An early episode of New Girl — the series’ first Thanksgiving episode and arguably one of the best in TV’s greater Thanksgiving canon — declares Thanksgiving “the least sexy holiday.”
At first blush, this seems reasonable. Lots of things about Thanksgiving are objectively unsexy, including, perhaps most significantly, the holiday’s core premise of stuffing yourself with food while surrounded by family and in-laws. As multiple people — including Cazzie David — have pointed out: Who wants to fuck on a full stomach?
But here’s the thing, sexiness doesn’t always have to do with actual sex. (Though I will add, no one said you have to have do it immediately after Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is at minimum a four-day affair. If you’re spending all of that time eating and none of it having sex, you’re doing it wrong.) As we’ve learned, horniness can assume many forms, it can be many things — some sexual, some otherwise.
No, Thanksgiving does not generally align with traditional concepts and ideas of sexiness. But take a look around you; many of our old bastions of sexiness are crumbling. From pushed-up Playboy Bunnies to Victoria’s Secret Angels, the traditionally sexy is becoming toxic and tacky. A new era of sexuality is upon us, and it’s about seeking and embracing horniness in the unexpected. What better place to start than at the dinner table this Thanksgiving?
The new horny time
Writer Dayna Evans has famously christened the period between late spring and early summer “the horny time,” defining this blissful annual occurrence for both The Cut and Gawker. But if late spring/early summer is the horny time for singles, it stands to reason that its seasonal opposite, late fall/early winter, is the horny time for monogamists.
It is cuffing season after all — that time of year when, as internet legend has it, everyone couples up in order to avoid being single over the holidays and hopefully into the cold winter months when you can’t be bothered to go out on dates and need an excuse to cuddle up on the couch and order takeout every weekend till May.
By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we are deep into cuffing season, and the holiday functions as something of a playoff round for the tentatively cuffed. For many new couples, Thanksgiving is the first time you meet each other’s families. It’s a kind of trial run before you decide to bring them home for the upcoming major holidays and/or commit to buying them a Christmas gift.
Besides functioning as a useful litmus test for a relationship’s ability to survive the holidays, Thanksgiving is a cozy event. There are sweaters and turtlenecks, which, as we’ve previously established, are extremely sexy in a very specific, unassuming way that perfectly embodies the modern spirit of horniness in the unexpected. There are also fireplaces and families. It’s the perfect time to snap some coupley pics in front of a fire and talk loudly about how adorable your little cousins are and pretend you aren’t just pressuring your S.O. into having kids. It is a season of what we might call “emotional horn.” This is what horniness looks like to people who watch This Is Us and have Pinterest wedding boards. If Thanksgiving were a garment, it would be a turtleneck, and they are both the same kind of sexy.
Remember when I said that sexiness doesn’t have to be about actual sex? Well sometimes sexiness is about sex, even on Thanksgiving.
The phenomenon of the hometown hookup is well-documented. Complex, Mic and the New York Post have all declared Thanksgiving Eve the best night of the year to get laid, while countless listicles have detailed exactly who those hometown lays might be (and who they shouldn’t be).
The premise of the hometown hookup is simple: you’re home, you’re bored and you’re surrounded by reminders of your adolescence. But now you’re presumably smarter, more successful and hopefully hotter. Now is your chance to connect and/or reconnect with your ex/that person who rejected you/that person who didn’t come out until after college/the really cute guy who worked at the gas station when you were in 8th grade and he was a senior but now apparently still works at the gas station.
Thanksgiving is also a time for regressing to the worst earlier version of yourself. Many of us hit that peak of bad-personhood in our teen years — which, if comedies from the ’90s are to be believed, were some of the horniest of our lives. Whether we like it or not, Thanksgiving is a time when we are inevitably forced to map and revisit some of our earliest sexual encounters. It is a time to gather with unsuspecting friends and loved ones upon the very couch on which you gave or received your first blow job. It is a time for driving around town quietly making mental note of all the places you had furtive car sex in high school. It is a time for banging your current S.O. in your childhood bedroom because you’re a GD adult now who doesn’t have to have car sex.
In this new era of sexuality, there is a shade of horniness for every season. This Thanksgiving, whether you’re banging locals or posting fireside snaps of you and this year’s cuffing season kill, I encourage each and every one of you to take a quiet moment of reflection and ask yourself, what are you truly horny for this year?