Married couples in Singapore had more sex during circuit breaker: Study


How often do married couples have sex? With more time spent at home during the pandemic, you might expect they’ve had more opportunities to be intimate with each other. 

A new study has confirmed that married couples in Singapore were having more sex during the circuit breaker period, which started in April 2020. Experts believe this could potentially help to boost Singapore’s ultra-low birth rate recently. 

How the study was done


It was revealed that there was an increased frequency of sex among couples in Singapore during the pandemic. Findings showed that this trend continued in June 2020, after the circuit breaker had already ended. 

The study was conducted by Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) Assistant Professor Tan Poh Lin and was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine on Dec 13, 2021.

This is the first local study examining the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sexual health of married couples, The Straits Times reported.

Researchers tracked the sexual activity of 409 married women in Singapore. They were surveyed in 2018 for another of Tan’s papers with a different focus. This one studied stress fatigue and sexual spontaneity among married couples in a “high-stress society”. 

Participants have been married for an average of six years and are either Singaporeans or are married to one. They were aged between 25 and 34. More than 70 per cent of them have at least one child aged six or younger. 

The women were asked to complete a similar survey again in 2020 to examine the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on changes in the frequency and patterns of sexual activity among married couples. 

How often do married couples have sex during the circuit breaker?


According to the results, couples in Singapore had sex an average of 0.78 times a week in 2020. This is more than the average of 0.68 times a week back in 2018. 

Then in 2020, the percentage of couples who did not have sex at least once a week fell to under 50 per cent. This is compared to 54.3 per cent in 2018.

Tan found that more participants were moving towards having sex twice a week or more. However the majority did continue to have no sex or sex once a week in the year 2020.

Compared to 2018, it was also suggested that marital sex lives showed more flexibility in 2020. While couples in the past had a higher tendency to have sex on weekends, their sexual activities were more spread out throughout the week in 2020. 

In conclusion, the study found that there were more active and flexible marital sex lives during the pandemic and this seems to have persisted after the circuit breaker ended.

Why did this happen?

Looking into possible reasons for these changes, the study gave three potential factors:

  • Stress and fatigue
  • Working from home
  • Marital satisfaction

Researchers were surprised to find how the work-from-home arrangement was not a major factor behind the increased intimacy among couples. The study said this only really played a “limited role”.

While “significantly fewer couples” continued to work from home, the frequency of sex among couples did not drop even with the easing of the circuit breaker in June 2020.


Stress, fatigue and marital satisfaction, however, were found to be significant determinants of sexual activity and frequency among Singaporean married couples.

But it was still found that “mild to moderate levels of stress” corresponded with increased frequency of sex. Meanwhile, those with high or very low levels of stress had lower sexual frequency.

“To reconcile these findings, it may be observed that while previous studies suggest that stress generally has a negative association with sexual desire and activity, there is also some evidence that stress from daily hassles are positively associated with sexual desire,” the study wrote. 

This article was first published in theAsianparent.