WORKSHOP #S22-2 August 1-14, 2022

Learning and unlearning: Abstinence only sexual health education in Canada


Developed and Facilitated by Erica Van Kuppeveld



Although proven by research to be ineffective, abstinence-only sexual health education is still a widely utilized form of “sex education” in Canada. Not only is it ineffective at what it claims to achieve, abstinence-only sexual health education can also lead to long-lasting negative sexual health outcomes. In this workshop, we will learn about the history of abstinence-based education in Canada, discuss common educational threads, debunk some myths often taught, and reflect on ways we can care for ourselves and students who may have experienced negative outcomes from this form of sex-ed. We will also go over the history, importance, and effectiveness of comprehensive sexuality education in contrast to abstinence-only sex-ed.

Learning and unlearning: Abstinence only sexual health education in Canada

  • Erica Van Kuppeveld (she/her) is a certified sexual health educator based in Edmonton, Alberta on Treaty 6 Territory. The abstinence-only sexual health education she recieved growing up as a student in the catholic school system has greatly influenced her career path and motivated her to become an inclusive, evidence-based, sex-positive, non-judgemental educator - a resource she wished she had as a teen. Erica currently works at the Traveling Tickle Trunk, Edmonton’s sex-positive adult toy store and runs her own business: SEXPLETIVE, through which she offers tailored sex-ed and creates beautiful, body-safe