Cover Image: The Intimacy Experiment

The Intimacy Experiment

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Member Reviews

A rabbi and a porn star walk into a romance novel…

Author Rosie Danan’s book The Intimacy Experiment features a supporting character from her prior book, The Roommate. Naomi Grant is a former porn star with an advanced degree who has evolved her career away from sex work and towards co-leading a successful sex-positive online platform called Shameless.

With her background, Naomi knows she can be a voice for helping people embrace sex positivity and improve how they engage in intimacy. Her approach is all about empowerment and seeing sex as more than just an act, but a part of having a fulfilling experience.

After applying at different colleges and universities to teach a course on this subject, Naomi is met with a series of rejections due to her very public career as an adult performer. However, Naomi’s career may have a new opportunity when she meets Ethan Cohen at a professional conference.

Ethan is a young rabbi at a Los Angeles synagogue who is looking to increase membership and engagement through new, more modern programming. His synagogue has an older congregation currently and he hopes to bring in younger members to keep it afloat. When he hears Naomi speaking about her work in sex education, he offers her to teach a lecture series on modern intimacy at his synagogue.

Naomi is initially reluctant. She hasn’t regularly attended synagogue since her bat mitzvah, but this course seems like a great way to show what she can do and reconnect with Judaism in her daily life. As the lecture series goes on, life imitates art as Ethan and Naomi have their own exploration of the stages of intimacy.

Meanwhile the lecture series gains traction in the community, but it doesn’t do so without controversy. Many of the older and more traditional members feel that Naomi Grant’s series is damaging the reputation of their shul. Ethan is put in a tenuous position, as he is encouraged to cut ties with Naomi.

This was such a refreshing entry in the romance genre, with the themes of traditional versus modern faith and the role of sex positivity and intimacy in what was typically a place discussion of those topics could be taboo.

Naomi and Ethan’s relationship is steaming hot, but I also liked that there was a strong emotional and mental connection between them as well. It reinforced the work Naomi was doing perfectly, though at times it did interfere with the pacing of their love story.

I loved the heavy emphasis on Judaism throughout the book. I learned a lot and I enjoyed seeing a different take on faith in romance than the more standard Christian or even Muslim books that I’ve read. Naomi is a strong leading character and carried her half of the story perfectly. Ethan was smart, compassionate, and thoughtful. It sounded strange at first to have a Rabbi as a lead in a romance book (or any faith leader) but I actually loved it.

I was hesitant to pick this up because I thought The Roommate was a bit too heavy on the steam for me, but this one had much more balance with the plot, character development, and relationship. I found the story clever and engaging to read. The audiobook narrators were well-suited to the story.

An all-around good book that is worth the read!
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The spice was real with this one. The main characters had such good chemistry it overlooked that the book seemed drawn out and too long. I ended up liking Ethan so much. This book is so unconventional and when you read it you’ll know why — but it made it even better to read page to page!
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He sat behind the large mahogany desk, pouring over the numerous papers scattered across his workspace. His brain was going a million miles an hour, thoughts bouncing like ping pong balls against his skull. He needed to figure out how to draw people in, how to capture the younger generation. A knock sounded at the door and in walked the most gorgeous woman he’d ever seen… maybe she’s the answer?

The Intimacy Experiment follows Naomi, a former porn star and Ethan, a rabbi trying to grow the membership of his synagogue. He hires Naomi to teach a seminar about intimacy and in the process things spark between them.

A porn star and a rabbi? Sounds like the start of an interesting joke and it certainly was the start of an interesting romance. I really appreciated Naomi’s character and how she stood up for herself and also promoted sex positivity in a world that wants to shame it. I also enjoyed the slow burn and sexual tension between the two characters. I just wish there would have been more of the two of them together… the ending and their eventual connection just seemed too rushed to me. Overall though it was an entertaining read.

If you’re looking for a dual perspective, slow burn romance with sexual tension and also great Jewish rep and bisexual rep… then check this book out!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a free advanced copy of this book to read and review.
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I love Rosie Danan's books. While I did not love this quite as much as The Roommate, I have to admit that I was hooked by this book. I love the sex positivity and the pride of being a sex worker, something that you don't often find in literature at all, much less romance, and especially in a positive light. And more especially, the romance between a (former) sex worker and a rabbi! I mean, what a combination.

Naomi is one of the best heroines in romance, full stop. She is so fierce and sure of herself and educational and commanding and smart, I just loved reading about her. Something I crave in romances is a good plot besides the romance and Danan nailed it here--you're so invested in what's happening with Ethan and Naomi even beyond them getting together.

Also, of course, the sex scenes are great and memorable! Danan sure has a talent for writing these scenes, whew make sure you prepare yourself for the scorching heat between these characters or they will melt you.

I loved this story and can't wait to see where the rest of the series goes from here. I will be a devoted Danan fan for life.
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There was nothing really wrong with this book. I was not the right audience for it. I liked the first book in the series but I was not really interested in reading a romance novel about a rabbi.
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Did not finish this one. Struggled to get into it, though it was not a bad book, just didn't click. Still giving 5 stars though because it's unfair to give a star rating to a DNF.
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Rosie Danan is one to watch! This book and these characters felt so real, and Danan does such a great job creating these fun relationships in her books and rich setting. Definitely recommend!
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I DNF’d this one. 
I tried my hardest to get into it, knowjng so many orhers love this book and author. 

To me this was a snooze fest. I couldn’t keep myself interested. 
Although, it may be because of my reading slump. So I will be trying again in the future to read this.
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Feminist, modern, sex positive: everything I look for in a contemporary romance. Also, CONSENT TALK. YES. 

And, just like its predecessor, sexy AF.
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The second book in the Shameless series, THE INTIMACY EXPERIMENT brings a sexy former porn star together with a conservative rabbi. 

This was a fun concept because as an avid romance reader, I never would’ve thought I’d enjoy a romp with a rabbi so much. It was heartfelt and touching, and I thought Rosie Danan wrote a wonderful story with well developed characters. Naomi and Ethan were entertaining to watch as their relationship developed.

*many thanks to Berkley and Netgalley for the gifted copy for review
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Super fun, consumable read.  I love an opposites attract story, and the religious aspect added a fun layer.  I would greatly appreciate better cover art for Danan's books.
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What a gorgeous romance. These characters are so well-crafted and real, and their conversations about love and relationships are so poignant. Plus, the Jewish rep is wonderful!
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A cute, quick read. The characters were very engaging and likable, and the story itself was very real.
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Thank you to @netgalley and @berkleyromance for this e-galley coming out in April.

This book is cute and funny like any other comedic romance, but it takes place in a world I NEVER imagined would be the setting for a steamy romance novel: the world of Jewish nonprofits.

I never would have imagined this because, well, I work in this world. It is not sexy!! But this book felt familiar to the point that I was crying laughing.

The desperate attempt to get young people interested in Judaism! The old-school board who disapproves of every new idea! “Let’s send a flyer to Hillel” (literally I sent that e-mail last week.) That one old guy that befriends the young rabbi and hangs around after every event!

I think there’s a lot to love in this book for anyone, but if you've spent any time in the organized Jewish world, you're going to be cackling.
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The roommate was one of my top reads of 2020 and the intimacy experience was easily one of my top reads for 2021. 

We first meet Naomi in the roommate and I couldn't wait to see what rosie did with her story. A girl who's not afraid of what she wants, Ethan is a hot Rabbi who needs some help keeping his congregation afloat and together they find out that they're not as immune to what they've been teaching than they originally thought. 

This one was swoon, sexy, fully of heart that I was so invested in and 2 characters who you won't be able to get enough of. I can't say enough good things about this sex positive series from Rosie Danan!
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Actual rating: 4/5 stars

I loved the Roommate so much which is a bit of an unpopular opinion and I still liked this one but not near as much. I liked how religion was worked into this book because it wasn't overwhelming or too much. I personally don't like organized religion and how prudish it can be but it didn't feel like that in here. I thought it was interesting seeing this take on religion and intimacy.

The characters were great. The main male character was a huge cinnamon roll with I adored even though cinnamon roles aren't my favorite love interests. The female lead was such a strong, tough character and I loved her for it. I was rooting for this couple so hard. 

This book did feel a little slow and lectury at times and the conclusion felt a bit rushed but overall this was a solid read.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group, Rosie Danan, and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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What do you get when you combine a sex-positive start up guru with a rabbi who needs to get more congregants in the seats of his synagog? 
A couple who's got everything to lose, but even more to gain when they work together to educate the masses in a positive way about sex and intimacy. 
Charming and introspective, it covers how our society is fascinated and screwed up about how we talk about sex. And how we should shift the dialogue from shame, embarrassment, and negative to a strong, empowering, and affirmative ways.
I can already picture this being a fantastic rom-com and would love to see it. 

This is the second book in this series. 
Book #1-The Roommate is also out and a fun read. 

*I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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can you say steamy! Rosie Danan has done it again. I love romance books with steam to them, it just makes the book so much better! I loved following this couple!
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I really liked The Roommate so I was really excited about The Intimacy Experiment. I love that it is sex positive and has a really strong female MC. At first, I wasn’t so sure about the porn actress and rabbi mix but it actually went really well. This book also deals with mental health which I wasn’t prepared for but I was actually very happy for it. The steamy parts are amazing and might be the top reason I decided to read it lol!!!
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