“It’s OK because there are no penises involved” … true?
My daughter is in a newly romantic relationship with her best friend, who is also female. Both are in their midteens. My daughter recently confided in me that they have had sex. She insists, however, that I am not allowed to tell the friend’s mother, because the mother wouldn’t let them have sleepovers or hang out as much.
My ex-husband is the one who hosts the sleepovers, and he looks the other way when they are in the bedroom, reasoning that (or so my daughter tells me), “It’s OK because there are no penises involved.” I am not as close with the friend’s mother as my ex-husband is, but we are friendly. Am I obligated to tell this woman the truth about the nature of our daughters’ friendship? Are my ex-husband’s actions egregious? Name Withheld
Your ex-husband’s attitude has a couple of points in its favor. Forbidding physical intimacy under his roof is unlikely to stop it from happening. And it’s surely better to have a daughter who feels that she can tell you both what she’s doing.
If the two girls are having a sexual relationship, you don’t want it conducted furtively. It’s best when there’s a parent in the picture who can help pick up the emotional pieces if things fall apart. Even when unwanted pregnancy isn’t a concern, physical intimacy can entail other forms of vulnerability.
“Depending on where you live, a sexually active relationship between two minors may be a felony.”
But the story quickly gets complicated. I mentioned picking up the pieces: Intense adolescent relationships can blow up badly, in all kinds of ways. If that were to happen, her girlfriend’s mother would most likely find out and feel that you had wronged her. That’s reasonable enough.
Letting a child stay with others involves trust. And keeping the sexual relationship from her would be a betrayal of that trust.
Unlike you and your ex-husband, she would be completely unprepared if anything went wrong.
A further complication: Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one-fifth of girls have had sex by the time they’re 15, many states in the country lack a “close-in-age exemption” to their statutes against sex with minors.
Depending on where you live, a sexually active relationship between two minors may be a felony. (There could be scenarios where even condoning it creates legal exposure.) …