Sex and the Asian City: Low Sex Marriages in Singapore

Poh Lin Tan , National University of Singapore

Sexual activity tends to be lower in Asian societies, including Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. This paper investigates whether a) low sexual frequency is observed among married couples in Singapore, so that the low levels cannot be fully explained by social disapproval of non-marital sex and childbearing, and b) the extent to which lifestyle and stress explain sexual activity patterns. Using online 14-week diaries of coital activity collected from 657 women aged 25-34 , I estimate that sexual frequency is around 3.63 times a month. Both biological and lifestyle influences affect sexual frequencies, with probabilities following specific trajectories across the menstrual cycle and workweek. The effects of stress and tiredness are generally larger for women aged 30-34, suggesting that lifestyle inhibitors contribute to the decline in sexual frequency with age. The results suggest that the incompatibility between long work hours and healthy marital sex lives help to explain low fertility rates.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course