An Intimate Life

  • by Cheryl Cohen-Greene
  • Narrated by Rebecca Gibel
  • 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Susie

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!

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- Cathy Weik

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-23-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios