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Current Study

The Sex, Couples, and Science Study (SECS Study)

In partnership with U of T, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands has recently begun a research study to try and understand how sex affects immune responses in the genital tract. We are recruiting heterosexual couples as well as individual men and women for this study.

For the group with the couples, we will screen each person for any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and if they don’t have any, we will ask the couples to have sex at home and then come into the clinic. At the clinic we will collect genital samples and blood from both members of the couple – for the men, this means self-collecting non-invasive swabs from their genitals in a private washroom, and for the women, this means having a speculum exam much like when you have a pap test with your doctor or nurse. The individual men and women will have the exact same testing done, but will be asked to not have sex before the testing.


For both couples and individuals, there are a total of five visits (one screening visit for STIs and four sampling visits with blood and genital samples taken as described above). Each participant is given $35 and 2 TTC tokens for each visit to show our appreciation. If you complete all five visits, that means a total of $175 and 10 TTC tokens for each individual, or $350 and 20 TTC tokens for each couple. You may be able to participate if you are on effective contraception and are not pregnant. For more information and to participate, email or call research nurse Elizabeth at and (647) 326-4277. We hope that you will consider participating in this important study to help increase our knowledge about sex and immune responses!