In the last few years, once early November rolls around, the term "cuffing season" gets dropped left and right. Cuffing season is that time of when people "cuff" themselves to someone else, so as not to be alone in the cold weather or during the holiday months — and then they break up once it's warm out. While it makes sense — and elevated hormones may be the reason we want to cuff when it's cold out — even if you're looking for love, it may be time to skip the whole cuffing season thing. Who really wants to be cuffed to a fleeting thing they know has a shelf-life less than a can of tuna?
According to sex toy retailer Lovehoney's 2018 holiday survey, 63 percent of Americans are turned on by seasonal weather — which may have something to do with the cuffing trend — yet that doesn't stop people from breaking up once it's warm out. Basically, if you want keep your heart and mind in tact, self-love may be the way to go.
"Self-love is essential to your physical and mental health as well as life satisfaction," sex and relationship expert, Dr. Jessica O'Reilly, tells Bustle. "You don’t need to hop into a relationship for the sake of lying next to a warm body or bringing a date to a holiday party."
Here are seven other reasons to consider skipping cuffing season in favor of self-love.
Self-Love Makes You Realize What You Need
"Is it flowers? Candles? Diffused natural oils? Going out on a date? Bottle of wine? Stop thinking of these things as only for the lucky in love and start embracing them as part of owning your sensuality and your sexuality," Kristin Hodson-AASECT, certified sex therapist and advisor for Femininity tells Bustle. "Combine these with a little under-the-sheets self-love and you'll find you can be satisfied AND cuff-free."
In other words, wooing and seducing isn't just for people in relationships. You can woo and seduce yourself and, in doing so, will learn even more about your needs.
Self-Love Is A Sexual Awakeness
Self-love, when turned into self-pleasure can give you the "a-ha" moment for which your body and sexuality have been waiting. As research has proven again and again, those with the best sex lives have masturbation to thank for it.
"Self-pleasure is elemental to increasing desire in many cases, as it helps us to learn about our own bodies and reactions," Dr. O'Reilly says. "Self-pleasure also increases the likelihood of orgasm and is connected with higher self-esteem. Moreover, as your body relishes in the dopamine and endorphin release, you are more likely to crave more resulting in an increase in desire for sex."
Self-Love Teaches You To Be A Better Lover — To Yourself
According to Hodson, if you learn to engage yourself in the art of a relationship with yourself, you become your own best friend, date, lover, companion — all of it. And, as the old saying goes, you can't love anyone else until you learn to love yourself.
"When the weather is cold and we tend to see life more through the lens of our phone than our real life experiences, it can exacerbate our feelings of being alone," Hodson says. "Naturally, we can want to fill that empty feeling, but a relationship might not be the answer for you. One of the best-places we can start to feel love and fill the void of a relationship during cuffing season is turning inward instead of outward."
Self-Love Redefines Orgasms
"Masturbation is associated with a host of health benefits including lower stress levels, improved circulation to the pelvic region, restful sleep, relaxation, and and an increase likelihood of orgasm (alone and with a partner)," Dr. O'Reilly says.
But the benefits of masturbation don't stop there. It's also linked to stronger immune systems, better complexions, shinier hair, lowered pain, and even longer lives. And, it can even help you rethink pleasure completely.
"Most of us learn to orgasm through self-pleasure," Dr. O'Reilly says, "and accepting the fact that orgasm is an experience, as opposed to something a lover can 'give you,' can work wonders for your sexual response."
Although you shouldn't give yourself a lot of grief if you do couple up this cuffing season, like Dr. O'Reilly says, don't feel like you need to get into a short-lived relationship just so you can quell the fear of being alone this time of year. There should be no fear. A cozy blanket and doing things on your terms, with no one else but you in mind, is all you really need.