Fifty Shades of Grey fans know well that Christian Grey is not your average guy.
Although Christian doesn’t like discussing his childhood, devoted readers can learn of his origins as they get deeper into the books. (Spoiler alert: Don’t read further if you don’t want to learn about his secret past.) He reveals to Ana that he actually wasn’t born to his wealthy and sophisticated parents. Instead, he was adopted. His birth mother was a crack addict and a prostitute, and he spent the first formative years of his life watching her endure the trials and travails of such a lifestyle.
Christian’s past is more than just an interesting backstory, it also helps to illuminate his lovemap and better explain his psychology to the readers.
“Lovemap” is a term first coined by Johns Hopkins sex researcher John Money. He states that each and every one of us has a lovemap, which influences our choices of whom we love and are attracted to. Our lovemaps stem from our childhood and from our early experiences with love and sex. For example, if you grew up in a home with angry, volatile parents, you might find yourself playing out abusive relationships later in your own love life. Or, if you had an early childhood crush on a sweet boy-next-door, you might find yourself drawn to men who have that same gentle spirit. Physical lovemaps exist as well, and that could explain why some people are attracted to blonds or tattoos or long hair.
Figuring out your lovemap can help you identify unhealthy patterns and make smarter sexual decisions. It can also help you better understand other people’s relationship patterns as well.
It’s easy to see why Christian might be the way he is after examining his childhood and the lovemap he formed. His childhood made it hard for him to feel safe and open up with loved ones, and his first sexual partner was a woman who was a “dom” in the BDSM world (meaning she was the dominant one in the relationship). After years of struggling with love and relationships, BDSM offered him a way out, a way to enjoy pleasure, touch, and sex, all while in the safe confines of a regimented world of submission and domination. With BDSM, Christian learned that control could be sexy and powerful, and that he could be with a woman, if not as his true self, as least as his “dom” persona.
Additionally, Ana actually closely resembles Christian’s mother, so perhaps all those times that he was urging her to be safe and take care of herself, he was subconsciously wishing he could have made his own mother do the same thing; and the times he is aggressive about protecting her, he is, perhaps, acting out a hidden desire to save his mother. On the flip side, when she does something that upsets him, he gets to work out his aggression through BDSM and their agreed-upon boundaries.
It’s a complicated love story: The character of Christian Grey is seen as a passionate and sensitive lover by legions of fans, and they also relate to the part of him that needs “fixing.” Whether you like the book for the deep psychological underpinnings, or for the sex scenes between the two characters, it makes for a great read!