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The Intimacy Experiment


The Intimacy Experiment

Fans of Rosie Danan’s steamy novel, THE ROOMMATE, will certainly remember Naomi Grant, one of its secondary characters. Naomi was the no-nonsense, tough-as-nails collaborator in the unlikely but highly successful sex-positive startup that Clara and her new boyfriend, Josh, founded. Now, in THE INTIMACY EXPERIMENT, Naomi gets her own love story --- and it’s probably not one that anyone was expecting, least of all Naomi herself.

Naomi has no shame about her former career in the adult film industry. Her success in this field made her who she is today and enabled her to find success in Shameless, the sex education website she founded with Clara and Josh. But Naomi has greater aspirations --- namely, bringing her expertise about sex and relationships to a classroom setting. Sadly, despite her education and training, no one will take her seriously, even at an education conference where she confronts the establishment. No one seems to listen to her well-informed points of view --- except Ethan Cohen, a young and attractive rabbi who invites her to present a series of seminars for his congregation about “modern intimacy.”

"Danan’s sexy, thoughtful novel breaks new ground in romance, and I for one am eager to see where this talented writer takes us next."

Ethan is a relatively newly minted rabbi, having recently returned to his Jewish faith after a career teaching high school science. The unexpected death of his father created a crisis of identity for Ethan, who found solace and direction in Jewish traditions and began to forge a new path for himself. He’s been hired by a struggling synagogue with an eye toward turning around their membership. But the pressure is on. If Ethan can’t attract a new, younger congregation within the next few months, the synagogue will fold, and he will be out of a job.

Naomi, who was raised Jewish but has become estranged from her faith, is at first reluctant to accept Ethan’s offer. However, as they start working together, the modern intimacy seminars really start to click, yet not as much as Naomi and Ethan themselves do. Their shared attraction is undeniable, but for either of them to move forward with a relationship, they need to shed some of the trauma of their pasts.

It's probably safe to say that readers will not have encountered a romance novel quite like THE INTIMACY EXPERIMENT before. It certainly has plenty of the juiciness of THE ROOMMATE, but it also has the added, and rather surprising, element of Naomi growing deeper in her Jewish faith and Ethan being challenged in his. Danan’s sexy, thoughtful novel breaks new ground in romance, and I for one am eager to see where this talented writer takes us next.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on April 30, 2021

The Intimacy Experiment
by Rosie Danan