One of my dearest friends has published his first novel. It’s very well-written, and obviously I bought a copy to support him. But one of the primary themes is BDSM. I don’t judge or begrudge anyone who wants to read about that, but I’m not interested in it at all. I know I don’t really need a reason not to want to read a book, but I have spent the past 20 years in (and trying to get out of) a psychologically and emotionally abusive marriage. While I know that BDSM is not abuse, just reading about sexually harsh treatment makes me anxious and uncomfortable, no matter the context. I don’t want to finish the book.
How to I manage this with my friend? He’s a dear person, and I know I will be asked to give my opinion about the book, either to him or to our mutual friends. I don’t know most of his friends well and have no idea who thinks what. What do I say? Can you help me think of some phrases to have at the ready when the subject arises?
—Backing Away From BDSM