A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control



Answered Questions

In the years since SmartSexResource launched, we have developed a library of questions asked by you, and answered by our expert sexual health nurses.

Our answered questions library cover a broad range of sexual health topics and common questions we hear at our clinics.

Relationships (18)

if a want to be new partner is taking photos of their penis …..should I stop this new sort of kind of relationship? my gut is screaming NO…. I know that photo was not for me


I don’t fully understand your situation or the question you are asking but it sounds like you have started a new relationship with someone who is taking photos of their penis, and this makes you feel uncomfortable. Let us know if we got that information wrong.

Some people like to send nude or partial nude photos to partners as a way of playing and flirting, but it’s not something everyone is comfortable with doing. There are also issues with this, like sending it to someone else by mistake or the photo is shared with people you would not like it to be shared with. Also, with the nature of the internet once a photo is on the net you need to consider it will be there forever.

I would recommend trusting your gut, and if you feel uncomfortable about this, or about anything in the relationship, you should communicate with the person about how you feel. Having a discussion can help you decide whether this behaviour (taking photos), or any behaviour, is something you want in your relationship, and then you can make decisions about whether the relationship is the best for you or not.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

I had unprotected oral sex and I am married. I emailed before and I will probably wait the full 6 weeks for testing unless symptoms show. I will ensure I have no sexual contact with my wife. Also, if I were to be positive for something curable, would I still have to tell her if I don’t have sex with her until my treatment is over and I am negative?

If you tell your wife that you tested positive for an STI is up to you.

If you were to test positive the recommendation would be that partners going back a certain amount of time be advised to test and possibly be treated as a contact to that infection. The time period will vary depending on the infection. This covers the possibility that the infection came from someone other that the last person you had sex with.

If one of your test results comes back positive the best thing to do in your situation would be to discuss this with the person who does your testing. They will then be able to tell you if your wife needs to be notified and if so, can offer some options on how this could be done.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

I gave this guy head at school in the dark and I’m really scared because I have bumps on my tounge and my stomach hurts really bad please help I’m 14 btw

Hi there,

It sounds like this experience has got you really worried. I can reassure you that bumps on your tongue and stomach aches are not commonly signs of any sexually transmitted infection (STI).

It is possible to get some infections like herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis from oral sex, but these don’t cause stomach aches or bumps on the tongue. Using condoms can really reduce the risk of catching most STIs. Since you are sexually active, and just to ease your mind, it’s probably a good time to start thinking about getting STI testing. You can use our clinic finder app to find an STI clinic or a youth clinic near you. 

It can be quite overwhelming to sort out your own feelings and boundaries about sex. No one should be pressured to have sex (including oral sex). Please send us more questions (public or private) or chat with us online if you are worried about being pressured.

You can also find some good information about this on the options for sexual health website.

Let us know if this helps,

Health Nurse

I had active sexual life in past. However for last few years it is somehow challenging for me to find a partner, so I have sex with myself only. what is wrong with me?

Hi there,

It doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with you – in fact this is a very common and normal experience. It can seem as if everyone else is finding partners and having sex, but almost everyone goes through periods where for whatever reason, they aren’t meeting people to hook up with. It can be hard on your confidence when you go through a period of time like this, but often, it’s just a co-incidence, and has nothing to do with how attractive you are. Many people find that getting involved in sports and hobbies that interest them is a good way to meet people who have the same things in common. Over the last few years, many people are meeting their partners on online dating sites as well.

Hope that helps answer your question,

Health Nurse

How accurate are tests for herpes?

It is important to understand the different types of herpes simplex virus (HSV) tests that are available in BC; these include:

  • HSV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a swab test looks for the genetic material of HSV.

    It is the test most commonly used, and involves swabbing sores. It is very accurate (nearly 100%).

    If you test positive, this test will tell you which type (HSV-1 or HSV-2), and because the test is from sores on your body, you will know where you have HSV.

    Window period: accurate once you have sores, usually within 2-21 days.
  • HSV type-specific serology (HSV TSS) is a blood test that is used under specific circumstances, as it provides limited information that may or may not be useful for you to know. HSV TSS is very accurate.

    If you test positive, this test will tell you if you have antibodies for HSV-1 and/or HSV-2. This test cannot tell you where on your body you have HSV.

    Window period: 12-16 weeks.

To ensure your results are accurate, you need to consider when to get tested. Each of the above tests have window periods. A window period is the period of time between getting HSV and when it will show up on a test. To learn more about window periods, click here.

I have genital warts and I just started getting my first treatment about a week ago. I have been with my current bf for 1.5 years now. He was a virgin; I’m his 1st gf. The last sex I had before we had our first sex was about one year before our relationship. My understanding is that genital warts virus would break out in between 3-6 months. I don’t believe my bf cheated on me, but is it possible for the virus to stay dormant for such a long time like 2 years then break out? Or I should really start thinking that maybe he cheated on me….thank you.


HPV (human papillomavirus) is the virus that causes genital warts and it is hard to know when it was passed to you. We generally say that it can take 1 to 8 months or longer for genital warts to appear after HPV has been passed to someone.

It’s possible that the warts could have appeared earlier but were too small to see and only recently became big enough for you to notice.

You also said that your bf was a virgin; I don’t know his full sexual history but HPV can be passed with oral sex and sometimes people consider themselves a virgin if they have not had vaginal sex, but oral sex does not count.

Given that HPV is so common and most people don’t get symptoms it can be very difficult to know from whom or when the HPV was passed to you.

With what you have written I would not say that there is evidence that your bf cheated on you. Have you been able to discuss this with your bf?

Here are some links for some more information on HPV.

HPV and genital warts

Client Handout: Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection and Genital Warts

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

I’m having a hard time reconciling the fact that I have herpes and genital warts (not the cervical-cancer causing type) with my desire to meet someone and fall in love. The guilt of having sex without telling partners about my STIs is becoming unbearable. I realize I should just keep trying until I find someone who is OK with my STIs, but what are the odds of that happening?Are there drugs yet that can prevent me from passing infections?Can I talk with someone about this on the phone?Thanks for your help:)


It sounds like you are going through a hard time at the moment. It may help to know that there are many people in your situation who are able to have a fulfilling sex and love life.

There is a lot of social stigma around sexually transmitted infections (STI) like genital herpes and warts. It often leads to negative experiences or rejection, even though the stigma does not make much sense. Warts and herpes are very common and there is a good chance that the people doing the rejecting may also have herpes (cold sores) and warts somewhere on their body, and just not know it.

Stigma and rejection also make it difficult to talk about STIs with your partners. It is not surprising that this is having an impact on how you feel about yourself and your relationships. When you don’t feel good about yourself, it is hard to be confident when you are meeting people, or you want to bring up the topic of STIs.

Sometimes talking to a counselor is helpful. Dealing with herpes and genital warts can be a huge loss leading to a change in self image and it is difficult to cope with on your own. Another option is to connect with a support group for people who have herpes or genital warts. 

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.


My boyfriend of 7 yrs revealed to ne he likes wearing womens panties and getting it anally but has never acted attracted to men. Is he secretly gay? Help!


It is difficult for me to say if you boyfriend is secretly gay.

What I can do is give you some information on sexual orientation, anal sex and fetishes.

Many men and women enjoy stimulation of the anal area.There are lots of nerve endings and it can feel good. It doesn’t mean a man is gay if they enjoy anal stimulation.

There are many ways that people express their sexual orientation and preferences, and what gives them pleasure. For example, a person may identify as heterosexual and still enjoy fantasizing about same sex encounters.

Fetishes are things that turn people on sexually.They are common, but something that people often don’t talk about.Some examples of fetishes include a foot fetish or dressing up in the opposite sex clothes.This does not mean that your partner has a fetish.You would need to talk to him to know more about how he sees it.

How we understand social norms can make it difficult for us to talk about things. If people feel they are different or unusual they may feel shame or fear rejection.

Is it possible to chat with your boyfriend about your concerns? Sometimes a good conversation can help you understand each other.

Here is a link to some information that may help with communication. The pages have some ideas about how to bring up difficult topics.You may be able to use them to talk with your partner.


Please leave a comment to let us know if that answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.