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Kids’ Questions: Should I Spill On My Best Friend’s Sex Life?

happy teen couple holding hands

Hi Rene,

My best friend Sarah has started dating a boy at my school called Ryan who’s two years older than her (she’s 14)

We both come from a small town in Minnesota and Sarah’s parents are pretty strict. But I know that she’s been having oral sex with Ryan and think they may even have gone all the way. Sarah tells me a lot of stuff but I don’t believe everything she says so it’s hard to tell what’s the truth sometimes.

I know her parents would be furious if they knew what was happening. I also don’t like Ryan very much – he’s never very friendly to me and thinks I’m a pain.

Should I let Sarah’s folks know what I know – or keep quiet?

Thanks

Cara

Hi Cara:

Wow, well this is a big issue. Okay let me say there are only a couple of instances in life where I feel it’s appropriate to divulge a confidence. One of them is when someone’s life is in imminent danger. The question here is, whether that’s the case with Sarah. Perhaps the danger’s not imminent but I think she might be heading down a bad path. Here’s why:

SHE’S TOO YOUNG FOR THIS: And by this I mean sex and dating a guy two years older than her. When I was in school my mom never let me date anyone who was older than me (not that that was an issue since I was a major-league geek). But her rationale was that they were into different things and might be able to sway me into thinking what they were doing was right, even if it wasn’t. I feel the same way here. I think Sarah’s too young to be having sex and yes, I include oral sex in that. There are a host of mental and emotional issues, (not to mention physical) which go with giving of yourself like that to another person. I’m not sure at 14 Sarah’s ready to take that on.

DOES SARAH KNOWS THE CONSEQUENCES: Knowing about the consequences is NOT the same as understanding them and this is about more than pregnancy. As I said, oral sex IS sex, and while Sarah won’t get pregnant that way there are other things she needs to be aware of, namely sexually transmitted disease. For example researchers are warning of an increase in head and neck cancers, possibly linked to a human papilloma virus or HPV.

THE CONFIDENTIALITY ISSUE: This is where it gets murky. As I said up top, the only reason I think it would be okay to say something is if Sarah was in danger. While your friend is in danger of making some very bad decisions right now, I’m not sure it goes much beyond that. You would be a better judge actually.

I would start by going to Sarah with your concerns about Ryan. But you need to know, he may be a bad actor but he’s HER bad actor and she’s probably gonna stick up for him. If things progressively get worse (not between you and Ryan, rather that Sarah is still making bad decisions) then it might be time to say something to her folks. RED ALERT! Sarah’s probably gonna be super pissed at you so just be ready for that. You also need to know going to her parents may change the course of your relationship forever; not necessarily a bad thing, just the truth. So I would make sure that if you decide to do it, it’s for the right reasons, and not because you don’t like Ryan, okay?

Before I go, two quick points. Sarah needs to know what 16-year-old guys are like. As much as I hate to say it, most guys that age are concerned with only one thing – and love, it ain’t. That’s one of the reasons I think 14 is too young to have a complete grasp on all aspects of sex. But if Sarah knows and comprehends all of this (questionable) and still goes ahead with this relationship, she definitely needs to see a doctor in order to protect herself AND her future.

Good luck Cara and kudos for being worried about your friend.

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8 Comments

  1. Tiffany

    July 4, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Yikes. What a tricky situation. I know that it’s not the cool thing to do, but I’d let her parents in on the fact that *something* of this nature is going on with Sarah without given them the play-by-play. Decisions like this can have a large impact on the rest of her life. If I was the parent and found out that a friend knew something like this about my 14-year-old child, I would be furious.

    Confidences should definitely be kept whenever possible, but dangerous situations (such as this) don’t qualify for secrecy.

  2. Rene Syler

    July 4, 2011 at 11:46 am

    @Tiffany: thanks for your input. I mean no disrespect but whether you’re furious with your daughter’s friend probably won’t mean much to her. As the mother if a 15 year old, trust me, this I know. Thx again

  3. Carrie

    July 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I think it is clear cut you need to talk to the parents – she is 14.

  4. m.e. johnson

    July 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Tell HIS folks maybe. Or a trusted adult who can have a talk with his folks. I really can’t see a 14-y.-o. having this conversation with her best friend’s parents.

    I can tell you, Cara, if you have anything to do with this business, your name is going to be worse than “mud” all over the school, for all kinds of reasons. For a while, anyway. Best of luck to you.

  5. m.e. johnson

    July 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I meant to say “… who can have a talk with his or her…”.

  6. Rene Syler

    July 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    @m.e. I agree and that’s a great approach. But this is, by no means, cut and dried. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Tiffany

    July 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

    @Rene – I totally get that some 14-year-old is not going to care how furious I am. I’m just saying that I would be completely upset and would feel like, as the parent, I’d need to know. This is why I’d say that this girl’s parents have the right to know.

  8. Peppercorn16

    July 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    OH BOY! 14 is too too young to be having sex and the oral sex is scray because these kids really don’t know what their doing. And if they don’t know what their doing they don’t know that they need to be extra carefully enough be concern about the do’s and don’ts of sex oral or othewise.

    I say the Cara should make like she will tell Sarah’s parents in hopes that would make Sarah not continue having unprotective sex with this boyfriend of hers

    More the likey the reason this guy doesn’t like Cara is because she’s the voice of reasons. Sad but true their are guys who will try to break a friendship up because he knows if he’s no-good a friend will tell her friend and he- he will even go as far as to say “your friend is just jealous or maybe she likes me and she knows I don’t like her and she don’t want to see you happy”

    Poor Sarah just may be one of those girls who learns the hard way. And I bet Sarah is not the only girl he’s sleeping with

    I wish her luck

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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