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?
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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