Cuffing Season: Short-Term Dating to Warm Your Heart Through Winter

Nicholas Peters and Eion Rude kiss on the K October 14, 2017. The couple kissed during the annual Kiss on the K ceremony where students and alumni celebrate finding love in college.

The seasons affects most of our lives.

The period from autumn until Valentine’s Day, which some are calling “cuffing season,” describes when people would rather stay inside than go out and try to flirt with others. While cuffing season may have brought out jackets and boots, some people have found someone to cuddle up with to get them through the longer, colder nights.

“When it starts getting colder, especially people that are [flirtier], we run out of things to do outside,” said Austin Lynch, a junior at the University of Louisville. “We start to look for a boy to stay inside with and cuddle.”

People participating in cuffing season usually look for short-term relationships to replace the serial dating and one night stands of the warmer months.

“I am more monogamous in the winter than in the summer,” Lynch said.

Cuffing season may affect anyone who is single during the period. The season, partly dating and partly hookup culture, can be confusing and full of inexplicit rules.

“People aren’t looking for their perfect partner, they just want to have someone so they don’t have to work for the [intimate parts],” said Chad Frommer, a sophomore photo illustration major at .

Online Dating, a Saving Grace for Singles?

Single or “uncuffed” individuals can rely on dating apps and social media to find partners, as cold weather withers the dating pool.

“People tend to end relationships going into the holidays and want to start fresh in the new year,” Lauren O’Reilly of OkCupid told The Washington Post.

Online dating has never been as popular as it is now and tends to become main mode of dating during the winter months, when people are feeling lazy.

“I typically use [dating] apps in the winter” Lynch said. “In the summer, it is warm so I’m equally inclined to meet people at bars or clubs, but the cold makes that harder.”

The  community knows the significance of online dating, with many people meeting dates online with tools such as Bumble, Match, Grindr and Her.

A survey found that 78 percent of gay men reported using an app to start a conversation with a man they otherwise wouldn’t have, The Huffington Post reported in 2016.

Fad or Fact?

Some believe the intricacies of dating and hooking up can’t be easily categorized by seasons. These intricacies can be especially difficult for the LGBTQ community, which face additional barriers when dating.

Due to the social climate of the LGBTQ community, many people only date or flirt using online tools or in safe spaces like gay bars. This may run counter to the pattern of cuffing season.

“I’m always open to dating,” said Seth Smith a junior at Walsh University. “I don’t feel that I date more or less in one particular part of the year.”


Trading in your friend with benefits for the slightly more serious cuff, or relationship, could bring some positive outcomes.

Manfred van Dulmen, a researcher and psychology professor at Kent State, said cuffing season’s short-term dating may benefit some individuals.

“It is important to have clear expectations and conversations about where the relationship is heading,” van Dulmen said. “The situations where people get hurt or upset is where they have an expectation that is different than the other person’s.”

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