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A Fifty Shades of Grey role play guide for Valentine's Day

Ally Hirschlag is a producer/actor/writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY and buys way too many toys for her cats. She contributes to several publications, including Bustle, and The Nerve, and enjoys writing about all things woman. In her spar...

11 Tips to help you have a Fifty Shades of Grey good time

My boyfriend and I have been dating for seven years. We're best friends, know everything there is to know about each other (for the most part), and as such, things in the bedroom world can get somewhat routine. However, I'm always actively searching for new ways to keep things interesting. I recently started reading Fifty Shades of Grey simply because I have to read a book before seeing a movie. While not the best written, it gave me some ideas for a pretty exciting role-playing game to spice up our Vday.

My boyfriend hasn't read the book, so when I told him my idea, he wanted me to elaborate. In great detail. So in the manner of the pragmatic Christian Grey himself, I drew up guidelines for what the game would consist of, and allowed him to have input on each provision. It became a pretty comprehensive list which I think would turn any ordinary romantic evening into something much more. So if you're looking for, shall we say, a different Valentine's Day this year, here's a simple guide to Grey up your night (props not included).

1. Where to shop for hardware

11 Tips to help you have a Fifty Shades of Grey good time

Image: Karsten via Flickr

Check out Sportsheets.com for some essential hardware — most everything Christian Grey has in his dom room is on this website, from beginner's handcuffs to something called a Spread the Love Bar. In the words of my boyfriend, "Yeah, I'm totally down."

2. Write up a contract

Determine your negotiable hard and soft limits. Our hard limits were pretty much the same as in the books: no acts of fire play, no acts involving children or animals, etc. Our soft limits were a bit tamer than Christian's. Let's just say we're not going near clamping, canning or hot wax.

3. Buy each other a gift to set the mood

11 Tips to help you have a Fifty Shades of Grey good time

Image: Tumblr

Agree to get each other something implicit, but not obviously sexual as a gift. For example, Grey got Ana first editions of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, because of the not so subtle connection to their relationship. Something thoughtful, and ever so slightly devious. Perhaps a little too expensive.

4. Decide your roles

11 Tips to help you have a Fifty Shades of Grey good time

Image: Geoff Mock via Flickr

Agree ahead of time who's the student and who's the teacher tonight. This dominant/submissive game is probably my favorite, but you really must commit, and don't be afraid to truly punish. We've decided to make this a coin toss, and my boyfriend is playing down his excitement (and nerves) about it.

5. Pick your outfits carefully

11 Tips to help you have a Fifty Shades of Grey good time

Image: Giphy

Outfits must be well thought out, and flawless. I'm playing down my excitement (and nerves) about this.

6. Choose your safe word

11 Tips to help you have a Fifty Shades of Grey good time

Image: Giphy

Make sure you agree on safety words before signing anything. Ours is koala for reasons known to both of us.

Read more: 12 Unusual safe words couples actually use in the bedroom

7. Don't use your usual nicknames for each other

Keep conversation formal and proper, even when it seems ridiculous to do so. Something I could never get past was how often Christian used Anastasia's full, proper name. I mean, I know it's part of the whole control thing, but honestly, E L James, could you have made it more difficult for yourself? We will use Mr. and Miss when addressing each other. The Decided Dominant will get a "Sir" tacked on, regardless of the gender of who wins the coin toss.

8. Choose a drink that enhances your character

11 Tips to help you have a Fifty Shades of Grey good time

Image: Giphy

All things drunk should be fancy, or at least look fancy. For example, Champagne or sparkling wine that has an interesting vintage. If it doesn't, make it up, but you must be convincing, or you'll ruin the mood.

9. Don't use this as an excuse to not use protection

Use protection, and decide ahead of time what kind it will be. Safety and health are very important to Christian, and he was always, always prepared. You never want to be caught at that pivotal moment, and have to go searching. That would not be very debonair.

10. Start the role play tactics early in the day during all forms of communication

11 Tips to help you have a Fifty Shades of Grey good time

Image: Giphy

Email each other leading up to the night, and play into your dominant/submissive roles. The anticipation game is perhaps the sexiest part of this whole book, and you want to savor it. My boyfriend and I are emailing back and forth between the office and living room as I type.

11. Go off script

Finally, don't be afraid to let a certain moment take you where it will. I know Christian's all about sticking to the script, but then he's so pleasantly surprised when Ana throws him for a loop! Remember, these are just guidelines designed to help spark something. Don't be afraid to go off script — that's when the most exciting (and arousing) things tend to happen.

More on Fifty Shades of Grey

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Are you a dom, or a sub, or something in between? (QUIZ)

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