor does it mean you should kick yourself for cuffing them in the first place.
"People get hurt in relationships all the time, even after years together," says Mintz. "That's also a part of the human condition. Emotions aren't a thing to run from, they’re a thing to work through. Take it as learning about yourself and what you want.”
More power to you if you went after what you desired (which not everyone in this world does) and gained both good and temporarily-not-good experiences from it.
Treat your cuff like an actual person with feelings.
The only wrong way to do cuffing season is to act like your winter FWB means nothing to you once spring hits. You don't have to date them, but if they've expressed feelings for you, it's on you to be honest and kind with how you break things off. If you can't handle uncuffing with maturity, you shouldn't cuff to be begin with.
Video: Western University's Cuffing Season Rundown
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