Fifty Shades of Grey, written by E. L. James, is the story of a college senior, Anastasia “Ana” Steele. She lives with her best friend Katherine Kavanagh who writes for their college’s student paper. Due to illness, Katherine asks Ana to take her place and interview with a rich entrepreneur named Christian Grey.
Ana is immediately attracted to Grey and she stumbles through the interview and leaves his office thinking it went poorly. However to her surprise, Grey appears at the hardware store where she works, where he purchases various items.
Ana tells Grey that Katherine wants photos to go with her article about him and Mr. Grey leaves Ana with his phone number. Katherine requests that Ana call Mr. Grey and arrange a photoshoot with their photographer friend, Jose Rodriquez.
The next day Ana, Katherine, Jose and go to see Mr. Grey; after the photoshoot, Mr. Grey asks Ana out for a date. They go for coffee and Mr. Grey asks about her family and if she is dating. They hit it off, but Ana believes that she is not good enough for Mr. Grey, despite her friends’ encouragement.
After her finals, Ana receives a mysterious package from Mr. Gray containing Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Later that night Ana drunk dials Mr. Grey, who promptly informs her that he is going to pick her up. Her friend, Jose, attempts to kiss but is stopped by Mr. Grey’s arrival. Ana awakes to find herself in Mr. Grey’s hotel room, where he lectures her about taking better care of herself. Mr. Grey asks her to have sex with him and asks that Ana fill out paperwork, but later recants this request after making out with her in the elevator.
Ana goes on another date with Mr. Grey where he takes her in his helicopter. Once there, Grey asks her to sign a non-disclosure, which she agrees to sign. He then takes her to a room of BDSM toys and gear. Mr. Grey asks her for a second contract which entails a dominance and submission clause; that will be a purely sexual relationship with no emotional involvement. Then they have sex and Mr. Grey takes Ana’s virginity.
The next morning Ana and Grey have sex again, however they are interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Grey’s mother. She is in awe, as she suspected Mr. Grey of being a homosexual due to the lack of female acquaintances she has seen him with.
Later that day, Mr. Grey and Ana go out to eat, and he tells her how he lost his virginity; to one of his mother’s friends at the age of 15 and that his previous affairs failed due to incongruity. Ana returns home with the intention of seeing Mr. Grey again but discovers she has received several job offers, she later tells Katherine about her sexual encounter with Mr. Grey.
Ana receives several packages from Mr. Grey over the next couple of days. Such gifts include a laptop and a detailed version of the dominant/submissive contract. They exchange several emailing, flirting, and teasing each other about their new arrangement.
However, Ana soon begins to have feelings for Mr. Grey and runs away to avoid having her feelings hurt, due to the nature of the contract. She does not see Mr. Grey again until her college commencement ceremony, where he is a guest speaker. During this time, Ana agrees to finally sign the dominant/submissive contract.
Ana and Mr. Grey once again meet to talk about the contract and its limitations. Ana is spanked for the first time by Mr. Grey; the experience leaves her divided; both allured and slightly perplexed. This uncertainty is exacerbated by more of Mr. Grey’s lavish gifts and his desire for her to meet this family.
The two continue with the arrangement with Ana having yet to actually sign the contract. After successfully landing a job with Seattle Independent Publishing, Ana further bristles under the restrictions of the non-disclosure agreement and the complex relationship with Mr. Grey.
The tension between Ana and Mr. Grey finally comes to a climax after Ana asks Grey to punish her in order to show her how extreme a BDSM relationship with him could be. Mr. Grey does so, beating her with a belt, and Ana decides this is not what she wants. Extremely upset about the entire ordeal, Ana leaves Mr. Grey and returns to her apartment.