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Publisher's Summary

For the past 40 years, Cheryl Cohen Greene has worked as a surrogate partner, helping clients to confront, consider, and ultimately accept their sexuality. In this riveting memoir, Cohen Greene shares some of her most moving cases, and also reveals her own sexual coming-of-age. Beginning with a rigid Catholic upbringing in the 1950s, where she was taught to think sex and sexual desires were unnatural and wrong, Cohen Greene struggled to reconcile her sexual identity.

As the 1960s presented social upheaval and the Sexual Revolution, Cohen Greene found herself drawn to alternative sexual paths, and ultimately achieved a rich and rewarding career as a surrogate partner. Sex surrogacy as a profession was first developed by noted sex researchers Masters and Johnson in the 1960s, and since its inception has remained in the shadows. An Intimate Life offers a candid look into the personal and professional life of a surrogate partner, examining the cultural and emotional ramifications of pursuing something most people do not immediately understand.

©2013 Cheryl Cohen-Greene (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • Susie
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 12-06-12

The Tender Memoir of a Sex Surrogate

This is the book that the film adaption, The Sessions, is based on, starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes, as her client who lives in an iron lung.

Cheryl Cohen Greene was the first well-known sex surrogate, a pioneer in the therapy field. What is a sex surrogate? Well, as Cheryl explains, unlike prostitutes, whom she has a great deal of respect for, sex surrogates are different--- they don't want your return business.

The first chapter takes you apart. Cheryl recounts her experience working as a professional sex therapist with Mark O'Brien, a man who’s been confined to an iron lung for the past 30 years. Those two and their Boston accents! Her patience and tenderness with him is so moving, the actual sex just feels like a tiny part of the overall intimacy.

Cheryl's memoir goes back and forth between her clients, her childhood, family, and her real romance on the side, not to mention her battle with cancer.

While the film based on her book, 'The Sessions' focuses mostly on her relationship with O'Brien, Intimate Life delves into a grand variety of the types of clients she had— everyone from 18 to 89 years old, all different situations, issues, and backgrounds.

Some chapters had me laughing, others were painful. It's a world that few people know about, and such a pleasure to read about it through Ms. Cohen-Greene's eyes.

This audiobook is an homage to her life's work as well.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wish I could have read this 20 years ago

Would you listen to An Intimate Life again? Why?

Yes, because it is engaging and has so much educational material in it along with relatable life experiences.

What other book might you compare An Intimate Life to and why?

None that I know of.

Did Rebecca Gibel do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I didn't enjoy her male voices but it was clear when she was transfering from Cheryl to anyone else.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes but I couldn't afford that much time in one sitting. I enjoy hearing it in segments too.

Any additional comments?

This book has opened me up to create yet a broader dialogue with my friends and clients about our so long buried conversations about our basic sexual human needs. Thank you Cheryl! I only wish I was young enough to enter into your profession to help so many as you have done!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

fantastic!!!

Would you listen to An Intimate Life again? Why?

This was so well done you'll remember every minute. Everything was great, the tone, the speed the writing and what an amazing story!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting .... at first

What would have made An Intimate Life better?

More biography. This whole book and every relationship in the book revolved around her sex life both professional and private. If the people in her life accepted her choices they were 'good' and attractive, if thy did not they were discounted and often described very unattractive which I found very telling. She is still searching for acceptance and validation. And while I am not opposed to the work she does in principal, there are many aspects that are troubling which could have been based on her personal approach vs. the profession itself.

Has An Intimate Life turned you off from other books in this genre?

Love Biography! This was just not one. More of a sex memoir

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from An Intimate Life?

I would have added scenes to make the book more well rounded. The only things we know about the parents were they wer catholic, hated sex and didn't want to talk about it. I am sure there is much more to them that helped shape her life.

Any additional comments?

While I did learn alot in the beginning of this book about the profession the rest left me angry and very dissapointed.

  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Judy
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 03-07-14

Interesting Audiobook

Would you listen to An Intimate Life again? Why?

Nope. I bought this audiobook because I wanted to understand more about surrogate partner as a profession. Although I am no saint, there were some parts where I found it difficult to understand the choices Cheryl made and weirdly enough, I found my self angry during parts of the audiobook.<br/>

What did you like best about this story?

The brutal honesty and how strong Cheryl was.

What about Rebecca Gibel’s performance did you like?

It was alright.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Cheryl and her mother mended their relationship.

Any additional comments?

Cheryl is amazing.