Much work has been done to promote sex and gender-based analyses in health research and to think critically about the influence of sex and gender on health behaviours and outcomes. However, despite this increased attention on sex and gender, there remain obstacles to effectively applying and measuring these concepts in health research. Some health researchers continue to ignore the concepts of sex and gender or incorrectly conflate their meanings. We report on a primer that was developed by the authors to help researchers understand and use the concepts of sex and gender in their work. We provide detailed definitions of sex and gender, discuss a sex and gender-based analysis (SGBA), and suggest three approaches for incorporating sex and gender in health research at various stages of the research process. We discuss our knowledge translation process and share some of the challenges we faced in disseminating our primer with key stakeholders. In conclusion, we stress the need for continued attention to sex and gender in health research.