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What is Cuffing Season? Everything You Need to Know About It

What is Cuffing Season? Everything You Need to Know About It

Updated on Sep 04, 2023

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

Cuffing Season - Definition, Reasons, Signs, Tips & More

Do you know about cuffing season?

If you seek stable relationships during winter… and don’t want to give the commitment, then you surely know what I’m talking about.

Well, the term gets quite the hype during fall… When the days become smaller, and the sun dimmer, people crave more comfort. A popular way? Cuffing!

Whether you’re a cuffer yourself or don’t like the idea at all, you’ll find all the important details in this think-piece.

Like animals, human beings also prepare themselves for the winter season… though, we don’t hibernate, instinctually some even look for seasonal partners.

Wondering how to be an ethical cuffer? Or, how to get out of one? 

Don’t worry, you’ll soon know everything… so, without any delay, let’s head in…

Cuffing Season Infographics

Cuffing Season - Definition, Signs and Why Do People Couple Up During Cuffing Season
Cuffing Season – Definition, Signs and Why Do People Couple Up During Cuffing Season
Tips on Finding a Partner During Cuffing Season
Tips on Finding a Partner During Cuffing Season
Things To Keep in Mind During Cuffing Season and Tips To Know if Cuffing Season Is for You
Things To Keep in Mind During Cuffing Season and Tips To Know if Cuffing Season Is for You

What is cuffing season?

Cuffing season is the cold months of the year when people – who casually date or stay single – settle for a season-long relationship. These are usually short-term relationships.

The cuffing season refers to the colder months when people wanna date for warmth and comfort.

It’s when a person is usually happy being single or dating casually during the warm months… suddenly wants to settle down with a serious relationship in the colder months.

These are usually short-term relationships because there was never any love. People only look for a partner to beat their lonely and desperate nights during cold.

A cuff is generally a fixed yet casual cuddling partner for the entire cold season.

Most of these relationships are long-term… cuffing couples split up as soon as the temperature rises.

Also, cuffing relationships never have any commitment in them… it’s like consistently hooking with one partner for a season. Sometimes people drop their standards to get a cuff during cold.

Almost a decade ago, the term “cuffing” entered the Urban Dictionary. In the literal sense, it means being cuffed or tied to a single person.

Since it’s a season, does it happen during a particular time? Let’s know from…

When is cuffing season?

Cuffing season is from late fall until the beginning of spring. Depending on your hemisphere, the months change. For part of the world, it’s from Halloween to Valentine’s day – the complete holiday season.

Usually, the cuffing season is about the colder months. So, it doesn’t happen during specific months. It’s mostly around between late fall and winter – when the weather begins to get cold until it becomes warm again.

In warmer zones, the cuffing season starts late, while in colder zones it begins early. The cuffing season persists until spring when the weather warms up… that’s also the end of cuffing relationships.

Wanna know the connection between the seasons and love? There’s some scientific reasoning here…

Cuffing Season Biology

During winter, people desire warmth, affectionate touch, and physical intimacy. As it releases oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) and lowers oxytocin (stress hormone).

Human beings desire physical intimacy… and that has nothing to do with sex. Physical intimacy can be a hug, cuddle, holding hands, a massage, a non-sexual caress.

Though some need it more and others less, it’s always present. However, everyone doesn’t understand the difference between physical intimacy and sexual activities.

When the colder months approach, your body prepares itself to deal with the cold. To seek warmth, you might seek more physical contact… but some just misinterpret it as sex.

It’s about your desire for skin-to-skin contact. If you can identify the desire for physical intimacy and sex separately, you might avoid cuffing season relationships.

When you feel something’s off even after having sex with your cuff, that’s a sign you need physical intimacy or affectionate contact.

As we grew, we lost our fair share of affectionate contact with our parents… but we as adults need it too, not just babies.

Remember when your friend hugged you after your first breakup? Affectionate touch reduces stress hormone (cortisol) and boosts feel-good hormone (oxytocin)… that’s what you desire during the cuffing season.

Oxytocin also helps you emotionally bond with people.

But that’s not all, there are more possible reasons…

Why do people couple up during cuffing season?

Biologically, your body wants more warmth during the winter. But people have several other reasons… it’s not always because of warmth. Sometimes, it’s just an instinctual desire, or it might be because of winter blues. 

Let’s find out what they are.

1. To cozy up

Humans aren’t different from animals. Like animals, human beings also want to be in packs to beat the cold season.

Also, the cold weather is perfect to mate and get physically close. You don’t worry about sweating or stinking. People start to couple up more during cold because it’s simply cozier than the humid summers.

2. To have a holiday season plus-one

For those who begin their autumn with Halloween and end their winters with Valentine’s Day… the cuffing season is the same as the holiday season.

There’s an emotional connection with holidays… because everyone shows up mingled… how can you not? Even amidst a room full of people, not having a plus one can feel lonely.

3. To combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

People with SAD or its mild form – winter blues – show symptoms of depression from autumn/fall till winter.

It’s mostly due to the lack of sunlight that impacts the sleep cycle. It can also impact melatonin (darkness response hormone) and serotonin (a mood regulator).

Though SAD isn’t pronounced in the US, winter blues are quite common. Coupling up can help balance the hormone and neurotransmitter imbalance.

4. To ease touch deprivation

Human beings crave affection no matter how old they grow up. With time you lose the loving contact with your parents … but you long for it inside. You feel lonely and desperate for it.

Non-sexual affectionate contact reduces cortisol and boosts oxytocin. So, with a partner, you can fulfill your desires in the harsh cold.

5. For comfort

During the cold seasons, single people feel depressed because of a lack of company. The rest of the world enjoys their couple-time and date nights… which causes the singles to become lonely.

Already coupled-up friends and family don’t spare much time because they’d rather spend time with bae. This makes you feel a void inside and seek a cuff.

Wondering if your partner is a cuffer? Let’s check these..

Signs to know you’re cuffed up

Cuffers are never serious about their relationships. They’re in for warmth and taken relationship status. They’ll never feed your emotional hunger.

If you don’t wanna be cuffed, but suspect you’re in one… time to make sure before accusing them. 

Let’s check the basic signs here…

1. All plans are short-term

Did you and your partner plan any vacation or dates? How far did you plan it? Do all of them last until Valentine’s or spring?

Well, that’s a clear indication… there’s no future to your relationship beyond spring. In long-term relationships, people might not plan a year ahead… but they have long-term goals in mind.

2. You have the same ol’ date nights

How frequently do you go out on dates? If you don’t, then do you have indoor date nights? Well, sounds cozy, but why?

People usually go out lots during the beginning of a relationship. There might be two reasons – they don’t want to introduce you to a close one, or they’re only there for the warmth.

3. You began dating too fast

How did the relationship take off? Did you take your time knowing each other? Or, did it happen instantly? There’s urgency in cuffing relationships.

Around the winter months,  people have a strong desire to be cuffed. So, if your date jumped out of the dating app too soon, you’re possibly in a cuffing relationship.

4. They planned holidays on the first date

What do you guys usually talk about? Did they specifically focus on the family gatherings? Doesn’t sound bad, but a family introduction for a new date… is that normal?

After all, the entire extended family will be present at the parties… What’s the hurry with the big intro? Perhaps, they feel ashamed to show up single… and that’s why they hooked up with you.

5. There are no stags around

Does your partner have any single friends? If not, then that’s your red flag. They feel uncomfortable in a group of committed people.

You were probably their last resort to save themselves the awkwardness. And pretty sure, they’ll not need you anymore once the party season’s over.

6. Your age-old friend is an admirer

Are you dating an old friend? Surely, it feels more believable because they knew you… sounds romantic, right? But did you ever get any signs about it?

If they never showed any signs of being in love, that has to be fake… they’re a cuffing season prey too. Probably they aren’t aware of their feelings.

7. They mark their territory

Does your house feel like your partner’s den? Did they already occupy your cupboard’s corner? Think they wanna move in? Not really… they just wanna stay over.

Just like hibernating animals staying asleep through the winter… they want to avoid stepping out and get more warmth from you.

8. There’s no emotional intimacy

How intimate are you guys? Do they prefer to avoid deep topics, like their dreams or past?

Did they ever talk about anything other than winter plans? Will you define them as emotionally unavailable?

Lack of intimacy in a winter-borne relationship is another alarming sign. They’re conscious about their needs… only warmth and sexual intimacy. Emotional intimacy isn’t their goal!

9. They almost ghosted you

Did they ever vanish into thin air? For instance, you guys were so into the conversation… but then for weeks, you don’t see a reply.

Possibly they returned around the colder time of the year?

If your partner confessed before or during winter after long ghosting… that speaks enough about their intentions. Expect another ghosting in spring.

10. They only have winter baes

Do you know about your partner’s ex? How long did their past relationships last?

If your partner is a pro cuff, they’ll have a pattern of relationships in the colder time of year. 

Are you on a dating app? Don’t commit to a relationship until you know these…

Things to keep in mind during cuffing season

Cuffers are always out there, whether it’s winter or not. So you gotta be mindful of some tips before you begin a relationship.

You never know what your date has in mind… Some people can’t communicate, break hearts and call themselves ladykillers and maneaters. 

Enough with the cr*p! Let’s be aware…

1. Invest in a heart to heart

Before you begin a relationship around this time of year, communicate honestly. Don’t ask them if they desire a cuffing relationship… if they don’t understand, it’ll be too tiring.

Instead, ask if they want a serious commitment or just a tempo fling. Make sure you both have similar expectations. Be very honest and straightforward during the first few dates.

If something feels off, confront them. If they swear they’re serious, but behave otherwise, they might have unwise intentions.

2. Don’t hop in too fast

It’s fun to pick your date from dating apps… after all, people flaunt their interesting sides there. But is a profile really enough to begin a relationship?

Winter takes an emotional toll on many, but don’t rush into relationships.

If you need company, seek friends, family, or even visit an orphanage. Play with the unfortunate kids to beat loneliness. 

3. Fence up for defense

Boundaries are important in both romantic and familial relationships. If you’re already in a cuffing relationship, set boundaries properly to protect yourself.

Don’t focus on your holiday plans… focus on what’s going on in your relationship. Break up if you don’t want to continue.

Also, if your parents push you to bring a partner, decline at their face. Tell them it’s not alright to force you… and there’s no shame in singlehood.

4. Enjoy if you both are on the same page

If you’re both on board with the idea of cuffing, go ahead and enjoy. It’s great that you’re willing to spend a few months of bliss and move on.

However, if you have thoughts like “They’ll change their mind when they understand true love”, ditch that fantasy. A person desiring to be cuffed doesn’t want anything serious.

Don’t involve your emotions or you’ll be hurt.

5. Barrier up!

Don’t forget to stock up enough contraceptives. Whether a one-night stand or a long-term relationship, safe sex practices are a must.

Also, if they’re the kind to have other hookups, protect yourself. Your body is a temple… no, it doesn’t taint with sex, but STIs and STDs definitely deteriorate it.

So, grab a box of contraceptives before snuggling up.

Wanna know if it’ll work for you? Check these…

Tips to know if cuffing season is for you

Interested in cuffing? Don’t worry, I got you! But there are subtle rules to healthy cuffing… so that nobody gets hurt from the relationship. Not even yourself… Yes, you might not be aware of your own desires.

Before you begin a cuffing relationship, check with these…

1. Hunt your deepest goals

Are you sure about a temporary relationship? Do you really desire a 5-6 month-long relationship? If you want serious emotional entanglement, this isn’t for you.

If you only aim to get Instagram-perfect couple pictures without any emotional connection, that’s yours to choose. Be honest to yourself… don’t do it because you’re lonely.

After all, there are two hearts involved in it.

2. Consider the depth of mingling

Since they’ll be your 6-month long bae, you can’t completely hide them. So, how much will you let them in? Will you take them out on group dates? Or, do you plan to take them to family functions?

Do you want them all over? Or, do you only plan to spend time on the weekends? Or do you want to keep them away from your loved ones?

Step forward only if things can work out. Of course, you can’t hide your seasonal mate from your family if you share a roof.

3. Set the reasons straight

What are your reasons to cuff? Do you wanna have fun with the couple’s outfits? Post them on the gram to make folks jelly? That’s cool!

Don’t cuff up for trivial matters because that’ll end on a bitter note. If you wanna cuff because your matchmaker aunt wants you hitched… that’ll be a painful experience for you.

4. Learn to maintain distance

Once again, boundaries… don’t show romantic gestures. Even if your cuff knows about the arrangement, they’ll misunderstand.

They might develop feelings from romantic movies or run for the hills. Don’t get them flowers or kiss them goodbye.

Whether you wanna snuggle or have consensual sex, hop in. Don’t say “I love you” in the heat of a moment.

5. How much can you talk?

Can you speak honestly and openly? Cuffing relationships aren’t serious ones. So, you gotta be honest with your partner-to-be.

If you can honestly tell them your expectations, check-in for your feelings towards the arrangement, that’s great.

Don’t lead their heart on… don’t give them false hope of a forever and after.

If you can take responsibility for your actions, you might be fit.

Wanna proceed on this journey? Here are some more…

Tips on finding a partner during cuffing season

Did you find yourself eligible for cuffing? Great! But it’s not that easy to get a specified short-term partner.

People might not be open to this fact… might get taken sooner… or you might search the wrong places!

So, let’s enhance your chances with these…

1. Extend your horizon

There are so many dating apps out there, which one will you use? Well, if you have multiple choices, why stick to one?

Considering your smartphone has enough space, download the most popular ones. This will increase your chance to land a great catch.

2. Set off early

When will you begin the search? Considering the cuffing season schedule, you might lose the best catch if you wait till it’s colder. Instead, begin your search right now.

As the saying goes… the early bird catches the worm.

You need time to make sure this stranger isn’t a danger to you. Also, check if you really vibe with them. You can’t tolerate a polar opposite in your life.

3. Explore in-depth

Did you plan on how to know your partner? Though it’s tiring, go out on casual dates with your online matches. Know them in person during the dates. See if your likes and dislikes match.

Also, attend multiple events to find more people. Your perfect cuff might be at a concert or a fall party.

Increase your chance of finding the best choice… but don’t compromise with your comfort.

4. Groom your profile

Make your online search a blockbuster, get your best click out there. Visit scenic beauties with your friends to get some attractive pictures.

Also, indulge in some self-care… join the gym, start swimming, pamper yourself with a massage.

Do everything to get your best body by winter. Since looks still matter, when the heartstrings don’t attach!

5. Crack the nut on the platform

Begin the important conversation ASAP! Ask them what they desire in a relationship, if they want a long-term relationship, or a short one… also spill your plans there.

If they’re interested, they’ll ask you out on a date. Don’t begin a relationship without specific answers. After they agree to your conditions, start your cuffing relationship.

Remember, you want a good time, not an emotional one!

Before you begin one, don’t forget to check these…

Questions to ask yourself before diving into the cuffing season

To help yourself become ultra sure about a cuffing season relationship, we got you some questions.

Find out if you’re super-ready for it. These questions will ensure your intentions and feelings about cuffing… also, find possible alternatives too!

So, let’s begin…

1. Do you want sensual contact or a sexual one? Or do you want both?

Know that these two are different. There are different ways to meet both needs. So, find which one you need and your preferred way.

2. How do you plan to spill the beans?

Your desires are seasonal… it will fade away when the cuffing season calendar comes off. But what about your partner? How will you set your boundaries?

Your partner might not have identical needs. Will you negotiate if your boundaries clash with theirs?

3. What about turning it into an everlasting one?

You don’t want a serious relationship, noted! However, is there no place for compromise? Your partner might fall for you… will you turn them down if they ask you out seriously?

Even if your partner promises you no commitment, plans might fail. If revaluation is not a choice, then be clear about it from the beginning.

4. What if you don’t get a cuddling partner?

A relationship isn’t compulsory for cuddling. You can get a dog to cuddle in bed… or if there are other cuddling animals on your mind, get them.

Cuddling with animals also releases oxytocin.

Another choice is treating yourself with a sensual massage or finding a snuggling party.

5. What if you still catch feelings even when you promised otherwise?

It’s quite possible to develop feelings for a casual fling. Honestly communicate your feelings to your partner when you identify them. Don’t waste time hoping in vain.

If your partner refuses to invest emotionally but asks you to stay back, don’t listen. End the relationship if you don’t want to get hurt.

Was that all you wanted to know? Pretty sure it wasn’t. So, let’s head on to…

FAQs about Cuffing Season

The idea of cuffing season might be new to you… or to your potential partner. A novice might have many questions swarming in their noggin. So, let’s know more itty bitty facts here…

1. How to know if your relationship will last after cuffing season?

Cuffers never invest emotionally. They don’t care about the needs of their partner. Check for these signs to know if your relationship will sustain beyond cuffing season

– There are no prominent signs of cuffing season relationship
– They emotionally connect and are affectionate towards you
– You both go out on dates and indulge in all kinds of intimacy, not just physical or sexual.
– You both have long-term plans
– They treat you respectfully, admire you as a person, and put effort into the relationship.

2. Can a relationship during cuffing season lead to marriage?


If you both enjoy each other’s company, support each other to become a better person and feel a deep connection, your relationship can result in marriage.

However, don’t expect any relationship in a cuffing season to end with a marriage. It depends on the feelings of the two partners and their intentions about the relationship.

Also, you need good communication skills, honesty, common values and interests, and good conflict resolving skills. These skills can help you deal with the coldest winters of your relationship.

3. Is it ALL bad to be cuffed during cuffing season?

Not as long as you’re honest with yourself, your partner, and have clear intentions.

Firstly, be honest that you’re actually looking for a short-term arrangement. Don’t promise something and hope for the opposite.

Next, if you want something permanent, but your partner doesn’t… don’t accuse them of being a cuffer. Communicate your needs and check if you can continue with the current dynamics.

Lastly, settle on well-defined boundaries. Don’t depend on them for emotional backing when you didn’t ask for it. They’ll disappoint you… so head to your loved ones for emotional connections.

If you follow the basic rules, it’s never that bad.

4. Do men and women behave differently in cuffing season?


According to rumors, women always develop feelings, and men like it casually.

That’s not always true because studies showed about 65/100 women and 45/100 men caught feelings for their casual flings.

There’s no gender difference in desiring a long-term relationship.

5. What if you don’t want to be a cuff?

If you notice you’re being cuffed when you don’t wanna, be honest with your intentions. Tell them what you want and how you feel.

But, if you feel lonely and want to avoid dating on a whim, spend more time with loved ones. Also, if you do go on dates… don’t expect anything serious.

Choose fun dates over romantic or intimate ones. Don’t introduce your date to loved ones or go on vacations with them.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

The winter keeps coming and going… and your feelings might change within six months. However, that doesn’t mean your desire for touch dies away in summer.

Affectionate touch is important to everybody, from infants to the elderly. If you want to get out of your habit of seasonal relationships, simply seek a cuddle party or get a snuggly animal.

Don’t dive into cuffing because of your nagging relatives… they aren’t that much effort!

However, if you seriously seek to be cuffed, totally acceptable. With mindful communication and clear intentions, get the best for yourself and your cuffing partner.

Share the physical intimacy and warmth to soothe yourself.

Are you interested to know more about ‘Signs Hookup Turning Into Relationship’ then click here?