Workshop Number: 

March 27- April 9, 2023


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 ceramic dildos. She has been involved with a number of community organizations such as SACE and Compass, and prior to the pandemic, worked in Amsterdam to experientially learn from the notoriously sex-positive Dutch.