The last thing you want in your life is for your friends to have access to embarrassing details about your sex life.
However, generally, you and your partner are in control of how that information becomes available. If you don't gossip to your friends, they won't know about it.
Redditor mandarinaespacial is one of those friends, and she REALLY did not know about her friend and that friend's boyfriend's sex life. But she still made the unintentional faux pas of referring to it anyway, and the results were not so spectacular.
She went to the popular subReddit "Am I The A**hole?" or "AITA" for feedback:
Our original poster, or OP, set the scene in which this grievous misunderstanding took place:
"Me (25f) and some friends had a hangout at my house last week (Restrictions in my province are more relaxed now; up to ten people can meet in open spaces, two meters apart from each. I have a large backyard so space wasn't a problem). One of my friends, "L"(24f[emale]) brought her boyfriend "R"(21m[ale]) along. They haven't been on the best of terms as of late, but they have been handling it by themselves. Our group provides support and advice when asked, but we don't ask for every detail in their relationship, like what they do in private, sex life, etc."
The worst part of this misunderstanding is that OP was talking to a puppy when it happened:
"Now, I have dogs: 12f, 3f, 1f and a 4 months-old male puppy. Regardless of their ages, I will address them with silly names and made-up words, because they're my babies, all adopted either from the streets or from shelters. They're free to roam the backyard to their leisure as I have a fence, and my friends absolutely adore to pet them, especially when the stress levels are high like during these times, so of course the dogs were outside with us in our hangout."
"At one moment, the puppy did something cute (maybe he yawned? I can't remember that honestly), and I squealed and called him one of the silly names I call him, a word that if you're imaginative enough could mean "small penis" or "small thing" in my language. Everyone else laughed, except for R. I didn't realize at that instant, but when I eventually looked up to him, he was bright red in the face and very quiet. He stayed like that for the rest of the hangout, even looking at L in a weird way, like he was angry and sad at the same time."
Things came to a head between L and R after puppytalk:
"Eventually everyone but L and R left, because L had compromised on helping me clean up. Out of nowhere, when I had left the kitchen to bring stuff in, R started arguing with L, and by the time I went back in there was a full-blown screaming match. R was accusing L of being untrustworthy and a b*tch, and L was crying saying she had no idea what he was talking about. Eventually, I learned that R felt called out for having a small penis in front of everyone else, something only L knew about. He thought L had told me and I had decided to use that one silly name that may or may not mean 'small penis' to make fun of him, and that everyone else understood the 'hidden meaning' behind it and laughed in his face."
No matter how hard OP tried to explain, R wouldn't listen.
"I tried to explain to him but he was too angry and left, leaving L at my house, I had to call a taxi for her. For the past week it's been a mess, R is convinced that L has been venting out her sexual frustrations to us, we've been trying to tell him that it wasn't true, but he's stubborn. L wants us to explain to him in person, but we've been telling her that he's not listening to reason, and that the way he got enraged was scary, and definitely a red flag."
But now OP is worried that she's done something irreparably wrong:
"I honestly had no idea he had those insecurities, and if I had known, I'd never have used that word in front of him. But now I'm worried I may have stepped out of line regardless. So, AITA?"
Redditors ascertained where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
Everyone agrees that OP did nothing wrong. At all.
"NTA. You called your dog a nickname, there's no way you could have known. L might wanna start dating someone who actually trusts her though. R blew up after a perceived slight and then refused to believe her when she explained she hadn't told you anything."~bisexual_fool
"Who doesn't come up with silly nicknames for their pets? It's completely normal to speak to them in the same tone you would use for a baby and give them funny nicknames. Mine are 'Scruff butt' and 'Fluff butt.' You're NTA for this at all. Guy sounds like he has insecurities and is constantly looking for things to be angry about."~LizaRhea
"NTA. You just exposed an abusive partner. I dated a dude where this exact scenario happened and he turned out to be a narcissist, so now I feel like if this ever happens where new significant other is self conscious and blames me for making him self conscious then to hell with him."~Conscious-Vanilla
"As a guy who is small himself you are absolutely NTA. You did nothing wrong there, we can't be upset by something harmless like that. Having said that, I can't help but wonder if something more had happened in their relationship because of his size, because it seems odd that he'd be THAT upset. Like if she had mentioned he was a bit small in the past, etc. Pure speculation of course!"
"Also, it's a bit sad to see how many people in the comments are hating on us :( It's not our fault we are born this
way and most of us don't freak out like that."~steve-616
After all, who doesn't call their pets ridiculous pet names all the time?
"Nta we all have silly random names for our pets, so it's not your fault at all. His reaction is a huuuuuuuuuuge red flag and I would honestly suggest maybe having her stay with one of you guys until he is able to talk reasonably or he moves out... trust issues or not, that is not how you behave with the person you supposedly love."~fade89away
"Solid NTA here, but I really do want to stress how uniquely terrible that combination of factors was, and that I feel very sad for both your friend and her bf."
"It's a uniquely painful and stigmatized issue to have a small penis, with atrocious affects for many of these men on their mental health. Loneliness, shame, humiliation, mockery, contempt, being associated with power-hungry sociopaths or (with BLM at the moment) even many signs like "Racism is little dick energy"...all these things are directed at men with below average penis size, purely for something genetic they have ZERO control over."
"Your friends bf should not have yelled and attacked his gf the way you described, that's a firm ass hole move... but I do just want to have it said that his reaction would have been coming from a place of extreme pain and insecurity, and the perception of a phenomenal breach of trust."
"Many of these men are repeatedly laughed at, ridiculed and mocked in sexual contexts, and to find a partner who wants to be with you can be a mindf*ck... 'is this pity? Is this virtue signaling? Am I really enough for her? Does she crave something I can never give her? Does she secretly resent my size, and confide in her friends about how miserable she is? Can I trust her? Or is everyone laughing at me?'"
"In essence... this was a terrible misunderstanding, that poked at the red hot centre of a person's anxiety and insecurity, which was closely tied to the trust they thought they had in their partner. It was an asshole move to lash out at the gf, but I honestly feel so bad for both of them. I hope he can see he treated her unfairly and apologise, because your friend sounds like a loving and trustworthy person."~cienfuegos__
"Agree that OP is totally NTA here. Feel sad for both OP's friend and boyfriend too. Can understand somewhat how R might have overreacted in the moment if this was, as seems likely, a really sensitive topic for him. There is a high level of stigma out there about small penises. Would not be surprised if R had been bullied or mocked about it in the past and that's what drove his (from the outside) irrational response to what actually happened. And maybe people have been treating him consistently badly about this over his life so far that it's hard to trust anyone. Doesn't mean L has to stay with him though. Therapy sounds like a good option for him, whatever the outcome."
"A friend decided to (over)share with most of her female friend group that one of the guys she'd recently dated had a small penis. It's not like any of us asked and we didn't have a chance of stopping her before she said it. She just thought it was funny and seemed to enjoy the attention (even negative attention) when she shared stuff like this. That's what I'd consider an ahole move. I felt bad for the guy who was also a mutual friend and hope he never found out she'd told us. Really don't want that much info about anyone else's sex partner and would be devastated if someone I'd been that intimate with shared something equivalent just to mock me."~Ozdreamer
"NTA. You cannot be held accountable for not knowing something you had never been told and could not positively have deduced from extant evidence."
"Dude has his own insecurities to work through. That's on him. If he'd kept his emotions, and suspicious nature, in check, he could have made it out of there to discuss it with his girlfriend in private. As it is, he outed himself as having a small penis, which, knowing how men are about these things, prolly means he's absolutely average, but has unreasonable body image issues from watching too much porn."~DontMessWMsInBetween
And also, OP had no idea. How could she have intentionally hurt him?
"NTA He literally is the definition of fragile manhood (ego?) If he assumes you calling your puppy a silly name is a code word for 'LMAO HE HAS A SMALL PENIS.'"
"Support your SO and tell them you love them very much and that you don't care about the size of their pp. It's their personality you love the most. Just make them understand they don't have to be embarrassed by their own body."~ShadowJDarkus
"NTA. If you purposely told people somebody had a small penis to bring them down, that's a big a**hole move. But from what I understand, you didn't mean to do it. If you weren't trying to hurt somebody but did and tried to apologize, regardless of what you did its probably not not an a**hole move."~memer2026
"NTA, he's projecting his insecurities and lashing out at L over them. A relationship where someone keeps lashing out and acting irrational and unwilling to listen to reason is not healthy. L should probably think about a separate living arrangement before the relationship potentially escalates into something even worse."~Cyclonic2500
"NTA, no way you could know. No one even shamed him. Honestly though, I can understand as I have the same issue, though by know at my age and being married for so long I'm much more comfortable with it than I was in my 20's. He's obviously insecure about it because people like us do get mocked a lot and it is a running joke, at least here in the states."
"My concern though is you implied that he's mentally abusive and regardless of past experiences he might have had with having a small dick and being shamed, well, it's not an excuse for abuse. If that's the case your friend needs to get out. Mental abuse can turn physical very quickly. Hope all is well and again you're NTA."~CTF45420
OP is doing her best to support her friend, but it's complicated by the fact that she unintentionally hurt R with her comment about her puppy.
At least the puppy is extremely cute.
Hopefully L and R come to some sort of understanding on their own.