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Fifty Shades of Grey sold  60,000 copies in the first two months in Ireland.

Fifty Shades of Grey sold 60,000 copies in the first two months in Ireland.

Scarlett Johansson is rumoured to be starring in the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation.

Scarlett Johansson is rumoured to be starring in the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation.

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Fifty Shades of Grey sold 60,000 copies in the first two months in Ireland.

After weeks of EL James's Fifty Shades trilogy ruling over the Amazon book chart like a dominant in a sex dungeon, something truly shocking has happened.

The top slot was this week snatched from the saucy fiction author by a leather-loving duo with a flair for sizzling, hot action.

No, not a rival erotica writer -- The Hairy Bikers.

Motorbiking TV chefs, Dave Myers and Si King, have whipped Fifty Shades into second spot thanks to their bestseller, The Hairy Dieters: How To Love Food And Lose Weight.

But their bookchart coup presents a moment for reflection. Since writhing and moaning its way on to the scene in March this year, Fifty Shades of Grey has become the bestselling book in the UK, conquered The New York Times bestsellers list for 25 weeks on the trot and, alongside its sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, sold over 40 million copies world wide.

In Ireland we lapped up 60,000 copies in the first two months alone and went on to celebrate the series with our own festival for BDSM (a catch-all acronym for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission and sadomasochism -- but by now, who doesn't know that?).

There's even been a successful parody, Fifty Shades of Red, White and Blue, by Belfast writer Leesa Harker published by Blackstaff.

Soon there will be a movie, with Ryan Gosling and Scarlett Johansson rumoured to star, and then the whole breathless fixation will start anew.

But as we pause to close the door on troubled billionaire Christian Grey, virginal Anastasia Steele and their Red Room of Pain (for the time being at least) there's one question we wanted to ask some of the book's famous, female Irish readers: How was it for you?

Lisa Fitzpatrick Stylist

"I already miss having Christian Grey in my life! I read all three books in the course of about 10 days while on holiday and I loved them.

"Initially a friend gave me the third one, not realising it was a trilogy, and I started reading that only to get a phone call from her halfway through going 'Stop!'.

"People say they're not well written but I honestly couldn't give any negative comments, I certainly wasn't disappointed.

"It's very sexy and Christian Grey is delish! I've been married 15 years and it's not always like it was the first year, but the book did prompt a bit of fun with me texting 'Mr Fitzpatrick'.

"I smile when I see people reading it. The other day in Whitewater shopping centre I overheard two women in front of me talking about it and I couldn't help myself from joining in about how divine Christian Grey is."

Amanda Brunker Author

"Like many other authors I've tried to dissect it, figure out the magic formula and learn what that special secret is that made the book a hit but I've been left a bit cold by it to be honest.

"It's a modern-day Cinderella story -- young virgin meets sex-mad billionaire -- and while I thought women would have progressed in their aspirations, it seems they still want to be rescued, simple as.

"Sex in books is certainly not new; heck, I've been putting sex in my Champagne novels for years and I certainly wasn't the first.

"The sex in the book is hardly shocking to me but what I found disappointing is the brand of sex, S&M. What happened to female equality? What happened to women calling the shots in the bedroom?

"The whole submissive fantasy is tragic and I think it's sad mothers are passing this book on to their daughters who will think this sort of sex is acceptable and correct.

"Seriously, any man who asked me to sign a contract saying that it was okay to beat me until I bled could end up in A&E himself."

Sinead Desmond TV3 presenter

"I must be the only woman in Ireland not getting off on Fifty Shades of Grey. I had lunch with four friends the other day who all loved it and reckoned it had help revamp their sex life but it did nothing for me!

"I felt like I had to read it for work purposes. The name just kept coming up and I thought I should find out what all the fuss was about.

"I was really shocked by how explicit and hardcore it was. I expected it to be all 'his manhood grazed my thigh' stuff but it was pretty graphic.

"On top of that, he (Christian Grey) annoyed the hell out of me. From the first time he gave that smug smile and said 'good girl', I wanted to tie him up and whip him -- and not for sexual enjoyment.

"From a feminist point of view I found it a bit disappointing that this is where we are, a book where the woman is submissive is so popular.

"It's also really badly written. But then, my friends who loved it weren't bothered by the writing, they've just found it a great aid in the bedroom and their husbands are delighted."

Carol Anthony Singer

"I travel lots so I'm always picking up books and after hearing so much feedback from my friends, I had to read it.

"I thought it was great! I loved the fact that it caused such a stir and explored a sexual fantasy life with so much passion and excitement.

"I think the only thing that was shocking was the fact that it became so commercial. It's amazing that so many people were curious and wanted to see how daring it was.

"Did it inspire me to try out any of the saucy antics? Well, it certainly got me thinking!

"I think communication between you and your partner is a great way to spice things up but reading books like this isn't a bad idea either.

"I'm off to Italy this week and the second book is already packed ready to come with me."

Indo Review