I'd never actually got round to reading Fifty Shades myself but now I feel like I know the series inside and out.
For months, I've patiently listened as aunts, friends, co-workers, and taxi drivers have discussed the book.
What's going on in Christian Grey's head? Can Anastasia really fix him? Had he made business ties sexy again? And where can you buy a decent set of nipple clamps?
I'd heard so much about the book I feel like it could be my specialist field of study on Mastermind. And I've never even picked it up.
Rather than actually read the series, I decided to see if I could write it myself. So last weekend I enrolled in an erotic novel writing course, The Language of Seduction, at the Big Smoke Writing Factory, to see if I had the 'Sex Factor'.
I rang several days in advance, and was told I was already a shoe-in. "You have the perfect name for erotica," the course organiser said. "Someone called Kirsty Blake Knox could only write filthy things. And I mean that in the best possible way."
"Thanks," I mumbled, unsure how to respond.
The workshop was being led by Noelle Harrsion, aka Evie Blake, the brains behind the Valentina series. The class was filled with women who were all fans of the erotic genre.
While most of the ladies couldn't read enough 'mummy porn', they were all having a bit of difficulty finishing their own saucy stories.
"I love it," one lady confided to the class. "Especially male-on-male stuff. But I find it so hard to write. I can never seem to get beyond the whole "the curtains were blowing in the breeze stage."
I wondered if it was true that most women who read erotica tend to be somewhat sexually unsatisfied.
"It is a fantasy for a lot of women, but it can also help them unearth their sexuality," Noelle explained.
And, apparently, you don't need to have a lot of sex to write about it. "A crime writer doesn't go out and commit a load of murders. You don't have to have a tonne of sex to describe it," Noelle said.
After introducing ourselves and chatting briefly about the best porn and erotica out there, Noelle asked us all to invent our own erotic character.
Mine was Sandy Devine; a legal secretary from Northern England with a penchant for role play, and whose guilty pleasure was her love of steak and kidney pies.
I had no problem inventing the character, but still couldn't really imagine writing a novel that was entirely about sex.
I asked Noelle and the erotica fans what the biggest pitfalls are in porn writing. "People are too tame. You've got to take a risk," I was told. "Nobody wants to hear about you shagging your boyfriend in the missionary position after Sunday brunch. They want something naughty."
"Never use the phrase 'he had a twinkle in his eye'," Noelle added. "In fact, it's best to avoid 'twinkling' altogether. It's just not that sexy." So, no twinkling and no brunch -- got it.
"You want to be evocative rather than explicit," Noelle continued. "But the metaphors must be clear -- you don't want to confuse the reader."
"Silence your inner sensor," Noelle wrote on the board. It was soon followed by "And avoid unnecessary descriptions of bodily fluids".
But we were all avoiding the more serious question. Finally, in the eleventh hour someone threw caution to the wind and asked Noelle the burning question; "what's the best way to describe a willy?"
Noelle shrugged: "Whatever you feel most comfortable with. But 'manhood' and 'length' are always popular." His 'length'? Really? It was pretty much the unsexiest description of a penis I had ever heard in my life, and instantly made me think of a shatterproof ruler.
We then progressed to discussing the most erotic area of the male body. "Buns," one mam said. "Nice firm buns. I'm talking about a man's arse," she explained. "Exposed male nipples are only lovely," another chipped in.
Having discussed the male anatomy in depth, it was time to start writing our own erotica.
But despite chatting about sex all day, I had a sudden brain freeze, I scribbled random words down in a frenzy and imagined various scenarios but I couldn't actually string a sentence together.
Try as I might I couldn't 'unlock' my inner sensuality. "Write about longing," Noelle chimed as she walked passed.
I tried. Believe me, I really tried, but I still ended up writing about longing for a cup of tea after being caught in the rain.
The tea was hot, but my story wasn't, and neither was it sexy. I listened as the rest of the class read out their sexy scenes, embarrassed that all I had unearthed was my inner prude. Turns out that, while I might have the name to write erotica, I don't have the balls.