Welcome to the Uncuffing Season

What does uncuffing season signify, and what does it mean for your relationship?

HomoCulture Gay Culture Tim Slater

This article was published on April 15th, 2020

White Party Palm Springs 2017

If you have never heard of ‘uncuffing season,’ you aren’t alone. Both ‘cuffing season’ and ‘uncuffing season’ are terms which have been popularized in the past decade and coincide with the change in seasonal weather and change of relationship status. 

You might be more familiar with the phrase ‘winter warmer,’ which is a more literal description of how cuffing season works. Put simply, locate and lock in someone to have a relationshiop with during winter because essentially, it’s more convenient. Cuffing season is a bit like a premeditated strike once when the cooler months approach, but in this case, you fall on your sword and settle down, at least for the sake of appearances.

It seems to make perfect sense – rather than venturing out into the rain, cold and snow to find some affection, the far smarter and more practical move is to convince someone to stick with you, monogamously or otherwise.

The cuff in question is like a set of handcuffs, but of the psychological variety. At first glance, it seems more deceptive and less fun than a traditional set, as you’re still chained to your bedposts, but at least with real cuffs it’s consensual.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, the concept of cuffing will ensure you have a bedmate through the holidays too. It’s a risky strategy, as your relationship can get your family off your back when quizzing you about your love life during those awkward end-of-year obligatory catch ups, but it may also lead to expectations from your seemingly significant other. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, ‘uncuffing season’ arrives in spring, when you can shake off those metaphorical shackles and call things off with your lover. Again, there is some logic to it – with the warmer months comes the freedom to explore, and potentially find a more suitable partner for the short or longer term. 

If you find yourself in a new relationship, and the timings coincide, the concept of both cuffing and uncuffing season may be a little uncomfortable. It may be inevitable to question where things are heading and whether you can truly trust your bonk buddy. 

But is duplicity required for cuffing and uncuffing season? Is the whole idea cruel? Your answers will depend on your perspective. It will also depend on how you or your partner consciously decide to perpetuate things if you may have no realistic intentions of staying together. 

If your relationship involves a healthy dose of honesty, then that can certainly help to mitigate any potential heartbreak. But in any case, if your friend with benefits isn’t interested in anything more serious, and you are, then surely uncuffing is preferable in the long run.

Besides, the advantages of uncuffing cut both ways. You’re both free to move on and take full advantage of the plethora of options which unfurl with the sunshine. So, if you find yourself unexpectedly single, don’t blame the season – get ready for a spring fling, and make like the birds and the bees. 

By the time fall (or autumn) rolls back around, who knows how you will feel? You may be ready to cuff again, and bed down with a new partner for the duration of hibernation. Plus, at the risk of sounding too romantic, what starts as cuffing, may inadvertently turn into a permanent arrangement. 

And they say love is dead.

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