6 min read

Queer Sex Ed 101

Despite recent progress in sex education, there is still significant growth and development needed. Currently, the quality of sex education for young people in Canada varies wildly. Each province has different sex education curricula and there is no system in place to monitor the delivery, updates, results, and needs of students (Action Canada, 2019). This is especially true for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. Depending on where you are in British Columbia there is a wide range of what is being taught, anywhere from abstinence-only to well-rounded and inclusive sex education. One of the reasons why queer youth have been underrepresented in school sex education is because of heteronormative assumptions. This can affect queer individuals long after they leave school and enter adulthood. 

What is Heteronormativity: To be heteronormative is to hold the assumption that most or all people are heterosexual and cisgender unless stated otherwise. 

What is Sex: To make sex education inclusive and comprehensive we need to ask “What qualifies as sex?”. Does a man need to orgasm? Do both people involved need to orgasm? A lot of people might say that sex is when there is penetration. However, this may exclude those who don’t want to or can’t have penetrative intercourse because of interests, trauma, or pain (E.g., Vulvodynia or Vaginismus). Expanding the definition of sex to include digital (fingers), oral or toy stimulation allows us to include a far more accurate representation of what sex can look like for different people and in turn be more accurate in our sex education. 

Barriers 101: Barriers can be used so that sexual fluids from one partner are kept separate from that of another. They can be used for both pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted Infections (STI) protection. They may also be used on toys you share with multiple people or just for cleanliness purposes based on personal preference. Barriers come in a few different forms: 

  • External Condom (the type we are all most familiar with and can be made into a balloon).
  • An internal condom, also known as a female condom, can be used in the vagina or anus.
  • Dental Dam, used externally on the surface of the genitals typically for oral sex on the anus or vulva.
  • Gloves and Finger Cots, are helpful if you have a cut on your hand or longer nails.

We won’t go in-depth into the different types of birth control here as that is often accessible in traditional sex education. Just know there are a variety of reasons someone might choose hormonal birth control. If you have any questions about birth control options, reach out to your doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist for contraception counselling. These appointments are typically covered under MSP. At CAYA, we offer these appointments with our physicians. If you want to know more, visit our medical booking page. 

Things to Know:

  • Prep: PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a medication taken by people who do not have HIV to prevent HIV infection. You can access PrEP through a prescription from a healthcare provider. PrEp is a chemical barrier that prevents HIV from replicating in the human body. It can be used as a preventative method for folks who may be exposed to HIV.
  • STI’s: STIs or sexually transmitted infections are infections passed through various types of sexual contact. This can be fluid, skin to skin or in some cases during pregnancy if left untreated. What is important to remember is all STIs are either curable or treatable with modern medicine so the most important thing is to get tested regularly and communicate with your sexual partners. 
    • More info on STI’s: https://www.optionsforsexualhealth.org/facts/sti/
  • STI Testing: STI testing is a very important piece of your sexual health. Depending on how sexually active you are, and how many new partners you might have, it’s recommended to get tested every 3-12 months. Depending on what is being tested for you will do a combination of; urine, blood and swab tests. Keep in mind for HIV, it can take up to 6 weeks or 3 months for the most accurate possible result.
  • LUBE !!!!! Not to be dramatic but there is rarely an occasion where lube is not welcome. It’s good for vaginal and digital play. It’s essential for anal play and is recommended with toys.

CAYA Health Centre’s Approach: Currently, we offer a variety of services that could be helpful for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. We offer STI testing and treatment, Pap tests,  contraceptive counselling, and Trans Care (Including Hormone Readiness Assessment and surgery referrals). We also offer counselling and therapy services for those who are hoping to discuss relationships, sexuality, and gender concerns. We approach our services with a trauma-informed, gender-affirming,  and weight-neutral lens so anyone can access them comfortably. 

Looking For Other Resources in Vancouver? 

Qmunity is an amazing organization with a range of options from referrals, and education to support groups: https://qmunity.ca/ 

Three Bridges offers gender-affirming care and Trans Care in a few settings: 

Online Queer Sex Ed: Access community curriculum that is accessible, accurate and accountable: https://www.queersexedcc.com/

Want to discuss your concerns with one of our doctors? Call us at 236-516-2292 or book using the appointment form linked here. 

Book an appointment with our physiotherapists, pelvic floor physiotherapists, massage therapists, dietitians, or clinical counsellors here!


Action Canada (n.d.). STI Testing. Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Retrieved February 6, 2024, from https://www.actioncanadashr.org/sexual-health-hub/stI-testing#:~:text=Chlamydia%3A%20You%20can%20test%20after,repeat%20test%20after%203%20months.

Action Canada (n.d.). The State of Sex Ed in Canada. Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.actioncanadashr.org/sites/default/files/2019-09/Action%20Canada_StateofSexEd_F%20-%20web%20version%20EN.pdf

Felix (2023, January 1). PrEP 101: Everything You Should Know. Retrieved February 6, 2024, from https://www.felixforyou.ca/blog-posts/prep-101-everything-you-should-know

Chochrane, K. (2022, November 18). Heteronormative Meaning: What Does Heteronormative Mean? Plus, 8 Examples to Know. Teen Vogue. Retrieved February 6, 2024, from https://www.teenvogue.com/story/heteronormativity-gender-identity-sexual-orientation

Options for Sexual Health (n.d.). Sexually Transmitted Infections. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.optionsforsexualhealth.org/facts/sti/

Teen Health Source (2020, April 1). Queering Sex Education. Retrieved February 6, 2024, from https://teenhealthsource.com/blog/queering-sexual-education/

Author: Odeya Yeoman, B.A., Master of Counselling Psychology Student