As someone who has lived in New York City most of my life, I’ve noticed the differences in weather over two decades. It stays warm until November, and when winter finally comes it’s more extreme. The summers used to be hot but manageable, and now they’re so brutal I can’t stand outside for five minutes without the risk of underboob sweat.
I’m no climate scientist, but I am a sex and relationships reporter. I observe the shifts in weather and like Carrie Bradshaw, I can’t help but wonder: Is climate change impacting cuffing season?
, for those who don’t know, is the period of time when the weather gets colder and the desire to be “cuffed,” or part of a couple, intensifies. This is mainly due to a lack of desire to go out and meet new people as well as couple-driven holidays like New Years Eve and especially Valentine’s Day. The term .
It makes sense, then, for cuffing season to be impacted by the weather. It seems like the change in seasons are only denoted by the date now. It is cold into spring, it is warm well into fall. How could cuffing season survive when the true seasons of fall and winter are not?
To look into how cuffing season may be changing due to the scary shifts in our environment, we should examine the scientific explanations for cuffing season in the first place. Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and author of the book , said that one theory as to why humans want to be cuffed in the winter months is due to sun exposure.
“We know that in the winter months, there’s less sunlight exposure,” Lehmiller said, “And as a result, less production of serotonin that can affect people’s mood in a way that might lead them to want to seek out social connections in order to compensate.” Basically, a scientific explanation for cuffing season — which — is that people want to try to combat the winter blues by seeking out a partner.
Earth-based Tantra teacher Tara L. Skubella, who in her own words helps people connect with Mother Earth to make a healing connection, agreed. She said that the winter season may make us seek connection in order to get a hit of serotonin and dopamine. “It’s like this energetic, chemical shift where we want to replace our happiness that has perhaps dropped off for sometime,” she commented. “And what better way to do that then to replace it with a yummy new relationship?”
“Part of what drives cuffing season is just wanting to be warm on those cold winter nights.”
Climate change does not impact hours of sunlight, of course. But Lehmiller did say that the “climate is changing cuffing” theory is viable in another way. “Part of what drives cuffing season is just wanting to be warm on those cold winter nights,” he said. “Now, that’s something that could potentially be impacted by climate change. Because if you have rising global temperatures, and that’s impacting the climate in a given area, that would be one mechanism for which climate change could impact cuffing season.”
And global temperatures are indeed rising — and faster than scientists previously thought. The that by the end of the century, the world’s average temperature could increase 3 degrees to 5 degrees Celsius, or 5.4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit. With fewer — if any — of those chilly winter nights, you may be more focused on moving inland to escape rising sea levels rather than finding a mate.
According to Skubella, it’s not just climate change that’s impacting cuffing season, it’s also the fact that . “I think both of the two weave together. As we’re spending less time outside, we want to replace what we’re missing with our nature connection and relationship. That’s part of our inherent primal energy,” she said.
There’s another element to take into consideration as well. Climate change obviously impacts the environment, but it also affects humans’ mental health. According to the American Public Health Association, . There are Immediate impacts, such as PTSD, that can occur from natural disasters. But even if one is not directly impacted from a climate change-driven disaster, mental health problems like chronic stress (which could lead to chronic physical disease) and feelings of hopelessness and dread can occur.
Lehmiller said that for those who are scared about climate change, there are different paths their anxiety may take them. “For some, [climate change] might lead them to want to live in the moment more,” he said. “For others, it might contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety about the future.”
Neither of these bode well for cuffing season. If climate anxiety leads someone to be more hedonistic, this can result in not settling down at all and opt to date multiple people. For those who are depressed about climate change, they may not want to date at all.
Whether cuffing season will be a victim of climate change is yet to be seen, but from the fact that temperatures are rising at an alarming rate — impacting the environment as well as humans — it is possible. While there are , this is yet another to add to the list.