The Seasonal Nature of Desire

Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

In the spring and summer, I am happily swiping on dating apps to meet people. I find myself in new bars and restaurants, surrounded by new people, listening to new music and seeing new things, and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve joked that I have a mating season and I start getting antsy for new partners when the weather warms up.

But dating is also exhausting. Every time I decide to get back on a dating app, it means committing to a round of social exhaustion to schedule and go on several first dates. I go on some dates, see who I have chemistry with, and then things progress from there. Sometimes I feel more of a friendship vibe, sometimes I feel a romantic attraction, sometimes there’s sexual chemistry but not a significant spark on either end so it kinda fizzles out… my relationships can take many forms.

The time of year when I have the energy to do all this is usually the time of year when nature is coming alive. The natural energy of spring and summer makes me want to go out and do things and meet people. And also have sex with some of those people.

That mating season energy has me looking to attract mates who can bring me a shiny rock or do a cool dance. Or buy me tacos.

But as the summer winds down and autumn approaches, my natural rhythm changes with the seasons too.

I get quieter in the fall and winter. I rest more. I write more. I make soup. I bake. I stay warm and cozy. And I am not as into sharing what little daylight I have with anyone and everyone just to have some sex.

When it’s cold outside, I crave intimacy more than orgasms.

In the fall, I want to cook a partner a delicious meal and then cuddle and watch television. I want to simply exist near someone I care about. I want to steal their sweatshirt and wear pajamas and be lazy at home.

I felt weird canceling that date, because I had a belief in my head that my sex-positive slutty phase was a year-round thing.

Being sex positive means being positive about any amount of sex you want to have. If that’s a lot of sex, with a lot of partners, great! If that’s a little bit of sex and a lot of cuddles with a few partners you have a more intimate connection with, also great! And it’s okay to swap between these two (and more) modes of connecting with people.

Realizing it was okay to turn down a date because I wasn’t feeling like a hookup was a turning point. It’s okay for me to slow down with the seasons. Not only is it okay, but it’s healthy to recognize my own natural rhythms and allow them to be what they are.

This fall is a season of self-care for me, and I am choosing my companions with that in mind.

Prone to sudden bursts of encouragement. They/them. Queer, autistic author of

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