Relationship Tips

Sorry, Cuffing Season, but Summer Actually Is the Best Time for a New Fling or Romance

Photo: Getty Images / Obradovic
If I look back on my past relationships, a disproportionate number of them seem to have blossomed in the summer. There’s been a clear pattern: I’ll hibernate in the winter, start to re-emerge in the spring, and once summer hits, I’m on the lookout for love.

It’s not just me who takes an interest in romance when the weather heats up. A 2013 study found that Google searches related to sex and dating tend to peak in the early summer. “Summer is [often] seen as a time to find new romance because it is usually considered the season that is all about fun, novelty, and adventure,” says psychotherapist Elizabeth Fedrick, PhD, LPC. “There is a sense of being young and carefree associated with summertime, which often leads to the desire to meet and interact with new people.”

The unique magic of a summer fling

Summer naturally presents opportunities to act on this desire. Between outdoor events, vacations, and breaks from work or school, people often have more time and access to settings where they can meet new people or deepen existing relationships, says Dr. Fedrick.

To that end, people also may feel more inspired to date when there’s more to do than go out to dinner or watch a movie. “My patients who are single have reported that in the summertime, they feel more relaxed because the days are longer, and this motivates them to go on more dates,” says psychotherapist and sex therapist Lee Phillips, LCSW, EdD.

And with so many fun activities going on in the summertime, it’s only natural for people to want a companion or adventure buddy. “It's fun having a significant other to enjoy summer activities and concerts,” says Brittany Mendez, a 26-year-old marketing executive in Florida. “I find myself going to concerts, going to coffee shops, going to bookstores, going to the river, and meeting other like-minded individuals.”

“Summer is [often] seen as a time to find new romance because it is usually considered the season that is all about fun, novelty, and adventure." —Elizabeth Fedrick, PhD, LPC

And unlike “cuffing season” in the winter months—when people are eager to get into relationships so that they’re not single for the winter holidays or Valentine’s Day—summer may allow people to search for partners in a way that’s more carefree and less high-stakes. “The summer months allow a new relationship to grow and blossom without the stress or pressure of taking your new partner home to the family,” says Dr. Fedrick.

Indeed, the fact that people may not be trying so hard to get into relationships during summer may actually make love easier to find. “During the summer, the focus from everyone seems to be having fun rather than a long-term commitment,” says Viktor Holas, a 36-year-old entrepreneur in New York City. “I think that atmosphere generally makes me more willing to connect with feelings of love and romance because there is no pressure.”

Not only that, but there could be biological reasons why summer puts us in the mood for love and sex. “Some researchers suggest that summer is the ideal season for finding love—or even a fling—due to the increased exposure to sunshine and vitamin D, which leads to an increase in serotonin,” says Dr. Fedrick. An abundance of this feel-good hormone can lead to increased sex drive and improved mood — and generally, people are already in a better mood during summer because they get to relax and have fun.

“It’s easier for me to maintain a positive frame of mind during this time of year,” says Stacy Cason, a 42-year-old CEO in Colorado. “I find that the sunshine, warmth, and extended hours of daylight facilitate fun, connection, and romance.”

How to make the most of your 'hot girl summer'

So, that song from Grease may have been on to something about the magic of summer nights. But can summer love last throughout the year? It can if you want it to, experts say. “Many people would argue and say this is not love, it is a fling. However, what we must remember is that a fling can turn into love,” says Dr. Phillips. “It really depends on what the person is looking for. People may keep in touch from meeting during the time of a vacation, and their love can grow.”

Then again, sometimes all we want is a fling, and summer’s a great time for that as well. Lots of people, like me, work hard during the colder months and feel like summer is their time to let loose and go a little wild — hence memes like “hot girl summer” and “feral girl summer.”

“I am very much a believer in the work hard, play hard notion — and summer is my time to play,” says Kelly Ashlen, a 28-year-old business owner in Irvine, California. “Getting dressed up in my favorite outfits or bikinis is something that makes me feel very confident with my body. When the right opportunity arises, I am much more eager to enjoy a good night out and some great sex during this time of year.”

If you want to take full advantage of the summer and all the potential romantic opportunities it brings, Dr. Phillips suggests frequenting public spaces like art galleries and nightclubs, as well as events like barbecues and speed dating.

“The more you put yourself in social settings, the more opportunities you have to meet new people, including a possible romantic connection,” Dr. Fedrick agrees, adding that while dating apps can also be helpful, it’s important to keep an open mind when using them.

“It is valuable to read through people’s prompts and bios and see if their personalities align or if they seem interesting versus just judging a book based on its cover,” she says. (So resist that urge to swipe left if their profile photo isn't the greatest!) “If you think there might be any kind of interest there, set up a casual hangout that includes outdoor activities, going for a walk in a public park, strolling a local farmer’s market, playing pickleball, drinks on a patio, etc. All of these are a great way to optimize summer options to find romance.”

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