The A-Z of Fifty Shades of Grey

Posted by , 24 July 2014





Steele is the central protagonist of EL James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey, the kinky book that’s twisted the knickers of women worldwide. An innocent virgin student who’s drawn into the dark world of sadomasochistic sex by billionaire Christian Grey.

Before Anastasia knows it, she’s up to her clamped nipples in spanking, bondage restraints and juddering climaxes. But the pair’s torrid romance is doomed, because Christian is a massive intimacy-phobe, on account of his mum being a crack whore or something.

There you go – we’ve just saved you 514 pages worth of reading.




Mistress Scarlett Thorne has been a professional dominatrix for 10 years. She tells FHM how those within the BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism and masochism) scene view the Fifty Shades brouhaha.

So, Mistress Thorne: Fifty Shades Of Grey – whaddya reckon?
“I don’t really have much stomach for fictional accounts of a world that is very much a reality for me. I am pleased, however, that BDSM has finally become a subject that isn’t just whispered about by giggling Sex And The City-types over coffee at Harrods.”

Are you braced for an explosion of interest in BDSM?
“Hopefully any explosion will be limited to those who would’ve naturally progressed to a BDSM lifestyle anyway. No matter how a book paints it, people need to be aware that BDSM is not for everyone, and it’s not something you should have to do to please your partner.”

How do you feel about suburban housewives dabbling in a watered-down version of your lifestyle?
“Experimentation is great: too many women have been far too prudish for far too long. Men with ‘deviant urges’ have been forced to visit dominatrixes and prostitutes for centuries, so women finally realising that a blow job once a month may not be enough can only be a good thing.

“But I can’t emphasise the following enough: always have a safety word [see ‘S is for Safety Word’, page 98] and don’t do something if you don’t fully know what you’re doing!”

To find out more about Mistress Thorne’s, erm, work, visit




Fit celebs who have been bitten by the Fifty Shades bug include Selena Gomez, Eva Longoria, Cheryl Cole, Kristen Stewart, Emma Stone and Charlize Theron. Have they all been ‘flicking the light-switch’ while reading it? We’d like to imagine that yes, they have.




One of Fifty Shades’ most outspoken critics has been American TV-celeb Dr Drew. Discussing the book on his popular, Oprah-style show, Drew attacked it as “disturbing,” “worrying” and “pathological”, and proclaimed its depiction of a submissive virgin ensnared into a life of sex-toys, sodomy and spanking was, “No sort of model for a reasonable relationship” – thereby disappointing his legions of housewife viewers, many of whom will have been daydreaming about being swept off their feet by a perverted masochist hunk with mental problems.




Well, alright, not every single woman, just yet. By September 2012, Fifty Shades had shifted well over 20million copies, more than 2.4million of those in the UK alone (in just one week in July, it sold 660,000 copies).

There are around 21million women in the 16-65 age range in the UK – so that means that just over one-in-10 of them has read Fifty Shades.

Then factor in women who have lent their copy to a mate (word-of-mouth has played a huge role in Fifty Shades’ success) and we see that figure edging closer to one-in-five. Which, quite frankly, is fucking bananas.




Fifty Shades Of Grey actually started out as Twilight fanfiction, penned by EL James under the name “Snowqueen Icedragon” (fanfiction being the type of stories that obsessive fans write about their favourite pop-culture characters and then post online – they generally tend to be pretty rude, ie. Spock and Kirk have bum-sex, that kind of thing).

James took out all the vampire references, swapped the names Bella and Edward for Anastasia and Christian, and Bob was very much her uncle.




As if every girl in the world wasn’t already annoyingly obsessed with Ryan Gosling, things did look set to become even more Ryan-shaped when Hollywood speculated that the Drive dreamboat was set to sign up to play S&M sex-god Christian Grey.

Luckily, it was sheer gossip and some poor, ugly bastard called Jamie got cast instead…



Anastasia’s endlessly annoying catchphrase, this daft exclamation of gee-golly surprise crops up every four pages or so, with the occasional variation thrown in: “Holy crap!”, “Holy hell!” and – language, Anastasia! – “Holy fuck!”



“He flicks the crop, and it hits me underneath my behind, against my sex. My nipples harden and elongate from the assault, and I moan loudly, pulling on my leather cuffs.” Blimey, eh? Fooff!

Check back tomorrow for more.

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Relationship and sex advice from the FHM team. How to please your woman, talk to girls, have great relationships and be a Ron Jeremy in the bedroom.