The 'Real Fifty Shades' that isn't just for girls
40 million sales in, and with ever more alarming demands flying around Irish bedrooms, men are wondering what could be next. As it turns out, something we can read, too.
The phrase, ‘You want me to what?’ is being uttered by terrified, semi-naked men in their bedrooms with increasing regularity these days thanks to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. E.L. James’ story of love, romance and slapped arses has turned some 40 million women into sexually liberated shameless husseys and with the trilogy still holding the number one, two and three spots in book charts across the world, it’s showing no sign of letting up.
Not only has James’ series given a welcome boost to the DIY trade by triggering a surge in demand for rope and cable ties, it has also been credited with bringing about a key change in how we humans consume books – it prompted ebook sales to outstrip printed book sales for the first time last month.
Problem is, what are we supposed to do while Christian Gray is busy making your girlfriend hate you? Well, hot on the heels of the trilogy in the ebook charts is Can You Keep a Secret? by Katie Collins and Robert Carry.
A clever piece of marketing means the book is pitched as ‘The Real Fifty Shades of Grey’ with a Shades-eque cover to match. But while it does share themes like sadomasochism and the idea of a young woman being indoctrinated into extreme sexual practices with E.L. James’ effort, this is no work of head-in-the-clouds female fantasy writing. Can You Keep a Secret? is a biography and the protagonist is a real life girl from Dublin.
The book charts the bizarre trajectory Katie Collins’ life went from mid-teens to early 20s. The story begins with a 14-year-old Katie stripping on webcam for an audience of strangers she met online who at times numbered in the dozens. She soon graduated to meeting some of these people and by her late teens she was, basically, a sex addict. She started clocking up the numbers and was soon meeting and sleeping with scores of guys each week. The book reveals how, on one occasion, she went through three guys in the one day – none of whom knew about each other.
Not content with the traditional man vs. woman style of sexual interaction, Katie began searching for ever more extreme sexual scenarios to throw herself into. Katie discovered the secretive swingers’ scene and her wild behaviour escalated. After some nervous encounters with experienced swingers, she threw herself into the anything-goes lifestyle and quickly became the most popular girl on the scene. Within weeks, she was taking centre stage at seventy-strong group sex parties. Katie went on to experiment with women and have sex with up to ten men in one night.
Submissive by nature, Katie then moved into the world of Sadomasochism. The book reveals how she once handed herself over to a group of leather-clad ‘doms’ at a fetish party held in a makeshift S&M dungeon in Dublin’s south inner city. An actual fetish party in an actual dungeon. They had gimps and everything.
The sex scenes come thick and fast at times, but Can You Keep a Secret? is more than just titillation. It delves into what drove Katie to approach sex in the way she did and it makes for an interesting psychological profile. The book also shines a light into the darkest corners of Ireland’s secretive swinging and S&M scenes. It’s not a world you would want to see in person, but it’s pretty interesting from a distance.
Unsurprisingly, the book is taking off in terms of sales. Right now, it’s in fourth place on the iBooks chart with only the three parts of the Fifty Shades trilogy ahead of it. That makes it the best selling ebook by an Irish author.
Don’t let the Fifty Shades-style cover fool you – Can You Keep a Secret? falls firmly beyond the fictitious ‘mummy porn’ genre. Rather, this is a brutally honest and sometimes unsettling real life account of a young girl’s journey into the sexual underworld.
Note: ‘Katie Collins’ is a pseudonym. Her real name has been changed to protect her identity and the identities of other individuals depicted in the book.
You can learn more about the book by visiting the Can You Keep a Secret? website, therealfiftyshades.com. Can You Keep a Secret?, priced €3.99, is available to download from the iBook store and from Amazon.com here: