I heard a rumor that you like sex. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sex, when it’s good, consensual, and really randy, is great. That said, our attitudes toward sex change according to the season.

The joyful months of summer are a neverending fuckfest. Whether you’re relationship-inclined or a Tinder tyrant, getting loose in the bedroom is an activity that is in no short supply during June, July, and August. Though studies have suggested that we are wrong about the reasons we believe summer sex to be happening at heightened levels—increase in pheromones, turned-up body temperatures, and revealing clothes are all false flags—the truth is, we are out of the house more and find it easier to socialize with our future boning mates.

Winter, on the other hand, is a joyless void where the only people getting off are the mythically cheerful and the independent hand-warriors. Wrapping our newly pudgy bodies in padded layers while journeying into a world that feels shut down by six p.m. makes sex not only hard to find but dismaying to tolerate. By the time our bodies are stripped of double pairs of Thinsulate socks and three—no, four, wait is that another thermal t-shirt?—underlayers, what’s left are two doughy sacks of failing organs that look and feel rough. Is this even worth it? we might ask. Should we move to a tropical island? we think.

In a world of great tragedy, the best thing we can do is love on each other generously and pleasurably, without shame or uncertainty. How counterintuitive it is to stop doing something that feels good just because we feel bad and cold. Here are a few pointers.

Your body looks great

I can’t believe I even have to say this, but you looking fucking phenomenal. After your next winter stuff-everything-into-your-mouth meal, strip down until you are entirely naked and really look at yourself in a mirror. Have you put on weight? Are there glubs of flab that you didn’t recognize before? Does even your dick look bad and the unfortunate kind of girthy? I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter. For heavens sakes, people in this world are having sex with horses and sheep and, worse, they’re having sex alone! Your added pudge is endearing, especially if you are confident about it. We’re all in this together and a few extra pounds should not stop you from boning.

Try having cold sex

Lots of people live in buildings where the heat is rickety and inconsistent during this time of year (if you don’t, I’m coming over). In the event that you live in a winter icebox, but can never seem to get warm enough to emerge from a chrysalis of comforters, here’s an idea that is both terrifying and stimulating: have sex out in the open. Ten points without a blanket; fifty points if you turn the heat off; and gold medal if you just go outside and do it. (Be careful: that last one is illegal.) In this game, if you have a penis, you are granted the privilege to stay beneath the covers until the fucking begins. Otherwise, go wild. The challenge of trying to heat each other up will be thrill enough.

Buy another blanket and an aromatherapy heating pad

This may sound like an obvious solution, but if you like to fuck under a lot of blankets, more power to you (I find the weight of several blankets to be prohibitive for my acrobatic movements). If you’re cold, go ahead and buy another one. But have you ever considered bringing an aromatherapy heating pad into the mix? Stay with me on this. If you purchase a DreamTime Warm Embrace Body Wrap (an aromatherapy heating pad of any other name would also smell as sweet), the beneath-the-blanket fucking will not only warm up twice as fast, but it’ll smell great and will relax both parties. DreamTime also sells aromatherapy heated slippersocks, and since a study at the University of Groningen revealed that, in a sample of women, 80% achieved orgasm if they left their socks on, as opposed to 50% barefoot, I’d say go big on those purchases and reap the rewards.

Give generously and often

When few of us are getting the Vitamin D that we need to survive, and when we’ve slowed down our exercise routine to “one day a month of walking a flight of stairs without complaining,” our endorphin counts plunge to dangerously low levels and that’s often what causes severe winter blues. What it is important to remember (and never, ever forget) that by some good twitch in capitalist marketing, the cold season is known as the giving season. Gifts for everyone, volunteering with your pals, lovingly-baked mincemeat pies that appear out of nowhere. If you are good in bed, giving generously should already be part of your routine because sex is only as good as it is equal, and if it’s not, try turning that up a few notches this winter.

Give your partner lots of generous care. Affection can be hard to come by in January, so even the most delicate touch will be greatly appreciated and found to be more than just exhilarating. Keep in mind that giving love to your lover—even in a casual hookup—is not only sexy, it is smart. If your wiles work, there’s a chance this partner will want to see you again, and like that, the magical “winter hookup pal” (A RARE PINK SLIPPERY DOLPHIN) has been born.

Keep almost all of your clothes on

Reminder: only a small arrondissement of your body need be exposed to have sex. Chances are, if you keep most of your clothes on to begin with, the fear of being cold and/or showing your uncomfortable fatty bits will diminish within seconds and those clothes will be shed before you can say “ahh.” Will the bronze rivets on your jeans make light indentations on the pelvis or backside of your sex buddy? Will your arms have limited movement due to being encased like two sausages in layers of parka, sweatshirt, and down? Yes and yes. But everybody’s gota start somewhere.

Go to the Museum of Sex

LOCAL NYC TIP ALERT: I never wanted to fuck so bad during the wintertime as I did after a day spent wandering around the Museum of Sex. It was highly stimulating for the dormant libido. Other cities, do you have an equivalent? Please recommend in the comments.

Don’t shave

Everyone needs to chill the fuck out about body hair. An untamed wilderness of smelly, crusty hair trappings, sure, is not cute or fun, so tame that shit when you can. But at a certain juncture, the worst thing that body hair can do is give little tingly scratches to your partner when they rub their leg up against yours. I think body hair is sexy, and if you’re having sex in the winter, there’s a fair chance it’s caught you by surprise. You know the deal: out at a bar on a lonely blizzard night, and the one other person at the bar is the guy who challenges you to a friendly game of pool. WHOOSH—THREE HOURS IN THE FUTURE. You’re having sex, and oh Jesus Christ, I forgot to shave. I’m freeing all people of this stupid ignorant shame by encouraging us all to let it go. Sex feels good, so let it feel good, and if a person is too uptight to get over body hair in the process, sucks for them.

Masturbate a lot

Well, there you have it. If you aren’t getting any this winter, please do not despair. If you are in a committed relationship, masturbate a lot (but not too much!). If you are single, masturbate a lot. If it’s summer, masturbate a lot. If it’s winter, masturbate a lot. A dear friend of mine recommends the following cure for hangovers: masturbate, shower, then eat a chicken Caesar salad. This hangover cure is also, conveniently, a great cure for winter libido arrest. Hell, you’re already in bed all the time—you may as well have some fun while you’re there.

[Illustration by Jim Cooke]