Religious friends and sex

So, I’m not religious. I’m spiritual, I believe in a force greater than myself, and I believe that having faith is a positive influence on people. But I don’t follow any world religion, I don’t identify myself as christian or buddhist or muslim or hindu.

However, as I have mentioned before, I did live in Ireland for a few years, and as a result I have a lot of catholic friends. In fact, my best friend is catholic. Not extreme, she doesn’t believe that the word of the Pope should go unquestioned and she doesn’t attend mass several times a week. Sometimes not even once a week. But her faith is an integral part of her, and her values are very much a reflection on that.

So comes the day of my big (meh, okay, my tiny, almost invisible) book release. I sent the word out to everyone I knew, and asked them to send the word out to everyone THEY knew, to read my book and please review it honestly. I didn’t expect to get a lot, because there is QUITE a bit of sex in it, and people can be a little weird about stuff like that. Also, the percentage of people who actually leave reviews are always depressingly low. I’m an avid reader myself, I know how rare it is for me to leave a comment (the book has to either be spectacularly good, or spectacularly bad!).

So I wasn’t expecting a lot, and was THRILLED with the ones I got. But nothing from my best friend.

Now I know this woman. Sex is not a shameful thing for her, and she was the one person I had thought, I KNEW I could rely on to help me out. I felt let down, and frankly hurt and upset, and a little angry. Complete strangers had left reviews (THANK YOU, WHOEVER YOU ARE!), but my best friend couldn’t find a single thing to say?

So I sent an email. Then a text. Then another email. And for ages I didn’t hear anything (ages, in best friend terms, means days). Then she finally called me.

I explained, very calmly and rationally, that reviews are EVERYTHING for a self-published novel on amazon, and that I only wanted her honest opinion (unless of course she thinks it’s crap. She should feel free to tell me that, but please don’t write it in a review. This IS my best friend, after all).

That’s when she told me that she hadn’t downloaded the book, and that she wasn’t going to. She explained that she doesn’t want to download anything off the internet with a sexual content, not even an eBook, and that she certainly didn’t want to leave a comment that would have her name on it to anything even remotely blue.

Now, to me, this is completely foreign. I have LITERALLY thousands of eBooks on my laptop and smartphone, and the majority of these has some sort of sexual content. It’s just not a big deal, and I SERIOUSLY doubt that anyone is interested in who downloads what romantic erotic books on a global scale (Though if you think about it, that would make a pretty interesting study). And even if they were, so what? People have written about and read about sex for as long as the human race has been able to put pen to paper. Or ash to cave wall. It just DOESN’T MATTER.

And a review on amazon? I have never thought twice about which books I review, sexual or not. It’s Amazon, even if someone I know sees my name on a book there, it just means that they have been looking for books of that genre themselves, so why should that bother me?

I simply couldn’t understand her point of view as it is so foreign to me, but she finally said something that sunk in.

She told me that if  guy she was dating asked her to do something she felt uncomfortable with, she wouldn’t do it. Shouldn’t the same rule apply to friends?

And she is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. If anything, it takes MORE courage to tell your friends no, and I realised that she has been agonising over this, which was why I hadn’t heard anything from her for so long (days, people. DAYS!)

I apologised on the spot and forgave her in turn, not that she needed it since she hadn’t done anything wrong, and promised to not bring it up again. I am still a little hurt, but that’s MY issue, since my values are a little different from hers on this particular issue. And I admire her more than ever. It may seem like a little thing, but to take a stand and stick by it, that takes courage, even if it’s not a question of world peace or poverty.

I am so proud of my best friend. And, okay, still a little upset, but I’ll get over it. My issue, not your fault, babe.

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