Dying for Sex is a multi-platform project that addresses sex and illness. It takes a look at my parallel journeys through stage iv cancer and sexuality, the exploration of which has not only kept me life-facing but has been a tool in my integrating and loving my new body. Acts around sex have connected me to my body and to life.
Below are some of the projects I am working on to, at the very least, open up a dialogue about sexuality in the face of a terminal diagnosis. This has been a pivotal exploration for me and my hope is that I can make it safe for other people to look at and address this issue in their own lives.
In my experience, many people in the “death world” don’t talk about sex. Possibly for many reasons ranging from embarrassment to body denial. Scars, medication side effects, lack of information from doctors, all of these things make it challenging to want to connect to the body sexually. But being touched and finding intimacy through a diagnosis similar to mine can be powerful and vital.
Of course sex is not the only way to find intimacy, but it was my way. Intimacy with others as well as with myself.
Instagram: A visual tour of sexy selfies I have texted paired with honest statements about stage iv breast cancer. Taking a sexy selfie has been a way for me to create an alternate reality, in which I look healthy. It’s a tool that allows me to temporarily slip into that reality and distract myself from pain or illness. The response from the person I have texted is generally immediate and gratifying. Most of the men I text do not know I have cancer. The addition of the words is for this project and are never included in what I send.
Podcast: A discussion about illness and sex. Hosted by the talented Nikki Boyer, who also happens to be my best friend. The two of us get a little sad and a little silly talking about my health and some of the crazy sexcapades I’ve had over the past few years. Sending sexy selfies is just the tip of the iceberg. I have met and spoken to hundreds of men about their fantasies and fetishes, even acting some of them out. Meeting in that space can be intimate, creative and exhilarating. While the podcast is a light romp in some ways, there is hopefully something profound there that inspires a larger discussion.
Book: A memoir that talks about sex as a healing force in my life but that also tracks my shift from an emotionally heavy person into a much lighter one. My upbringing was challenging but probably no more so than it was for most people. It was when I was hit with the unique heaviness of a terminal diagnosis that I was freed from a lifelong depression and self loathing that had caused me to hide from the world for so long. I don’t consider this transformation a “gift of cancer” but rather a gift of my strength and resilience.
Feel free to contact me with questions or comments about any of the above: