As far as the seasons and sex drives go, one might assume that summer takes the cake. After all, you’re more social, you’re wearing more skin-baring outfits (hello, short shorts and crop tops), the heat has your skin glistening, and the carefree vibes inspire you to pursue a fun fling just for the hell of it. But if you feel like you start thinking more dirty thoughts as the temperatures drop, you’re not alone. In fact, multiple studies have shown that it’s normal to feel slightly hornier during the winter.
First of all, let’s talk mating trends. I was born in August, and it just so happens that all of my besties are summer-fall babies, too. All it takes is some very simple math to subtract nine months and realize that means we were all conceived from late fall into winter. And as it turns out, we represent a larger trend: more babies are born in July and August than any other months, according to CDC data, which means more people are getting busy in winter than any other time of year.
Given this trend, it’s not so surprising that research has shown we tend to have sex on the brain during winter. In fact, one 2017 study published in Scientific Reports studied people’s Google searches for sex-related words and phrases (including porn and advice on how to get pregnant) over the course of a decade — and what they discovered is that there were spikes in these kinds of searches around the holidays.
But why? What is it about the colder season that has us all hot and bothered? There are several possible explanations for this. One study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that the winter season has some biological perks in terms of pregnancy — not only do the shifts in daylight length actually lead to a better environment for eggs in women, but men also produce higher-quality sperm during this time in comparison to the summer. In other words, there may be some reproductive instincts at play here: couples are more likely to conceive during winter time, which may subconsciously increase their sex drives.
I know what you’re thinking. “But I’m not trying to get preggo!” First of all, these primal urges to procreate tend to run a little deeper than rational thought. Second of all, there are other reasons why you might feel a little hornier around the holidays. For one, this season brings an inherent sense of closeness — between snuggling up on the couch to watch Love Actually, penning heartfelt cards that express our feelings, and exchanging thoughtful presents by the tree, we tend to experience some major bonding around this time of year. And sex, of course, is just one other way to bond with or feel close to someone. Plus, what else are you supposed to do when you’re bored AF and all cooped up inside during a blizzard?
On top of that, the holiday season tends to bring many positive emotions — it’s a festive, joyous time when we all focus on gratitude and giving to others. In that same 2017 study published in Scientific Reports, researchers looked at how people tweeted during the holiday season, and according to their analysis, the collective mood was overall pretty happy and calm. And when you think about it, it kind of makes sense: a happy person, as it turns out, it also a horny person.
BTW, there’s another reason why the holidays might be prime for hookups: testosterone levels are highest for both men and women between late fall and early winter, according to a 2011 study in Physiological Behavior. And this hormonal change is pretty noteworthy considering that testosterone plays a key role in sex drive. So, is cuffing season starting to make more sense now?
Blame it on the spiked eggnog, the feel-good holiday rom-coms, or the mistletoe — but regardless, one thing is for sure: the holidays have lots of people feeling horny. So next time you find yourself a little aroused listening to some carols or thinking X-rated thoughts while you’re baking cookies, rest assured that you’re not alone in having sex on the brain during the winter. Besides, there’s hardly a better way to end one year and start a new one with a bang.