Readers React: Making teenagers blush is no way to teach them about sex or STDs

(Dreamstime /TNS)

To the editor: I read that that a bunch of Los Angeles teenagers attended a sex education program where they had to pass around a life-size plastic penis as a way to teach them about sex and condom use. Give me a break. (“STDs in LA County are skyrocketing. Officials think racism and stigma may be to blame,” May 7)

What is the “stigma around sex” that this program seeks to combat? Don’t you mean the stigma of talking about sex?

Embarrassing teenagers and treating them like morons isn’t the way to educate them or anyone else. If you want to educate youths about sex, don’t pass around a fake penis, with or without a condom.

Instead, give students credit for their ability to understand a complex subject and how best to discuss it. Teach them the facts, consequences and how to protect themselves. For instance, having intercourse can be dangerous to health (explain how and why), and it creates an emotional burden on those who are not ready for it or who were pressured to do it.


Teach young people to respect and protect their own and others’ bodies and attitudes.

Catherine Shepard-Haier, Berkeley

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook