The Happy Trail

Vive la Spring!

The sun is finally breaking through a dank, dark winter here at Puget Sound, and don’t you all look radiant. All over campus, hair is shining, eyes are twinkling and carefree smiles are breaking out more naturally and more often. The vibe has grown noticeably happier in the past month—not to mention hornier.

What is it about spring that makes us suddenly realize how ridiculously good-looking, funny and smooth we all are? I’m not just waxing here: “Spring fever” is a legit phenomenon that has even been featured on WebMD.

According to University of Texas public health professor Michael Smolensky, who spoke with WebMD on the topic, “many facets of everyday life are governed by seasonal patterns as well as circadian rhythms—our internal biological clock. These are the rhythms of life, and we take them for granted.”

As we transition from winter slooge to sweet, sweet normalcy, the body and mind respond in kind. During the winter months, the body typically prioritizes storing energy rather than expending it on physical activities, including showing off, going out, investing in new relationships and even making sperm. Levels of energetically costly sex hormones decrease. The onset of darkness—including gloomy, rainy days—triggers increased production of melatonin, corresponding to lethargy.

With all that going against it, sex drives naturally tend to hit an annual low during the winter season.

Spring can feel like becoming yourself again. It is inexplicably empowering, and makes many of us feel sexier than we can remember as our bodies naturally increase production of rewarding endorphins as well as sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.

I’m sure many want to put those hormones to good use, and that contributes to the fun, flirty energy that has overtaken campus.

Interestingly, despite the strong association spring has with fertility, birth and rebirth, some studies of single male “sex journals” have shown that average sexual activity is actually lower in the spring than in the summer and fall, when testosterone levels and conception rates tend to peak.

If summer equals sex, maybe spring equals foreplay. Savoring the little things that were previously shrouded under a wintery curtain—the colors, the sounds, the smells. The beauty of what’s at your fingertips finally revealing itself…Cue the sax.

With all that renewed energy and drive, few may need encouragement to express themselves through new clothing, activities, sports, creativity, good humor or whatever makes you feel most like yourself.

This is the time to be receptive and appreciative of each other, and explore new relationships and experiences. Relish any instance of open infatuation, curiosity or adventure that marks a good spring.

And even as the year speeds to a chaotic and project-laden halt, be sure to make time for some well-deserved play and enjoy the ride! Welcome back to baseline.