Towards midnight, we assembled where we were staying and got ready for bed. It was very apparent early on that Dudley wanted to join us sitting on the bed as soon as we entered the room and shaking with anticipation.
With any momentous marketing success it's always worth taking a look at what it was that made it such a rip-roaring winner and whether that's translatable into other sectors. So, what lessons can be learned from Fifty Shades that don't involved a blindfold and a whip?
BDSM is not abuse. That's a given, and so a person might expect me to defend Fifty Shades against all allegations, but that isn't quite the case. There is certainly abuse depicted, but not in the way many believe.
It's also true Christian Grey doesn't have any guttering. The water pours down the window and reflects back on the wall as Ana cries on grey satin sheets. Surely to goodness if he can afford first edition Thomas Hardy, he can afford to avoid the pitfalls of surface water.
Instead of the constant critiquing and debating (and, ahem, blog posting), shouldn't we all be a little embarrassed that this movie is so popular? The movie posters boast that it is a "global phenomenon", and, based on the volume of discussion, media coverage and blatant outrage that this movie has sparked, I am starting to actually believe this to be true.
I've read a chapter of the book (couldn't cope with any more of that weak dialogue), but thought the movie was solidly made and well cast (though Michael Fassbender would have been a better Grey).
Tantra and anything else that purports to make us all more attractive with additional sexual prowess must be worth investigating. There are no limits to the alluring promises made by companies who sell us products or makeovers to improve our sex lives.
The eruption of 'mommy porn' typified in E.L James' 50 Shades series has been argued by some as a marker for female sexual empowerment. I will agree that it has enlightened a change in coffee table conversation, in a similar way to the emergence of Ann Summers' parties; but here's the rub - the series isn't actually representative of BDSM or female empowerment - it's simply about male possession.
One of the books that detainees at Guantánamo Bay are 50 Shades of Grey, the international bestseller from the US writer EL James. Could it be that the US military authorities have decided that James' erotic thriller is actually pornographic (so-called "mummy porn") and therefore unsuitable for the camp's 155 detainees?
Lauren Oliver is the best-selling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy. The final book in the latter series - Requiem - has just been released. It wraps up the story of Lena, a plucky young woman who lives in a future America where love is classified as an illness and young people are "cured" of the disease.
It was reported by The Telegraph recently that 'sex has been all but eradicated from Hollywood scripts over the past 18 months'. Apparently sex scenes are being shunned in favour of dazzling special effects and tellingly, only two films containing sex and nudity made the box office top ten in the UK last year. So what is the reason for Hollywood's languishing libido?
Despite the growth of online markets and digital applications the mark of success is still "getting off" the Internet and into "the real world" a gathering of publishers and tech start-ups has been told.
I had always defended the BDSM and kink communities against charges of unsound, destructive desire. Indeed, I'd already worked as a professional dominatrix - and one with stringent ethics.
In short: Fifty Shades of Grey is erotica and thus disqualified from the Bad Sex in Fiction Award 2012 (or indeed in any other year). Phew.
The rise of the ebook is crucial to the emerging success of Indie Authors. By cutting out the middlemen - agents, publishers, traditional bookshops - authors can realise better returns and connect more directly with their readers. Most notable, of course, is the phenomenon of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey - now the best-selling book in British history.
Today, girls may know more about sex but Lace's message of empowerment and equality is as relevant and important as it was 30 years ago. It's a pity that modern novels, especially informative ones that involve women's sexuality are put down as 'mummy porn', 'bonkbusters', 'bodice rippers', 'beach-reads', 'w*nk-fodder' or, simply, trash. But what has clearly been proved, and what has changed in the last 30 years, is that women are far more openly interested in having an enjoyable sex life.