Finding sex education resources at Concordia

Students asking for better sex-ed access on campus

Graphic Samantha Lepine

In Canada, sexual education, most commonly referred to as sex-ed, is typically taught in high school curriculum. However, statistics have shown that sex-ed taught to young Canadians has been ineffective at best and non-existent at worst.

LetsStopAIDS is a youth-driven Canadian charity that aims to spread awareness of HIV among young Canadians. It released its Sex Lives Report in October 2023, which revealed in a survey of 1,090 Canadians aged 18 to 24 that two out of three young Canadians felt the sex-ed they received did not prepare them for sex. 

Students at Concordia University feel the institution lacks sex-ed resources for its student community. 

“The perception Concordia might have is that, as adults, we don’t need sex education anymore, and that is something that should have happened when we were children,” said Gabriela Kennedy, founder of non-profit organization Sex and Self’s chapter at Concordia.

Phyllida Tuff-West, a Concordia graduate student, said that she does not know where to find condoms on campus. “I would assume it’s at the health centre, but I’ve never used them,” she said.

Tuff-West would like to see more sex-ed at Concordia beyond the mandatory sexual violence prevention training she had to complete before moving into residence. She believes that resources that list places where students can get condoms and period products, could be included in the course syllabus. 

According to Kennedy Concordia’s lack of sex-ed-related resources, leaves students without answers to their questions and problems. 

“I saw that a lot of my peers were struggling with challenges regarding their sexuality, their gender identity, their sexual behaviours,” she said.  “They were not able to access resources at the university, or outside, to address those.”

This is why in August 2021, after Kennedy met Felicia Gisondi, founder of Sex and Self at McGill, she created the non-profit chapter at Concordia. Sex and Self is a student-led initiative that “creates a bridge between people’s sexual concerns and actual solutions and resources.” She noticed students’ lack of understanding on the topic of sex-ed, especially those coming from different backgrounds. 

In April 2022, the non-profit opened the Wellness Pantry at the Le Frigo Vert. It was created for students to access products such as condoms, pads, tampons, binders, sex toys, lubricants, latex and non-latex dental dams, ovulation and pregnancy tests and gender-affirming gear, regarding their sexual needs and gender affirmation, for free.

Sex and Self is very active and organizes a lot of events on sex-related topics. Omene Akpeokhai, and Sophie Manker, the organization's future co-presidents, said the events organized aim to be intuitive and educational for everyone. Their latest workshops, seminars or networking meetings have revolved around themes of body image and body positivity as the themes evoked are changing and evolving. 

When looking into the future of Sex and Self Concordia, the two co-presidents hope to establish better connections with the university and potentially connect with the Department of women and sexuality studies, or other clubs and non-profits that work in the same field.   


In a previous version of this article, The Link had misspelled Gabriela Kennedy's name. The Link regrets this error. 

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 11, published March 5, 2024.