We Chat Cuffing Season with Chantelle Otten

ROXY ALLNUTT

You may or may not find the term "cuff" amusing. The idea isn't as kinky as you may think: We chat to Chantelle Otten, an award-winning sexologist, about this crazy phenomenon.

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9 JUL - 2022

"A seasonal phenomenon where people are looking for partners to cuff and cosy up to."

Chantelle Otten is an award-winning sexologist and relationship expert, bestselling author of ‘The Sex Ed You Never Had’, Bumble relationship expert, and the director of the Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine. As a leading sex and relationship therapist, her mission is to open up conversations that would usually be considered ‘taboo’ and make it fun, enjoyable, and conversational.

Cuffing season is the time of year in autumn and winter when seeking a partner becomes much more tempting. When the weather cools in May, the season truly begins, but many singles are making a last-ditch attempt to find a mate for the next winter months.

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Why do you think humans feel the need to have a cuddle buddy over the colder seasons?

There's actually a scientific reason behind it! As neuroscientist James Coan explained to Insider Magazine, the urge to find a partner during winter is rooted in our evolution. See, back in the day, humans used body heat as a means of survival. So cuddling = basic survival instinct. Who knew!

So if you're feeling the need to cozy up with someone this winter, don't fight it! It's just your human nature at work.

Is cuffing something that should be discouraged? What are the negative impacts?

Though cuffing season may bring some temporary happiness, there are also potential negative impacts that come along with it. For one, getting into a relationship just for the sake of having someone can be pretty harmful to both parties involved. It sets false expectations and often leads to disappointment and heartache down the road.

Additionally, cuffing can also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation once winter is over and you're left without your cuddle buddy (well... if things go well, you might have a long term match!). So if you do decide to partake in cuffing season, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons!

How does one get into cuffing season without being totally self-centered?

The key is to be honest with yourself and your potential partner from the get-go, no matter if you’re seeing each other in real life or talking on a dating app like Bumble. If you're just looking for someone to cuddle with during the winter months, make sure you communicate that to your partner. That way, there are no false expectations or feelings of betrayal down the road.

Additionally, try to focus on finding someone who shares your interests and values. That way, even if things don't work out romantically, you'll at least have made a new friend! And who knows - maybe you'll find more than just a cuddle buddy in the process.

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How can I create boundaries when dating in today's digital world when ghosting is such a huge part?

It can be tough to create boundaries when dating in the digital world, especially when ghosting is so common. However, it's important to communicate your needs and expectations to your potential partner from the outset when using apps like Bumble. That way, you can weed out anyone who isn't on the same page as you and avoid getting hurt down the road.

Additionally, try to set up dates sooner rather than later. That way, you can get a feel for whether or not there's a connection before things start to get too serious. And if things do go well, you can always take things offline and into the real world!

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@chantelle_otten_sexologist

What is the risk of getting into temporary relationships like this without much consideration?

There is always the potential for heartache when getting into any kind of relationship, temporary or not. However, the risks might be greater when getting into a relationship without much consideration. This is because there are usually more false expectations involved, which can lead to disappointment and resentment down the road.
Remember that dating should be fun, and a great way to explore who you are and who you would like to spend some time with. Go for the story and with an open mind, not just for the destination.
If you want to weed out potential dates, you could try a video date first, using Bumble's in-app video chat feature. This is a great way to get to know your match without having to meet in person right away. You can also use this time to establish some common interests and values.

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