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The Shameless Series #2

The Intimacy Experiment

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Naomi and Ethan will test the boundaries of love in this provocative romance from the author of the ground-breaking debut, The Roommate.

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won't hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city's hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they'll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems--until they discover a new one--their growing attraction to each other. They've built the syllabus for love's latest experiment, but neither of them expected they'd be the ones putting it to the test.

336 pages, Paperback

First published April 6, 2021

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About the author

Rosie Danan

4 books2,047 followers
Rosie Danan is the award-winning, bestselling author of The Roommate, The Intimacy Experiment, and the upcoming Do Your Worst. Her work has been optioned for film as well as translated into 9 different languages and counting. The New York Times describes her writing as "warmly funny and gorgeously sexy."

When not working on her next book, Rosie enjoys jogging slowly to fast music, petting other people’s dogs, and competing against herself in rounds of Chopped using the miscellaneous ingredients occupying her fridge. Like so many of her favorite romance protagonists, she resides in London.

To receive first look updates on Rosie's books as well as infrequent—but cultivated with care—odes to swoon-worthy celebs, useful writing tools, and recommendations for everything from books to bold lipsticks, subscribe to her newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/rosiedanan

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5 stars
3,677 (19%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,753 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,945 reviews292k followers
February 23, 2021
"I thought you were obsessed with winning!"
His blood felt too heavy for his body. He could barely think through his still abating panic.
She made him feel like he was unraveling.
"I am," he yelled back. "But I'm more obsessed with you."

You might want to open a window 'cause this book is steeeaaamy! (Why, yes, I did say that). I slept very little last night so please excuse this review, which will basically be me giggling like a horny teenager.

The Intimacy Experiment is one of the best romances I've read in recent years. I'll be the first to admit that I'm super picky when it comes to romance. I just have so many pet peeves, hate so many of the tropes that feature heavily in this genre. But this one balanced sexiness, sweetness, and feminism so well.

The MCs are a former porn actress and a rabbi. You heard me right! Naomi and Ethan's chemistry sizzles from their very first meeting until the book's close, and one thing I like about Danan is that she knows when to stop. I have no interest in reading about 80 year old couples getting their flu shots together (yes, okay, I know that never happens. I'm exaggerating.)

Ethan is a young ambitious rabbi, but his synagogue is in trouble. If he can't turn things around and get more butts in those seats then his shul will have to close for good. So he teams up with Naomi Grant, whose sex and relationship seminars could possibly attract a younger demographic.

I cannot deal with romance novels without a decent plot outside of the romancing, so I really enjoyed reading about the synagogue, its politics, and listening to Naomi's speeches on dating, her sex-positivity, her critiques of slut-shaming... and I LOVE her, is it obvious?

There's a lot being said about sex, consent, respect, dating, and breaking up in this book, but its all done very well. I didn't feel like I was being given a sermon on a set of issues, though I guess I kind of was. But Naomi is so charming, so charismatic, so fiery, so sexy, that is was very enjoyable to sit through her seminars. Also, the sex scenes, and that one not-quite-a-sex-scene, were really HOT.

I think I just really liked that this book did something a bit different and broke a few of my rules along the way. I'm an atheist, for one, yet I still wasn't turned off by the talk of Judaism. For another thing-- facial hair. Kinda not my thing, sorry. I'm pretty sensitive to texture and that prickle is not for me. Still, hello Ethan, come prickle me you sexy hairy beast!

I told you I'm tired, right?

Anyway, read this one romance lovers. It's good.
Profile Image for Kat.
260 reviews79.2k followers
Shelved as 'will-not-finish'
January 10, 2022
rosie danan's debut was one of the books that pulled me throat-first into the pit of mild literary whoredom where i currently reside, so imagine my surprise that its companion (about a side character from the roommate that i liked BETTER than the two MCs combined) is doing next to nothing for me.

simply, i'm feeling v little chemistry between the mains (two hot people being hot does not a strong couple make), neither of them are talking to the other (in spite of teaching/listening to a lecture series on modern intimacy + dating etiquette week after week after week...like, hello??? take ur own advice), and there's no sex to speak of?? (usually not a dealbreaker for me, but danan's smut had me genuflecting before the 20% mark of her prior work, so forgive me for assuming this would be at least SLIGHTLy steamy).

i've realized i'm about to hit halfway here and i really don't feel like finishing this, only to give it a low rating, because i vibe with a lot of what the series brings to the table: the overtly sex positive messages, featuring characters who are/were sex workers and discussing their experience in the porn industry, incorporating convos about romance + religion (specifically judaism), i could go on. this just isn't hitting the way i thought it would (call it a failed experiment?) (i'll see myself out).

DNF @ 49%
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,041 reviews47.7k followers
May 23, 2022
dnf @50%

love the rep and the idea behind the story, but the execution was lacking. neither character was particularly endearing to me and the chemistry between the two just wasn't there.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,134 reviews39.4k followers
November 12, 2021
Drip! Drip! Drip! Sweat pouring from my head! It’s getting hotter here than Lut Desert!

The chemistry between Naomi and Ethan makes you sweaty, jumpy, yes you need to order more undergarments because your pants will be on fire when you read pages about their blooming intimacy experience and you will cross your fingers for their happy ending because you may have already suffered from broken heart when you’ve watched Fleabag’s last episode (logical but extremely bittersweet ending) and screamed “No! No!” , as sexy priest has been slowly walking away from the bus stop and their story reminded you of exactly the same dilemma!

This book is about a relationship between man of God and ex porn star/ new sex educator ! Hell yeah, it’s unconventional, juicy, scandalous, forbidden, taming, intriguing combination you want to devour urgently!

Thankfully our hero is a rabbi! So there’s nothing hold him back to date or form an ultra tempting relationship! Of course his work at stake when he decides to hire Naomi as a lecturer to his synagogue to speak about intimacy, sex, relations!

Of course some of ultra conservative or biased mind will protest this situation!
What happens if they come clean about their feelings and decide to date! Oh yes, this means their opposite worlds will collide: but when you love someone you learn to love him/ her completely! You can’t disregard his/ her past, mistakes, misdemeanors. You have to say “yes” to the whole package!

Will their love survive against those emotional struggles including displeasure of congregation, judgmental public opinions.

I honestly say: I loved both of the MCs a lot!
Naomi Grant is one of the badass characters who shielded herself with poisonous bitchy concoction but inside of this shield: there’s tender hearted, delicate Hannah who got hurt by narrow minded people, bullies. She can perfectly fight for own wars and literally kick asses! But when the cracks start to appear on her shield , she realizes she deserves to be loved and cared and she can find that unconditional love at the place she could never imagine and the person she would never think to become close!

From the beginning Ethan Cohen steals our heart ( he reminded me of young, blushing Hugh Grant from Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral : beautiful times before he played cheating narcissistic husband at Undoing)

He’s sweeter than ten layer chocolate cake (I shouldn’t skip the lunch before I start writing this review) He’s loyal, he’s patient, he’s supportive, he’s a true gentleman! He knows how he feels about Naomi and he’s not ashamed to express them! After reading about so many douchebag alphas, he’s the most adorable book boyfriend we yearned for!

I was planning to give four stars to this read but Naomi’s epic speech part at the last third and the author’s way of bold approaching the sensitive subjects such as belief, religion, grief, queerness, sexual awakening made me give extra half stars so I’m rounding up 4.5 to 5 hotter than habanero, steamy, sexy, intimate stars!

I couldn’t relate with Clara and Josh at first book but thankfully this book’s characters and their story hooked me up from the start! I loved them so much!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this amazing arc copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
620 reviews1,484 followers
April 6, 2021
A former porn star and a rabbi walk into a synagogue...

No punchline as this is basically the setup in The Intimacy Experiment, a rom-com with plenty of heat and depth.

Naomi Grant is a former porn star who has taken more control over her career. She now owns a business called Shameless, designed to provide sex education/sex positivity to any and all. Although she’s doing quite well for herself, she wants a platform to discuss her sex-positive advice live in front of an audience.

Ethan Cohen is a rabbi. Given all that his role requires, he doesn’t have time for love...or sex. His synagogue is seriously lacking in the attendee department, and he wants to do something to increase visitors before the board members close the doors for good.

Naomi and Ethan happen to meet, and he offers her the platform she desires: hosting a live lecture at his synagogue called “Modern Intimacy”...a deep look at dating, sexual desires, and more. Ethan thinks this is the perfect and unorthodox solution to increasing attendance at his services.

Although there are immediate sparks, neither of them initially realize how much their feelings for each other will (ahem) grow...and how (ahem) messy that might make things.

This is an unexpectedly original take on a rom-com, throwing in religion and sex and laughs and depth. I enjoyed getting to know Naomi, who is a badass businesswoman who secretly has a heart of gold, and Ethan, who is not as innocent as he appears. Their chemistry is palpable from the start, but I thought it was innocent enough...

...until it wasn’t. There is serious heat in this one! I’m talking hot, sweaty heat! 🔥

BUT let me be clear that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the book...or the fact that it’s a fun read! Those scenes are few and far between, but the chemistry is consistent. I also really appreciate how author Rosie Danan tackles themes of religion, differing backgrounds, self-hate, and fluid sexuality...but all with the tone of acceptance.

On top of that, there are some very poignant and inspiring quotes...one being: “Remember, each new day is another chance to heal your sorry, broken heart.”

I recommend this one to the folks that don’t mind blushing while they’re grinning, and want an original rom-com with some emotional punch! I almost shed a tear at one point. I’ll leave it to you to figure out if it was out of happiness or sadness.

Thank you to Berkley for sending me a widget for the ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on: 4/6/21.

Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,474 reviews19.2k followers
April 20, 2021
This was a tad bit long if I'm being honest, but it was still very fun and VERY sexy and I liked it a whole bunch! I definitely enjoyed this one even more than the first book and I'm very excited to read more from Rosie Danan in the future!!
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,386 reviews11.8k followers
April 6, 2021
2019 was a year of #hotpriest, 2021 should be a year of #hotrabbi. I am only kind of joking. Ish.

You know, I didn't really expect to be this much into a romance novel. You read the synopsis and tell me what you imagine will happen when a former porn-performer and a rabbi cross paths. Did you imagine it would be a touching story about faith and personal growth and kindness? Well, neither did I.

Let me preface this by saying I am an atheist. Religion is pretty much the last thing I want to read about in a romance, and yet, I might have liked this book even without a hot romance in it. You want to tell me about Judaism? Yes, please. Describe the inner works of a synagogue? I'm there. Present some lectures on modern intimacy? Tell me more. Insert some story about a Hebrew prayer into a date conversation? I am even down to have a little cry over it. Evidently. Who am I?

I just though Naomi's and Ethan's relationship was developed super well. Naomi is tough and jaded. Ethan - empathetic and kind. Also hot. Half of the book is them circling each other, ogling and growing respect for one another. At the half point, sexy things start to happen. Yeah, I was into it too.

I haven't been this much invested in a couple in a romance novel since The Kiss Quotient. This story is tender, thoughtful, sexy and often intellectually stimulating. Oo-er.

P.S. Probably would have been 5 stars if it had a couple more smut scenes and a crisper ending. Breakups before the final resolution are a hard thing to pull off.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,037 reviews3,556 followers
March 11, 2021
Are you ready for something new and different?
Here is the story of how the former porn star now turned sex education expert met the Rabbi! No typos here. That’s the premise! And as zany as that sounds...it was brilliantly done!

Naomi Grant former porn star, now co-CEO of a sex education start up, has been invited to hold a seminar series on modern intimacy. Well sure, that makes sense. She is an expert after all.💁🏻‍♀️. But maybe it’s the setting for this seminar that has Naomi off kilter. The invitation to speak is from none other than Rabbi Ethan Cohen of the local Los Angeles reform synagogue. Ok, well I don’t think any of us were expecting that!?

Rabbi Cohen is young, single, good looking, sexy (am I allowed to say that🤭?) and I’ll repeat...single! Naomi who is tough as nails and protects her heart may be in for more than she bargained for with our dear Rabbi when she agreed to hold the seminars.

Rosie Danan continuously pushes the boundaries in coming up with the most original rom coms. In her previous novel The Roommate she introduced us to Clara and Josh. The young naive socialite who falls heavy for the porn star. That was about as original a storyline that I’ve read in a long time. Until now...

In this latest release, we have her supporting character from The Roommate, Naomi Grant, taking the spotlight as she mingles with the local Rabbi.

Bravo Ms. Danan for always thinking outside the box! I love the originality and am looking forward to where you take these characters next. I can’t even imagine!🙈 But I know it’s going to be shocking and spectacular! And I will be the first in line🙋🏻‍♀️.

Posted to : https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,807 reviews458 followers
May 6, 2021
I was unprepared for this! My fault since I didn't read the blurb.

The couple is an unlikely pair: A rabbi and an ex-porn actress.

Ethan Cohen is the rabbi of a new congregation. Unfortunately, his census is very low and in order to keep the synagogue open, he needs to find a way to attract young people to it. He decides to hire a professional to do a seminar in intimacy.

Naomi Grant is a successful businesswoman. Her company is doing extremely well. Yet, she feels like she could do more. She knows about sex and she wants to be able to help couples. When Ethan offers her a chance to do live lectures, she wants to say no at first but her interest is piqued, and not only for the seminar but because of the rabbi too.

This was such an original romance. I didn't read the Roommate so I had no clue about Naomi. I ended up loving her and of course, who wouldn't love Ethan. They complemented each other so well.

I love when a novel keeps on making me smile and this one did the trick. The steam was just enough too.

I will find time and read the first book in this series. I think Josh and Clara sound awesome too.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for mina reads™️.
521 reviews6,583 followers
June 8, 2021
This was so good!!

The Intimacy Experiment follows Naomi Grant, famous pornstar turned sex educator, and Ethan Cohen, the rabbi of a synagogue in Los Angeles. While attending a convention for educators, Ethan offers to hire Naomi to teach a class for his congregation about "modern intimacy" as it relates to sex and dating in the digital age.

What follows is a fun witty romance full of mutual pining, sexual tension, and some really enlightening conversations about faith and religion. I really loved our protagonists, and Ethan especially was a very endearing love interest. He was just so earnest ,a little dorky and suprisingly sexy when he wanted to be.

Only thing I really disliked was Naomi's penchant for dramatic slightly emotional monologues in front of inappropriate audiences. It was very cringe inducing and the second hand embarassment was intense.

Overall this was a really sweet romance about learning to be vulnerable in love and dating and i really enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Lily Herman.
543 reviews565 followers
October 15, 2020
As soon as I finished reading Rosie Danan's debut The Roommate, I was like, "So help me GOD if Naomi doesn't get her own book..."

And not only did Rosie Danan bless us with this novel, but she made impenetrable (and apparently Jewish!) Naomi's love interest an adorable and sexy cinnamon roll rabbi. L'chaim indeed.

The Intimacy Experiment keeps up much of the tension we saw in The Roommate but with a more introspective and spiritual twist. Even if you're not Jewish or remotely religious, Danan does an excellent job walking the fine line of being thoughtful with the Jewish interludes but not preachy. There were a couple of sections where I wanted a little more of Ethan family, and the ending may seem a tad rushed for some people who don't love rom-com hijinks, but I really, really enjoyed this one. I have no choice but to stan.

And we need more Jewish protagonists and love interests all up in this genre!

Content warning: Mentions of death of a parent, misogyny, anti-sex work sentiments
Profile Image for Debra .
2,203 reviews34.9k followers
April 2, 2021
"Kol hat'chalot kashot" (All beginnings are difficult)

And some beginnings are hot as F***

Naomi Grant, a former porn star and businesswoman (has her own sex positive start up) meets Ethan Cohen (best last name ever), a former physics teacher and now rabbi of his own synagogue when he approaches her to host intimacy seminars in order to attract a younger crowd (or any crowd) to his dwindling shul.

Modern Intimacy is the name of their seminar and as the course progresses, the number of attendees increases as does the attraction and yearning of Naomi and Ethan. Some members of the synagogue board are going to love this idea; heck Ethan was hired because he is willing to think outside of the box and has nontraditional ways. But will this series of lectures make the other board members cringe due to the topic and lecturer?

Both characters are hot, likeable and intriguing. Both will steal your heart! Naomi is sexy, confident, and comes off as tough as nails and is not afraid to speak her mind, but has a softer side just waiting to come out. Just ask her friends, they all love her and her fierce devotion to them and her job. Ethan is open minded, loyal, competitive, supportive, and warm. He might change the way you think about rabbis.

Hot-to-trot and a whole lot of fun!

This one put a smile on my face. Not only the plot which had me grinning from ear to ear, but also hearing about parts of Los Angeles as I used to live there. I will even forgive the author for having Ethan’s mother getting bread from a Jewish bakery on Melrose. Excuse me, she should have been going to Diamond Bakery on Fairfax! Just saying. I also smiled seeing the JCC mentioned. Brought back memories of my son going to the preschool at the JCC on Olympic. It is always fun when a book take place where you live or used to live. But I digress....

This has a little bit of everything: likeable characters that you cannot help but adore and root for, an interesting group of supporting characters, angst, lust, romance, and of course passion. There are so many things that I loved about this book. The emphasis on intimacy yes, but I also loved the themes of vulnerability, open-mindedness, acceptance, respect, sexuality, religion, family, and relationships.

This book was a lot of fun that had me cheering for the characters and at times shaking my head at them. Although this is book two in the series, it works perfectly as a stand-alone. I did not read the first book and did not feel that I was missing out on anything at all. Now, I will be on the lookout for more books in the series. My fingers are crossed for Ethan's sister to get a book of her own. Just putting that out there!

4.5 Pure enjoyment stars

Hot, Sexy, and fun!

Thank you to Berkley Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com
Profile Image for Cait Jacobs (Caitsbooks).
302 reviews14.1k followers
May 31, 2021
It's official, I'm obsessed with this series.

I won't lie, I was a little nervous when I first heard the description (there are just so many ways it could go wrong with an author who didn't care enough) but I never should have been. I loved every single aspect of this book, the characters, their relationship, the discussions of religion, the sex-positive themes- it was all incredible.

This book is funny, swoon-worthy, and examines so many important topics. I cannot recommend it enough.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,048 reviews13.1k followers
May 26, 2021
3.5 stars
TW for loss of a parent

I gave The Roommate (book 1 in this series) two stars, so I didn't even know if I was going to pick this book up. I've been seeing better reviews for this book, though, so I decided to give it a try.

Naomi loves working for the sex-positive start-up she created with her friends. But she wants to start doing live lectures, which no one wants to have her for. That is, until Ethan, a young Rabi at a struggling synagogue, asks Naomi to lecture as some events to encourage younger people to join the synagogue. The more Naomi and Ethan are around each other, the more they start liking each other, even though they both think a relationship could never work between them. I really enjoyed Naomi's character and how passionate she was about being sex-positive and not judging people. She had a really bad experience happen in high school where a boyfriend shared personal pictures of her and she never wants to feel that way again. Her lectures were a lot of fun and I loved the conversations and how the lectures grew more popular.

I will say, the middle of this book did drag a bit. There were some scenes that were supposed to be cute and build their relationship, but I was losing interest. I wasn't obsessed with this romance, but it was cute. I did enjoy the end and loved Ethan's relationship with his mom and sister. While it wasn't an amazing romance that I couldn't stop reading, I did end up enjoying it much more than the first book!
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
April 12, 2021
Loved it! This was just such an amazing book! I’m just so excited about how refreshing the sex positivity in this story was. We meet Naomi in the previous book in the series, The Roommate. She is a well-known porn star, Josh’s ex-girlfriend, and eventually Claire’s business partner. This story picks up three years later Naomi has retired from the porn industry, she has gone back to school, and the business is a huge success. Naomi wants to teach sex positive sex education, but is having trouble finding a job. Enter Rabbi Ethan wanting to bring the younger crowd to the synagogue. He hires Naomi to teach a six week course on Modern Intimacy. When the Sparks start flying between Naomi and Ethan they decide to use the class syllabus as a dating blueprint. But not everyone is thrilled with the rabbi dating an ex porn star.

First of all how delightfully refreshing is the premise of this story? A rabbi as a lead in a romcom? Who would’ve thought? Love the Jewish representation. And Ethan is a great character. He’s a good guy who means well but he doesn’t always do or say the right thing. I thought Naomi was a great character after reading the previous book, but after reading this book I like her even more. She has so much spunk and spirit, and is so smart and savvy. She can also be very stubborn and that did frustrate me and Ethan at times. The two of them together have off the charts chemistry. There is some definite steam and sizzle in the story! Cannot wait to see what is next from Rosie Danan.

*** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for Alba and Her Secrets..♥.
799 reviews1,009 followers
April 6, 2021
4 'Tender' Stars!
ARC provided by the the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I am thoroughly and happily surprised with Rosie Danan and her second romance novel! While her debut The Roommate was a bit of mix of hit and miss for me, I have to say The Intimacy Experiment was so much better in all aspects. I didn’t have problems with the writing and I really connected with this unique couple. I mean, Rosie certainly went out of the typical romance stories bubble and she did it wonderfully with Naomi and Ethan’s love story.

The Intimacy Experiment is the second (and last?) installment in Rosie’s The Roommate series and it continues the story of the crew we met in the first one. Now it’s time for Naomi to find her happy ending. Naomi Grant is a former porn star turned sex educator who is having a bit of a difficult time finding someone interested in her live lectures. Enter Ethan Cohen, a young rabbi trying to save his synagogue. Their worlds collide when Ethan proposes a seminar series on Modern Intimacy to Naomi. And what starts as intimacy lessons turns into a connection filled with sexual tension and a whole array of emotions.

He was like a current. Powerful and fluid in ways that had nothing to do with wanting her but that pulled her in all the same.

I am always up for love stories that test boundaries and The Intimacy Experiment really surprised me on that and many other aspects. I was a bit sceptic starting this one because of the mixed feelings I had about The Roommate. However, as I saw myself completely engaged in the story and its couple, I literally could not stop reading! Naomi and Ethan are so different from each other, complete opposites almost but they work so well together. As they get to know each other better, it’s so clear they have a very special connection that cannot be stopped.

“Whatever it is, this thing between us, it won’t be easy.”
“Whatever it is, this thing between us,” he repeated, “I want it.”

Yes, it’s not an easy relationship to start, not when people are criticizing their differences and backgrounds but it’s still unstoppable. The chemistry and connection between these two was to die for. I mean, the sexual tension was fire and when they finally acted on it: double fire! And their feelings for each other… so sweet! I loved these two together and I am so glad they ended up finding their HEA.

Ethan wasn’t afraid of love. The problem was that love didn’t seem big enough, wide enough, for the way he felt about her.

Therefore, I am rating The Intimacy Experiment with 4 STARS because it was a great reading experience for me. Seeing these two opposites learning to love and get passed the obstacles between them, I was all over it from start to finish! Naomi and Ethan are definitely my favorite couple from Rosie Danan and I am sure many others will love their unique love story. I can’t wait to see what this author brings next!

Profile Image for Mara.
1,511 reviews3,674 followers
February 28, 2021
This was a delightful surprise of a contemporary romance. I thought this was so smart, so fresh, so sex positive - and I loved how it incorporated questions of how faith plays into today's world and as a relevant element of two people figuring out how to come together. The only thing that didn't totally hit for me in this was that the dialogue, while sharp, didn't feel very lived in to me. It read more like a script or a monologue that, while funny or touching, often took me out of the flow of the book. Still, I loved this book's point of view and I want to read more from this author 100%
Profile Image for Jacque.
546 reviews182 followers
April 9, 2021
this is really a 2.5⭐️ for me, but I'm rounding up bc the author's voice is engaging & I liked the characters. Also to preface: I'm really sorry but this is hella rant-y, largely bc I was so excited for this book and it really disappointed me. if you want to experience me noodling out exactly why this book bothered me, read on

I was pretty hyped for this book, and I’m bummed to say it didn’t live up to expectations. I mean it was cute, & it was funny, but ultimately I had some significant issues. Largely they all boil down to this— the pacing felt really off/forced to me, the characterization of Naomi felt changed from The Roommate to this book, the communication wasn't there, and I was just left wanting more.

The plotting/pacing issues are really well articulated by Jen Prokop in her review, so if you want to hear someone talk about it much more eloquently look there lol. For me, I definitly felt like there was an idea for the story & the characters were at the whim of this story, so there was a lot of time spent doing things that felt inessential to the romance? Like if if pressed, I'm not sure how well I could summarize this book bc I don't feel like the scenes were propelling the plot, they just kinda happened.

I feel like the thing that was the weirdest to me was how Naomi changed? Like, in book 1 she's Josh's ex girlfriend & partner w/ a lot of work stuff, and she's ~very clearly~ a sexual person based on the way she interacts with literally everyone on page, & also the fact that she has a threesome w/ Clara & Josh between books 1 & 2!! And tbh this is part of what I liked about her in the Roommate—she knew what she wanted, and she wasn't afraid to say it/make it happen. She was brazen, fearless. But then we get to this book, and for someone who was previously a sex worker & now runs a company all about pleasure, she seemed to have lost her mojo— Clara doesn't kiss Ethan until after 50%, and the literal ~only~ time they have sex is like at 70%. Which would totally make sense if there was an on-page reason for this— I mean IRL, if adults are not having sex, theres a very specific reason. Whether its because of religious beliefs, health reasons, if they’re asexual, etc. but in my experience people don’t abstain without reason. So for someone who's life was literally centered around sex and pleasure, she kinda felt sexless? Like Naomi doesn’t even masturbate! Her life is ~centered~ around pleasure, you're telling me she never masturbated while thinking about Ethan??? WHYYY is this not on page. And again, if that was the character she was written to be in book one, thats totally chill! Or even if she said on page that she wanted to take time to focus on rediscovering her faith, I would totally get that. But this sudden & unexplained change in her sexuality felt pretty out of left field, and I was disappointed. Which honestly reminds me of the biggest issue I had with the Roommate lol, bc yet again there was this extremely prudish heroine who was ~physically uncomfortable~ with anything remotely sexual, but theres no reason for that on page??

I also think as a book with the “spiritual leader x sex worker/otherwise less spiritual person” trope, The Intimacy Experiment didn’t quite have the tension I was expecting. I've read this trope a few times before & really loved it, and I think there’s a LOT of tension built into that premise. The books I’ve read that do this (I think I’ve read 3 or 4 now?) usually have things play out in one of two ways. Either 1) These ppl can’t fuck/be together but they ~really~ want to, so there’s this sort of “will they won’t they” tension that kind of feels like edging😂 The other way I’ve seen this trope play out is 2) These people can bang (and they probably do) but something in the past/present proves to be a major obstacle to any sort of long-term partnership, so the tension is “This was supposed to be just physical but now I’m catching feelings for this person that I cant have a future with.” This can get REALLY angsty, and a lot of the turmoil of “how long can i pretend this is just temporary, I really don’t want to end this but I have to” is really delicious. I think a book that does the latter really well is Hot Rabbi by Aviva Blakeman, and there’s a comparable conflict between the rabbi hero and his love interest, who (while not a sex worker) is a bisexual cis woman who has a difficult past and thus hasn’t really been practicing her faith for years. In this book, the pair has ~bananas~ chemistry from the get go, and if I recall correctly they end up getting together fairly early on in the book. However, author **really** clearly outlines the obstacles to their relationship, in a way that genuinely had me questioning how they would end up together. There’s a lot of internal processing & external dialogue that shows the work they go through to combat those obstacles and get that HEA🙌🏻

But in The Intimacy Experiment, I didn’t feel really any tension? The framing/promo/everything I’d heard about this book leading up to it’s release really leaned on the on the “she’s a sex worker & he’s a rabbi, what are the gonna do about their attraction???” so I was expecting there to be a propulsive force pulling them apart despite their intense attraction. But I never felt like there was much keeping them apart, at least in any way that had high stakes for either of them. Besides the Board of Directors being uncomfortable w/ Naomi and her past, everything really fell into place with Ethan & Naomi, albeit ~very~ slowly. I guess what I’m getting at is that I felt almost no actual conflict in this book. Like, they’re both into each other from the get-go, they’re just awkward and don’t know how to talk to each other so it takes them until about 60% to admit they’re into each other & kiss. Even when Ethan steps down from being Rabbi because he loves Naomi, it happened so quickly & was resolved so quickly that we didn’t see him grieving the loss and thus it didn’t feel like a big deal— it was said to be a big deal, but i never felt the weight of it? So the book is just a GIANT slow burn where the only substantial obstacle to their HEA is their inability to communicate & be honest with each other (or even themselves at times) and while that’s fine, it’s really not what the book was marketed as, and I was disappointed by the lack of conflict/tension. It just felt like there wasn’t much happening.

And speaking of communication, the way Ethan & Naomi ~barely~ talk honestly & openly to each other about their feelings/their relationship was kind of a bummer. I get it— that’s hard!! But I think in the romance genre, when verbal communication is lacking there’s often communication that happens through the evolution of their physical relationship that adds clarity and drives the narrative. But then that isn’t there either??? So these two just never communicate👀 And to my earlier point about no conflict besides their lack of communication, I think there’s a way you could make that work? Like if it was a deep internal conflict that like ATE at them of like “i really want to be with this person but I can’t, I really wish _____ wasn’t holding me back from being honest, I really want to say _____ but I can’t find the words” etc. But there’s so much page time spent doing other things— usually going over the Modern Intimacy class or adding cute “romcom” style shenanigans— that I never felt like we got DEEP into their heads.

I think ultimately it's a case of trying to be too many things at once? Like bc its pitched/framed as a romcom, I don't think we get deep enough into Naomi/Hannah's journey of returning to her faith so that story thread felt unfinished, and ultimately I felt like the lack of committal meant there wasn't significant emotional payoff. But there's still enough of that journey for the book to feel a little too weighty to be a true romcom? And "the spiritual leader falls for the sex worker/less spiritual one" trope really fell through for me bc I never felt like any tension whatsoever, and in literally every other iteration of this trope I've read, that's been a crucial piece (also not to be obnoxious with the qualifiers, but if there was ~any~ other substantial tension: sexual, occupation, emotional, literally anything else that either pulled these two together or forced them apart then it could've worked!! I just never felt any sort of intensity at allll in this book) It was clear the framing of the modern intimacy class was important to the story this author was trying to tell, but while I found that aspect interesting I think it really slowed down the story, and ultimately I felt like it was detrimental to the characters.

I really really wanted to like this book, but the more I think about it, the more I'm frustrated by how it fell short. It kinda felt like when you FINALLY bang that ~stunner~ you've been fantasizing about forever only to realize that (despite what i"m sure is their best effort) they're never gonna find your clit.

I received an arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,119 reviews1,336 followers
April 24, 2021

I wasn't sure it would be possible to like The Intimacy Experiment more than The Roommate but Rosie Danan proved me wrong. Naomi was my favorite secondary character in The Roommate and I couldn't wait to see Rosie Danan give her a happily ever after. I was even more intrigued when it was announced that her love interest would be a rabbi. In a lot of ways, this book was different than what I was anticipating based on the first book, but in a completely pleasant way. The character arcs and the love story that emerge were inspiring and lovely. Truly, this was a complete joy to read.

As I said, I went in loving Naomi. She's very guarded with her feelings, but she is fierce and unapologetic. Though this is very much a romance novel, The Intimacy Experiment feels like the story of Naomi, post her career in porn. She's built a successful sex-positive business and is now interested in teaching a series of seminars focusing on sex and intimacy (which BTW sounded incredible). In The Intimacy Experiment, she goes on an emotional journey, discovering more about herself and learning to work on her own vulnerabilities, all the while also reconnecting with her faith.

Now, I'm usually not one for religious themes of any kind in my books but the way that Judaism is interwoven in this book is so beautiful. It's actually quite touching to see Naomi grapple with it and it got me to reflect upon my own relationship with faith. I know sometimes it's a concern that books with religion can come across as preachy, but this is far from it. It's just a natural part of Naomi's character and her development. One thing I really appreciate about Naomi and the way she is characterized is that she is never ashamed of her sex worker background even if she has chosen to no longer be in the field. The book does a good job at empowering a sex worker without ever shaming the character, something that I personally think is very much needed in romance.

In a lot of ways, Ethan is the perfect companion to Naomi in her happily-ever-after. I knew I was going to crush on the guy hard, but oof, he snuck into my heart and just settled there from the very beginning. Naomi is a Scorpio like myself so I guess it makes sense that our tastes in men would match up. Anyways, Ethan! I could say so much about him, but I'll just highlight some of his best qualities. He is patient and so understanding. Rosie Danan writes him with this gentleness. He makes these small comments here and there in the book that had me swooning into a puddle. He's a pure soft boi and I loved him with all my heart!

The romance between the two is equally soft. It's very much of a slow-burn with Naomi and Ethan starting out as friends, but the chemistry continues to simmer in the background with every encounter. Naomi is guarded while Ethan wears his heart on his sleeve, so it takes a while for Naomi to completely give in to their attraction. When it does happen, it's satisfying beyond words! The romance is everything that I asked for and more. Naomi and Ethan have their fair share of obstacles that they have to overcome but they are all realistic and only serve to bring them closer together.

As you can tell, I really liked The Intimacy Experiment and it's going to be one of those books that stays with me for a long time. I know a lot of people are eagerly anticipating Naomi's story after liking her in The Roommate and I personally think Rosie Danan did her justice.

CWs: anti-semitism, slut-shaming

Relationship disclosure: Rosie Danan & I are mutuals on social media.
Profile Image for alluringB.
240 reviews136 followers
September 20, 2021
REALLY wanted to like this more than the first book but damn there’s just something abt rosie danan’s writing that bores the shit out of me. it’s sad bc the premises for both of her books are bomb.com but the execution…
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
1,983 reviews3,307 followers
March 9, 2021
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and thought it was really an improvement on the first book in the series! The Intimacy Experiment follows Naomi, a porn star turned sex educator who now has an advanced degree and wants to teach, but no one will take her seriously. That is, until she meets Ethan, a young, attractive rabbi trying to attract a younger crowd to his slowly dying synagogue. And he wants to hire Naomi to teach a seminar on modern intimacy. But Naomi has spent years feeling rejection from her Jewish heritage and is terrified by the thought of stepping foot inside a synagogue.

This blend of characters and themes really worked for me. We have a prickly heroine learning how to be vulnerable and a nerdy, sweet, cinnamon roll of a hero who sees past her facade. All of which is like catnip for me. But I also loved the way this explores a more modern take on religion, suggesting a vision of what faith communities might be if they are able to become inclusive and loving. Not to mention really getting into the difference between sex and intimacy, not in a shaming way, but in a way that recognizes a physical relationship has different stakes when love and vulnerability are involved.

I thought the slow burn relationship between Naomi and Ethan was really beautiful and this book has a lot to say about modern relationships. Occasionally it does get a bit soapboxy and longwinded, using speeches and seminars as a way of delivering mini-essays. Honestly I didn't mind it all that much because I was into what she was trying to get across, but I could see that being more of a negative for some readers. Overall though, I had a great time with this and love the fresh take on romance we're getting from this author. I received an advance copy for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for book bruin.
1,090 reviews282 followers
April 10, 2021
After reading The Roommate, I was so excited to find out that Naomi would be getting her own book. I knew there was so much more to her than the no nonsense tough exterior, and The Intimacy Experiment did not disappoint! I truly loved this opposites attract, forced proximity, friends to lovers romance from start to finish!

Naomi and Ethan couldn't have been more different on paper, but that actually made them so perfect for one another. They complemented each other so well and knew just when to push and when to be a shoulder to lean on. I could honestly fill this entire review with how much I loved and admired each of them. Naomi with her fierceness, drive, and loyalty. Her character arc was one of the best I've read and I was rooting for her from the beginning. Ethan with his compassion, devotion, and optimism. Ethan was every cinnamon roll fantasy come to life and I loved the way that he loved Naomi. They are so wonderfully human and every misstep only endeared me to them more. It's definitely a slow burn between them, but I cannot stress how much the wait was worth it.


I really loved the Jewish representation as well as the discussion and introspection about Judaism. It never came across preachy to me and balanced the story very well. I highlighted so many passages and I loved how much this story made me feel and reflect. It was wonderful to see Josh and Clara too and get glimpses of their continued happily ever after. I also have a huge girl crush on Leah (Ethan's sister) and nearly died of laughter when she gave him dating advice and recommended that he avoid using biblical stories or science equations. I'm really hoping that this isn't the last time we see her. The Intimacy Experiment is truly a book not to be missed!

CW: revenge porn, slut shaming, antisemitism

*I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*
Profile Image for sil ♡ the book voyagers.
1,031 reviews2,553 followers
March 19, 2021
The Intimacy Experiment was everything I wanted and more. Rosie Danan knocked it out of the park with this one and I am sure many will enjoy this lovely and warm romance. It's like a big hug!!!! You need it in your life.

I'm pretty sure this one surpassed my love for The Roommate. I think people that didn't enjoy the first book a lot, could actually love this more? It's very different, has a very different vibe and story. Naomi and Ethan rocked my world. They're one of those couples who just fit together perfectly that you cannot see them with another person. I love the good slow burn and sexual tension they had throughout better part of the book. They surely made me wait but it was BEAUTIFUL.

"Ethan thought of Naomi, her throaty laugh and her long limbs and the way she'd sooner tear out her own heart than let someone else get at it."

I also really love seeing Clara and Josh back though we see more of Clara than Josh. Naomi and Clara's relationship is literally the best. I love how supportive they are of each other and how they're always there if the other one needs something. Business partner and besties for life.

Ethan oof Ethan is the cutest guy ever. He constantly blushes around Naomi and totally is in love with her since the first time he sees her. But as soon as he thinks of going for it, he starts to question if this would work, if Naomi deserves better, and a lot of more stuff, but I love that they constantly go for what they want even if at the end of the road there is pain. There aren't a lot of misunderstandings, more like they're both idiots who think the other one doesn't feel the same way so they start to create new plans to not get attached. It doesn't work obviously lol they're too far gone already.
Profile Image for Kelly • Kell of a Read.
404 reviews78 followers
October 29, 2021
1.5 ⭐️ I’m genuinely surprised I finished this. How can a book about a badass former porn star and a hunky adorable rabbi be SO boring?

I enjoyed Rosie Danan’s debut, The Roommate, so I was looking forward to this book. Naomi was so entertaining in The Roommate but it is almost as though she's a completely different person in The Intimacy Experiment. I understand that Naomi is going through a transitional period and working to discover who she is outside of porn, but it felt like all of her alluring spark and confidence from the last book were just… missing. She’s understandably vulnerable at times in this story, but it was more than that. The shift in her characterization was disappointing.

I did like Ethan’s character and I actually learned quite a bit about Judiasm which was unexpected but not unwelcome. I didn’t necessarily mind the heavy focus on religion but I also didn’t need so many details about absolutely every little thought Ethan had or two entire chapters about a church softball game. At times, this felt like a self-help book due to all the seminar lectures and Ethan’s internal dialogue. While this could have potentially been interesting and informative, the lectures breezed over any helpful dating advice and instead focused on mundane details like whether the podium had wheels or whatever thoughts Naomi had about Ethan's outfit that day. The entire book moved at a glacial pace and nothing exciting really ever happened. I mean, Naomi had some dirty thoughts about the gorgeous rabbi now and then but these two crazy kids don’t even smooch until the second half of the book. It was just an all around snooze fest and I found myself wishing there had been more focus on Naomi’s sex-positive startup or really anything other than daily life at the synagogue.

One thing I do appreciate about both The Roommate and The Intimacy Experiment is the sex positive and female pleasure focus. Sadly, I think there were too many missed opportunities with the plot and while the premise is certainly unique this was ultimately a bust.
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
1,996 reviews306 followers
April 11, 2021
The Intimacy Experiment
By Rosie Danan

This is my first Rosie Danan book and I am now a huge fan of her incredibly imaginative writing with characters I love reading about that are unconventional, fun, and simply exciting.

Naomi and Ethan are super hot hot hot!! These two are on fire and I just love this funny, sexy and oh so good and amazing romance that is giving me the hot flashes and really giving me life. Try putting a sex educator who was an ex-pornstar and now an amazing businesswoman alongside a hot young rabbi, and this is what you will get. An amazing story that is scandalous, juicy for sure, and nothing boring here.

As an Angeleno and living on the west side by Olympic and Fairfax as a teen brought a lot of great memories for me. Overall, just reading about Los Angeles as a setting made this read even the more fun for me.

This is a super fun read and don't miss this one especially for a really nice escape read or when you are feeling like reading something that will make you smile and laugh, do pick this one up. I say this is a great read to get you out of any reading slump. I Loved it! I am picking up the Roommate now coz I don't know how I missed that book.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,014 reviews1,051 followers
December 10, 2021
Definitely not your usual rom-com. These two characters are probably the oddest pair, even odder than Clara and Josh from the first book because here, former adult performer Naomi Grant falls for the rabii, Ethan Cohen and vice versa.

But just like the first book, The Intimacy Experiment is smartly written with layered plots and relevant themes that are very empowering. This is what I am appreciating about these new releases posing as rom-coms, they are not just about two people falling for each other. They are multilayered and socially significant. They make you lift your brows in question sometimes but will also have you nodding your head in agreement. There are, of course, intimate scenes but not as much as you'd expect from adult contemporaries with cartoony covers.
Profile Image for Monte Price.
603 reviews1,589 followers
December 3, 2022
More thoughts can be found in this reading vlog.

I've seen this book floating around, I knew what I was getting myself into and still never in a million years did I think that I'd be giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. I'm still a little gagged. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a well timed Miss Congeniality reference, even a couple of the steamy scenes had me a little impressed. It was cute and I'm happy that had this experience with these characters. No notes.
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