He’s abusive, controlling and stubborn. He doesn’t allow others to touch him and requires a signed contract of consent from his lovers. He also happens to be the dream man for millions of women around the world.
After the recent release of the third part of the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Free, the Christan Grey phenomenon continues to entice globally and causes readers to voice their opinions.
The breakout character Christian Grey, from E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, has caused a worldwide frenzy among women of all ages, leaving many confused on his appeal.
“Women are uniquely drawn to the je ne sais quoi of Mr. Grey,” said Kathy Wesburn, a love and relationship therapist for Moore’s Health Clinic in Panama City, Fla. “Women want a man who can sweep them off their feet and control them in the bedroom, and Christian Grey does all of that and then some.”
In short, Fifty Shades is a trilogy series depicting the twisted love story between Anastasia Steele, a new graduate student, and the charming business billionaire Christian Grey.
As Steele stumbles into Grey’s office, she captivates him. However, as the two begin their love affair, Anastasia soon discovers Grey’s unconventional preferences.
Grey practices sadomasochism, the act of inflicting or receiving pain for sexual pleasure. His preference is so extreme that he requires women he is involved with to sign a contract that explicitly details his sexual expectations and swears them to secrecy.
The contract even details things outside the bedroom, such as a specified diet and mandated exercise.
Despite Grey’s peculiar preferences in erotica, most readers have become enthralled with the character.
“He is everything a woman wants in a man,” said Briana Journee, a third-year pharmacy student from Cleveland. “He’s rich, willing to do anything, plus he knows how to please a woman.”
Dymone Mincey, a third-year physical therapy student from Jacksonville, finds pleasure in the complexity of the character.
“He is mysterious and that’s enticing to me,” Mincey said. “There are so many parts to him. I like that he likes to be in control and that he is adventurous. He wants to try things that are pleasing to whoever he is having sex with.”
Besides erotic sexual taste and specific personality traits, one may assume Grey’s physical definition adds to his appeal. Yet, James leaves very vague descriptions of his appearance.
Besides describing a “chiseled chest” and “drowning eyes,” James fails to deeply describe the physical characteristics of Grey, a tactic that may contribute to his universal appeal.
“When I envision him, I just envision the sexiest man possible,” said Nicole Williams, a second-year elementary education student from Miami. “I’m not looking at a casting director’s idea of sexy. I’m creating my ideal Christian Grey, and my mind can imagine endless possibilities.”
Juliet Martin, a senior business student from Sarasota, Fla., attributes Grey’s appeal to the age old belief that every good woman wants a bad boy.
“Some people say every girl goes through that bad boy stage, but he wasn’t necessarily a bad boy,” Martin said. “He had a secret and dark side that a woman could sense. Plus he was one of the most powerful and wealthiest men.”
Whether his appeal stems from the oppressed sexual desires of female readers or sympathy for his troubled past, Grey has helped sell over 16 million copies in the U.S. All three books in the series have remained in the top three spots of the New York Times Best Seller list for over 25 weeks. Universal and Focus Features have paid $5 million for the film rights.