Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people needed to “be careful” when it came to having sexual relationships outside of “established relationships” during the pandemic.
Asked about the Government’s guidance that only “established” couples should be having sex, he told Sky News: “In these rules that we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries, to coin a phrase.
“If you’re saying that two households shouldn’t mix, which we are in some parts of the country – in the North East, the North West, in Scotland, in parts of Wales – then you have to then define what is the boundary of that.”
He added: “I think we should stick to the letter of it, which is it is okay in an established relationship.
“It just means that people need to be careful, they need to be sensible.
“If you’re in a relationship that is well established… what it means is people realising that coming into close contact with people from other households, then that is how the virus spreads.”
Mr Hancock joked that “I know I am in an established relationship” with his wife.
Mr Hancock also discussed the possibility of students heading home to family and friends over Christmas.
Asked whether university students may be told not to go home at Christmas if the situation worsens, he said: “We haven’t reached that point yet”.
Asked if it was something he would consider, he told BBC Breakfast: “I don’t rule out anything.
“And if you have the last nine months that I’ve had, you’d understand why we don’t rule out anything. It’s not something that I want to do.
“But what’s important is that we of course keep people safe and keep the virus under control.”
Mr Hancock said people could be asked multiple times to self-isolate by the new NHS tracing app – although he confirmed it would not be a legal requirement.
Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “If the app tells you to self-isolate, then you should self-isolate. But if an NHS Test and Trace contact tracer tells you, then you must by law.”
Asked whether that was complicated to understand, he said: “Not really, it is really straightforward.”