The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

17 August 2021

The Intimacy Experiment (The Roommate #2)

by Rosie Danan (Goodreads, Website, Twitter, Instagram)

Published on April 6, 2021 by Berkley

Genres: Romance, Contemporary

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.

Rosie Danan's debut novel The Roommate blew me away when I read it in late 2020. I remember going in blind with only the basic knowledge that the book is a close proximity friends-to-lovers romance and it was so unexpected but in a good way. I fell in love with Clara and Josh, but one character stood out the most and it was Josh’s best friend, Naomi, who takes center stage in The Intimacy Experiment. If you’ve read The Roommate, you would be aware of what Naomi does for a living. If not, you’d have to read the book to find out. 

The Intimacy Experiment follows Naomi’s life following the success of the sex-positive start-up that she runs with Clara and Josh. She’s ready to educate and provide seminars, but her career background is causing a bit of an issue. Enter Ethan Cohen, a rabbi looking to improve his synagogue’s patronage. He thinks Naomi is his only chance to help save his synagogue from closing down by conducting seminars on modern intimacy to appeal to the younger audience. 

“Maybe that’s why intimacy pairs so well with religion. The best we can do is show up and try to be worthy.”

I thought The Roommate was the best book Rosie Danan has written, but The Intimacy Experiment sure set the bar higher. The writing and dialogue are incredibly superb and the plot is amazingly unique, because who would have thunk a story plot that combines intimacy, sex, science, and religion. The characters are beautifully written; Naomi has just become one of my most favourite characters of all time and not just because of the bisexual representation. I’ve already enjoyed her character in The Roommate, but I love her more now. Naomi’s character is easy to describe as a BAMF who takes no shit; she’s all sass and snark, but deep down, she’s a vulnerable person who likes to keep people at arm’s length as an act of self-preservation. Ethan, the rabbi, is definitely an unexpected love interest but he’s such a charming and positive character and so easy to fall in love with. The romance between Ethan and Naomi is also well-written and their chemistry is just off-the-charts hot! Josh and Clara also make appearances in this book and I just love how Naomi and Clara’s friendship evolved greatly. As a sapphic, if Clara wasn’t with Josh and if Ethan didn’t exist, I’d have shipped Naomi and Clara together, hah! 

“You're bursting with potential; even the rusty, bleeding pieces of you.”

But there's so much more to The Intimacy Experiment than just the romance and the smut, of course. I absolutely appreciated the 'modern intimacy sessions' themselves; specifically the one that explored self-care. Naomi's words on how to love oneself in spite of their flaws had been incredibly refreshing and freeing and words that will surely resonate with me for a long time.

This book has definitely made its way to my all-time favourites list, alongside The Roommate. There’s so much brilliance to this novel and I can’t really put to words how much I enjoyed annotating the pages as I devoured every single page. Sure enough, this is a book that will stay close to my heart for many years to come. However, here are just some content warnings for you: anti-semitism and slut-shaming, so be warned and proceed with caution. Otherwise, The Intimacy Experience is a must-read, especially for all romance readers out there!