The thaws of attraction: 5 semi-scientific theories (and GIFs) why people look hotter when it’s warm

Come spring, why do we all become Pepe le Pews? via Media Mike's
Come spring, why do we all become Pepe le Pews? via Media Mike’s

It’s around this time of year that my walks through Prospect Park start to feel like live-action softcore skin flicks. It isn’t anywhere close to Fashion Week, but somehow once spring has officially sprung, everyone looks like they belong on the catwalk: confident struts, figures finely chiseled, scantily-clad and giving off that healthy one-month-vegan glow. It’s also around this time of year that I develop the insatiable urge to bone.

After confirming with friends that they, too, experience a sexual upsurge in the spring, I’m convinced there must be some scientific reasoning behind why we’re all more attracted to one another this season. Perhaps you were wondering the same thing? Well, wonder no more! I’ve put together a scientifically-backed list of theories for spring hotness that, in some cases, apply specifically to the pheromones here in New York.

Full disclosure, I am not a scientist. I do have a BFA in Drama from NYU, which I’m sure we can agree means I have some degree of theatrical insight into this citywide spring awakening. Now I’m thinking about Jonathan Groff. Anyway, in what may be a very biased opinion on the root of spring sexiness, here are some theories on why everyone looks so goddamn hot this season.


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People are literally warmer

Ideal temperature for conception falls between 50-70 degrees, according to Shape Magazine, and average springtime temperatures in New York fall exactly within that range. Shape’s study finds that these temperatures actually stimulate ovulation, too, which could explain why many women are feeling so bed-ready. For the dudes, Shape’s research shows that semen quality and quantity sharply declines when it gets too darn hot in the summer months, so spring is truly the best time to get it on (with protection). Use it or lose it, breeders!


It’s curve appeal

Spring is when all the winter Crossfit converts hit the streets of the city in their crop tops. It’s warm but not hot, sunny but not sweltering. That magical combination of skin-tight booty shorts and a lack of pit stains gives bodies on display a superior sexiness that summer lacks—not to mention all those pheromones secreted when you get dewy during a workout, which unlock chemosignals for attraction in the brain.

One 2008 study suggests that men develop a kind of suspenseful attraction to women’s bodies during the winter while they’re all covered up, so once it’s time to bare all, the suspense is released.


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The introverts are out to play 

Thanks to the life lessons of Marie Kondo, spring cleaning, once merely the stuff of introverts, is en vogue again. Why does this induce attraction? First of all, reduced bedroom clutter opens up the possibility of bringing someone home to a well-made bed, and a lighter living space certainly means you’ve got an added spring in your step. That cleaning-out-your-closet confidence makes everyone (except Eminem) sexy.

Plus, studies by psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist show that the most creative people in any field (including bed) are introverts, which must explain why I want to sleep with the folks I see reading the Magical Joy of Tidying Up on the train. Whether it’s from the self-satisfaction of donating all your unread dollar-rack books back to the Strand or the discovery of a size-too small romper you missed dearly, spring is motivating us to strut unabashedly to the hardware store for that WD40 lubricant and meet new people, introversions be damned.


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We’re just getting juicier

It’s well-known (but here’s a study on it, anyway) that opting for fruits and veggies improves your complexion and makes you glow. How do you think all those juice-loving yoga mommies got to be mommies?

New Yorkers are re-investing in juice cleanses to detox from a grog-filled winter. With all the fresh fruits and vegetables now in season, it’s no wonder the line at Chop’t is getting longer. Spring sees the suspenders-wearing set with their garter belts straining over bare thighs back on their velocipedes (read: hipsters in shorts on bikes), local organic market vegetables spilling out of their wicker baskets. You don’t need Warby Parkers to see how spring makes everyone a sizzler.


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Our Seamless© Affective Disorder is over 

The days are getting longer! We don’t feel like zombies! With seasonal depression subsiding, we’re starting to be more optimistic about each flirtation with a shirtless bartender, opting to re-download Tinder instead of Seamless. That improved mood lifts higher with every Claritin-fueled jog through the park, leaving us buzzing with (and hungry for) happy-people endorphins: according to Michael Odent of London’s Primal Health Research Center, the extra boost of happy chemicals in our system leaves us with a “drug-like dependency” to them.

Know what else releases endorphins? Sex does, via the production of oxytocin. Read it and sleep (with someone).

Deep down, we may never fully understand the power of one another’s sweet stank in the springtime. Science certainly offers clues as to why people look hotter in the heat, but there are always more springtime variables to consider, such as increased rosé consumption. Put simply, believe what you will. I do find that spring hotness, like some of life’s mysteries, is best left to the imagination.

For even less scientific accuracy follow Steven on Twitter @stevenhajar

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