‘Dying For Sex’ counters a fight with breast cancer against an erotic odyssey

Society & Culture October 1, 2021
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Listen to ‘Dying For Sex’

“Dying For Sex” is a jaw-dropping podcast in so many ways. From the premise, to the diagnoses, to the sexual escapades. When Nikki Boyer’s best friend Molly is diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, she decides to do the things she never would have before. She leaves her unhappy marriage and embarks on a journey of discovery through sex.

We say jaw dropping because, even in writing, there’s no way to describe just how blunt and raw this story is. Nikki and Molly met in an acting class in 2000, and from the start, we get a strong sense of their personalities. Molly is straightforward, unconventional, and a true force to be reckoned with. And she and Nikki can laugh about anything: even her terminal illness.

Molly first felt a lump in her breast in 2005, but was told by her physician that there was no need to worry and she did not need a mammogram. The tumor continued to grow, though, and she was officially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. She actually beat the cancer that time, but it came back with a vengeance in her hip and her brain in 2015. And that’s when she decided to take control of her life and sexuality.

So, we say Molly was unconventional because, as Nikki puts it, most people who receive a terminal diagnosis look for stability from the people in their life: friends, family and partners. Also, the treatments and medications given to terminal cancer patients also drastically reduce libido. But not Molly. Her sex drive increased and she left her husband to embark on a sexual odyssey.

“Dying For Sex” is a a six-part podcast made up of two friends’ hilarious and tantalizing tales of Molly’s escapades. Between stories of fetishes, kinks, sexting, and strange hookups, the two talk about Molly using sex as a tool to understand life and death. She learns how to perfect the art of the selfie and also learns how to walk a runway at New York’s Fashion Week.

At the end of the first episode, they talk about the relation between death and sex, specifically sighting High Fidelity. Molly then says a quote that wraps up the entire podcast with a perfect little bow: “Sex is about life and creation, and it counters death in so many ways.”

Maybe this is a spoiler, but coming into “Dying For Sex,” we know how it ends. Molly was diagnosed with a terminal illness and passed from it in March 2019 at age 45. It’s a strange feeling, listening to a dead woman speak about life. It’s grim, but at the same time, comforting and gentle. Molly and Nikki are laugh-out-loud funny, and her wild stories are absurdly entertaining. It’s a complicated listening experience, but it’s well worth the gut-wrenching knowledge that Molly does not live to see the publishing of this podcast. But, Molly also wrote a memoir from her hospital bed during the final months of her life. And “Dying For Sex” is chronicling not only Molly’s life and legacy, but showing how there is not one right way to battle cancer.

Listen to ‘Dying For Sex’

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