The 50 Shades saga has grown into a global phenomenon. In what seemed to be an unlikely formula - rubbish writing, wooden acting and inert onscreen chemistry - have combined to deliver a movie trilogy that has somehow managed to take over a billion dollars at the box office. For erotic thrillers that essentially function as anti-Viagra, those are figures not to be sniffed at.
One of the major accusations levelled at the movies has been the vanilla nature of their sex scenes. In the admittedly terrible books, readers were at least rewarded with all kinds of derring-do from protagonists Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.
Butt-plugs, whips and cooking oil all make regular appearances, providing welcome distraction from stomach churning lines like, "I feel the colour in my cheeks rising again. I must be the colour of The Communist Manifesto."
However, in new movie 50 Shades Freed, the latest entry in the 50 Shades Cinematic Universe, our heroes take vanilla to previously inconceivable heights of silliness. Not content to spoil sex for a whole generation of moviegoers, the producers of this latest disasterpiece are apparently intent on ruining ice cream as well, with the inclusion of a scene starring Ben and Jerry's.
During a vacation in Aspen, Christian is suddenly possessed by a craving for some late night nibbles. Making his way to the fridge, he is alarmed to discover his wife Anastasia creepily sitting in the dark on a dining room table, clutching a tub of vanilla ice cream in something resembling an outtake from Paranormal Snacktivity.
After Christian makes his way over to the table, Ana proceeds to dribble the dessert all over his chest, before licking it off like a dairy obsessed bloodhound. After a few minutes of feverish vanilla slobbering, the roles are reversed and it's Ana's turn to receive healthy dose of ice cream and saliva. The scene climaxes with some missionary thrusting on top of the darkened dining room table.
While this may appease most of the baying legions of fanatical 50 Shades fans, book loyalists will no doubt have noticed that this scene is absent from the source material.
While Christian and Ana do indeed go to Aspen in the book version of 50 Shades Freed, their trip involves a lot of hiking ,and some far less interesting bathroom and bedroom romping. For the baffling original account that puts the "Er??" in "eroticism", fans will have to revisit the second entry in the series - 50 Shades Darker.
E.L James' narrative takes a different turn from the onscreen version. In the novel, it is Ana who is the helpless recipient of Christian's ice cream affection, as she is tied to the bed and teased with Ben and Jerry's. To quote from the original:
"Taking another spoonful, he offers me more. This time I keep my mouth shut and shake my head, and he lets it slowly melt on the spoon so that the melted ice cream drips onto my throat, onto my chest. He dips down and very slowly licks it off. My body lights up with longing.
'Mmm. Tastes even better off you, Miss Steele.'"
Cold spoonfuls are eventually dolloped onto each of Ana's breasts, before the whole scene culminates in a sticky pile of vanilla coated boning. Ice cream, officially ruined.
The world's love affair with 50 Shades is, for the most part harmless. However, when the movies manage to make one of the world's most delicious desserts sound this disgusting, someone needs to say something. Not in a month of sundaes is this sort of behaviour acceptable.