NurseAsk Nurse Lisa


“Gather knowledge and wisdom.”

-Saint Lawrence Island Yup’ik

Sex can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, so it’s important to understand what sex can mean, the risks of sex, and how you can protect yourself from those risks.

First, what is sex?

When you take a survey or fill out a form, there’s usually a box that says, “Sex: Male or Female. Circle one.” That’s one definition. Sex is also the act of engaging in sexual behaviors with another person, whether vaginal, oral or anal intercourse. Intimacy involves more than that, too, like manual stimulation (AKA “hand jobs” or “fingering”). Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDs can be spread through all these types of sex. Most STDs/STIs don’t have symptoms. It’s important to get tested and have open conversations with your partner about sexual health, consent, and anything, really!

Values and Choices

Many people have different views about sex. Spiritual values can impact how people think about sex. Sometimes these feelings and conversations can be hard to navigate. It’s okay to have different opinions and views than other people. Respecting others choices is important, and it’s ok for you to feel respected in your views, too! These views may also change throughout time as people change, and that’s okay.

Some ways to stay sexually healthy:

  • Talk with your partner about what you are okay with doing (for example, kissing, hand stuff, intercourse, etc.). Your values, feelings, and choices should be respected. You should respect theirs, too!
  • If you choose to have sex, use condoms correctly, and every time! Order for free condoms. You can also use dental dams for oral sex to prevent the spread of STDs. Condoms can be cut in half to use as dental dams. If you don’t have that, use non-microwavable plastic food wrap. The microwavable kind has tiny holes that can allow STDs to still pass between partners.
  • Consider birth control as a method of pregnancy prevention. There are many kinds of birth control that can be used both with condoms. Birth control methods do not prevent the spread of STDs, but many birth control methods, especially Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

Get Help

For general resources about relationships, sex, wellness and more, please do a search on the Get Answers page.

Are you in immediate danger?

Call 911 or your local police. If not in an immediate threat, please view resources on the Get Help page.