My husband and I had dinner with another couple last weekend. Funny enough, the conversation ended up on Fifty Shades of Grey (without me even prompting it). The woman asked if I read the book series. I told her not only have I read the trilogy, I’m on my third round re-reading it. We both laughed about it, then shared our favorite scenes.
Our husbands had no idea what we were talking about. I’m sure they’ve heard us wives talking about it, but with no context I can see why their eyes were wide-eyed and panicked when we talked about spreader bars, silver balls, spanking, and hard limits. Believe me, it’s not that bad.
So here’s a little cheat sheet for all the dudes out there. Your girlfriends, wives and significant others will be thanking me for this.
Men’s Guide to Fifty Shades of Grey
EL James wrote the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy originally as Twilight fan fiction. She loved the Twilight books and movies, so she wrote her own version. But instead of vampires and other supernatural creatures, she put in the BDSM theme with Edward and Bella and called the series Masters of the Universe. Eventually she renamed the characters and fleshed out the text a bit but it’s basically the same as her original.
Anastasia Steele is a 21-year-old student about to graduate from Washington State University in Vancouver. She goes to interview 28-year-old billionaire Christian Grey in Seattle for her student newspaper because he’s a benefactor to the school and will be conferring diplomas at her graduation. They are instantly attracted to each other, but nothing happens yet. They see each other a few times and Christian tells Ana to stay away.
Then we find out he’s a dominant and doesn’t do regular “vanilla” relationships. He usually gets established submissives, but he’s intrigued with Ana and wants her. Ana likes him too and despite Christian telling her to stay away, she just wants him more. They run into each other a few times, and eventually Christian agrees to take her on a date and reveal why he thinks she should stay away.
On their first date, Christian reveals that he’s a dominant and wants her as a submissive. Then he introduces her to his playroom, which Ana calls the “Red Room of Pain” – it’s not as bad as you think. It just has all of Christians props and toys. When Ana tells Christian she’s a virgin, Christian is shocked. But he’s so intrigued by her that he proposes that they try vanilla sex and eventually work up to his Dominant/submissive preferences. She agrees, and their relationship begins.
Later, it’s revealed that Christian was adopted at 4 year old, and had a horrible childhood before his adoption. This all led to his intimacy issues and not wanting to be touched, which is one of the reasons he likes being a Dominant – he can tie women up so he can’t be touched and he has control.
A lot of other things happen but in essence, Christian wants Ana to be a submissive. Ana wants a relationship. They go back and forth and eventually find a middle ground – each stepping out of their comfort zone. There’s a lot of great sex along the way and introduction of sex toys and props that honestly I’ve never heard of. Ana doesn’t become his submissive – just in the playroom.
Guys, 50 Shades of Grey (book 1) is all about Christian and Ana getting to know each other. Fifty Shades Darker (book 2) and Fifty Shades Freed (book 3) have more suspense and turns into a bit of a thriller – with psycho ex-submissives and bosses.
Why Women Love It
So many reasons but here’s a few:
- Christian is hot. He works out every day and apparently has the body of a Greek god. But despite every woman checking him out, he ignores all of them. He only has eyes for Ana. Every woman wants to feel worshipped like this. And men, try to wear something other than sweatpants every now and then like fitted jeans (no carpenter jeans, please – only kids should wear those) or a nice suit (with a grey tie).
- Christian is attentive – both in the bedroom and out. He constantly gives Ana compliments, and eventually Ana becomes more confident of herself (both in and out of the bedroom). On the other hand, many of us women haven’t heard a compliment in days, weeks or longer. So don’t be shy on the compliments. We want to hear how sexy and beautiful we are.
- There’s great dialogue between Christian and Ana – especially through emails and texts. They’re playful, sexy – sometimes serious. They use email and texting to communicate with each other because Ana is intimidated by Christian in the beginning. For some women, dialogue is usually about work, kids, doctors appointments, and other unsexy stuff. Or worse, it’s a grunt or shrug in response to what’s for dinner.
- Christian is bossy and tries to make all the decisions for Ana. She relents on some but doesn’t on others – which makes him like her even more. She challenges him and says no. Women in general like to know they can challenge their men. But at the same time, I think women like the idea of giving up control and having a man make decisions – at least maybe in the bedroom. For me, I feel like I run the show with the family, the kids, schedules, decisions – and sometimes I just want my husband to make the decision.
- At first the sex toys and props are scary, but as EL James writes about how loving Christian is with Ana and how much she enjoys it – well, I’ll be money that your wife or girlfriend has been on Google to find out more about “silver balls” and “spreader bars”. I’m serious. There’s a lot of sex scenes and I think women in general are fascinated with all the new information – maybe it’s time to spice it up in the bedroom.
- In the end, 50 Shades is a love story. Ana loves Christian despite his bad childhood and overbearing tendencies (she ends up liking his sexual preferences). Christian loves Ana despite her not being submission – in fact, this is what he loves about her. He loves that she challenges him. Really the push and pull of the love story is fantastic – and it’s romantic how they start on polar opposite sides of what they want and end up in the middle.
Quotes and Scenes You Need to Know
The most feedback I get from other women who love these books is that they drop subtle hints to their husbands but to no avail because the husband have no idea what they want. Well, here’s a quick guide for you.
If your wife or girlfriend:
- Refers to you as “Sir” or “Mr. [insert name here]“, respond with “I am to please” or “Why Ms. [insert name here], are you smirking at me?” Give her some witty banter.
- Rolls her eyes at you, she may be telling you she wants to have some fun. In the book, every time Ana rolled her eyes at Christian, he gave her a spanking.
- Sends playful emails or texts, don’t ignore her or shut down the conversation. This is the time to play. Be witty and encourage banter like Ana and Christian.
- Buys or leaves out a grey tie for you, consider this a good time to talk about sex and ways to spice things up. Ditto if you find a web page for Eden Fantasies or similar websites.
Related Blog Posts
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If You Loved 50 Shades of Grey, You’ll Love These Books
50 Shades of Grey: What’s Your Favorite Quote?
So While You’re Reading 50 Shades of Grey, What Are You Not Doing?
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