Sexual health is for everyone



Sexual Health is an important part of our overall wellbeing


A message from Dr. Unjali Malhotra, Office of the Chief Medical Officer; and Sara Pyke, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Office of the Chief Nursing Officer 

“Sexual Health is for everyone" is this year's theme for Sexual Health Week (Feb. 12-16). It's an opportunity to talk openly about the services and resources that can improve sexual health outcomes so we can all live fuller, healthier, and happier lives. 

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) endorses a strengths-based “Sexual Wellbeing Learning Model" that is intended to support and build conversations around traditional knowledge and ways of being sexually healthy. This model acknowledges healthy sexuality as an important aspect of overall holistic health and wellness. It is underpinned by four Indigenous values: 1) Cooperation and Respect, ​2) Kindness and Balance, 3) Love and Patience, and 4) Freedom from Stigma. 

Cooperation and respect are essential for protecting First Nations communities and their future generations. This includes keeping informed about how to have safer sex to protect yourself and your partner(s) against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as herpes; and sexually transmitted blood-borne infections (STBBIs), such as HIV and Hepatitis C. 

Kindness and balance are fundamental teachings for living life in a good way with our partner, friends and families. In addition to developing and maintaining healthy relationships with others, it is also important that we have a healthy relationship with ourselves. This means being knowledgeable about consent, boundaries, conflict resolution, self-care and balance. 

Love and patience are important components for nurturing and maintaining sexual health. Colonization has impacted the identities of Indigenous people, socially, culturally and sexually, and at the FNHA we are working towards decolonization, including in the area of sexual health. This means learning more about traditional and contemporary perspectives on gender identity and expression, and finding what works for First Nations people. 

It also means being inclusive and celebrating our differences. Our Two-Spirit colleague, Dr. Evan Adams, notes that, “2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples are valuable members of our families, and self-expression and relationships are important. We should be included in, and reminded of, sexual health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit. Whatever your identity, count yourself in." 

Traditionally and historically among First Nations, sexuality was not perceived as taboo as it sometimes is today – healthy sexuality was seen as a holistic part of health. Stigma and judgment around sexual health is a colonial concept. Learning about our bodies was part of the teachings of First Nations​, and many Nations celebrate “rites-of-passage" ceremonies. This served as a way to honour the transition from adolescence to adulthood and independence and all of the responsibilities that accompany this transition. 

Taking care of our sexual health

Remember, it is your right to have good health care to support your sexual health and wellbeing. Feeling comfortable talking with your health care provider is a first step. By taking good care of your sexual health now, you are helping ensure a healthy future for yourself.

If you do not have access to a local nurse or doctor, you can book a virtual appointment with the First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day by calling 1-855-344-3800 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., seven days per week. For general sexual health questions, information and resources, you can call SexSense at 1-800-739-7367 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday to Friday.

We also recommend that you check out our webpage on sexual health, which includes the FNHA fact sheet “Sexual Wellbeing Learning Model" and links to other great resources promoting sexual health and wellness for Indigenous youth and young adults, including the Native Youth Sexual Health Network and YouthCo: Yúusnewas."​​​​

Skip Navigation>About>News and Events>News>Sexual health is for everyone