I Dated A Real-Life Christian Grey — And It Was Nothing Like The Book

Could we work even though we were incompatible in the bedroom?

woman and man kissing in the rain Dmitry Tkachuk/ Shutterstock

I'm not a prude. In fact, I have a pretty healthy attitude when comes to sex. I've experimented, had a number of fun encounters and at this point, I know exactly what I like.

I'm not into latex, plushies, BDSM, or vampire sex, and I don't get aroused by dressing as a clown and sitting on a cake (yeah, that's a thing). In other words, I'm fairly vanilla when it comes to all things sextastic and I'm OK with that.


I don't judge kinky people — actually, I kind of envy people who have fetishes. They know what's going to work for them; it's as if they have a foolproof recipe... only, their recipe is for their pleasure, not a cheese soufflé.

Fetishists have all kinds of resources to help them find like-minded people with whom they can get their freak on. I believe that whatever you want to do with a partner is great as long as both people are into it.

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I was cool with my somewhat conventional sex life, I knew I was into vanilla sex ... and then I met him.


Suddenly I faced a Fifty Shades of Grey dilemma. My new boyfriend was into BDSM ... and I was not. How far out of my comfort zone was I willing to go?

We met the old-fashioned way: via the Internet. I want to stress that our initial meeting wasn't on any kind of fetish or hookup site, but one that offered friendship, dating, and more. It surprised me when I found out that my perfect match had very deep and dark yearnings but that revelation wouldn't come until after we met in person.

He was intelligent, funny, and sensitive. If he saw a hurt animal, he would break down in tears. When he told me that, I melted. In addition to his huge heart, he was incredibly hot with longish black hair and a killer smile.

After a few emails, phone calls, and texts, we agreed to meet for coffee. I was sitting outside our designated meeting place when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find that it was him, and he was even hotter in person.


Once I was able to relax with this extremely attractive man, the conversation flowed and our coffee date turned into dinner and a movie.

We started going out on a regular basis. Since we both wanted to take it slow, there was a little hand-holding and kissing, but that was it. Old-fashioned again but still sweet.

Then one day over dinner in a Thai restaurant, he said, "I really like you and I want to take our relationship to the next level."

"That's what I want, too," I said staring into his beautiful brown eyes.

"I feel that you're a very open person, so I want to tell you before we go any further that I have a lot of fetishes," he told me.

"In fact, a foot fetish and being spanked are just the beginning," he continued. "Knowing that, I hope that you'd still be interested in pursuing a relationship with me."


Wait, what?

I didn't know what to do. I really wanted things to work out with him but I wasn't that kinky.

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Could I fake it, just go through the motions and hope that as long as he was sexually satisfied that would be enough for me?

Anastasia Steele, the female character in Fifty Shades of Grey found that she had a few kinks of her own when faced with her lover's BDSM appetites. I loved the movie Secretary so perhaps I had a hidden dominant streak.

I could give spanking a try, I thought. I, personally, didn't like it as I had been spanked as a child, but I could spank him. I could totally do this.


Secretly, I hoped he wasn't kinky all the time or that his sexual leanings were like a time-share, with some of the sex kinky and some vanilla. We'd compromise. I just needed to get through the stuff that didn't do anything for me to get to the kind that did.

"I'm open to trying," I said.

We quickly finished dinner and headed to his house. Once there, we started out by kissing and it was great. He then took off his clothes and his body was even better than I had imagined. I was starting to feel that sexual charge.

"First, I want to worship your feet."

"OK," I said as I sat down on the floor, stretching my legs out in front of me.

He slipped my shoes off and started to give me a foot massage. I felt embarrassed that my feet weren't traditionally pretty as they are wide with stubby toes, but he didn't seem to mind.


After massaging my feet, he went toe-by-toe, putting each one in his mouth. It felt like a really wet pedicure but it was nice not having the manicurist yelling at me for not having a regular appointment.

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After my toes, he began to gather the things he needed for a satisfying sexual experience. Before my eyes, his bedroom morphed into his own red room of pain with paddles, brushes, nipple clamps, whips, and chains.

Handing me a wooden hairbrush, he asked, "May I be bent over your knee with a pillow?"

"Sure," I responded, understanding that I was to hit him with the brush. I spanked him for what seemed like a huge amount of time, going back and forth from side to side. The spanking was tedious and hard work, and I was getting tired.


He stopped me mid-spank.

"You're doing great but you know what I'd really like?" he asked. Vanilla sex, I thought to myself, but that wasn't what he wanted at all.

He had been telling the truth earlier that night: he didn't have just one or two fetishes that even someone with a small interest in BDSM could handle.


Oh, no. His was an intense combination that included spanking, foot worship, bondage, and pain.

Christian Grey would have given him points for originality and creativity, but it left me cold. At first, I tried to comply with his desires but I wasn't into it. I couldn't fake enthusiasm for his fetishes and he couldn't orgasm without them. He needed someone who could match him kink for kink and that wasn't me.

Alternately, I wouldn't have wanted him to repress his desires just to please me.

If you're kinky or not, the point is to do what you like and to honor your own sexuality as long as it's consensual, safe, and you don't hurt anybody. But our sexual incompatibility wasn't a hurdle we could overcome and we ended up going our separate ways.


In the end, I couldn't do a hard reset of my sexual makeup just to hang on to him.

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and frequent contributor to YourTango. She's had articles featured in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Woman's Day, among many others.