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Death, Sex & Money


Death, Sex & Money is a podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation. Host Anna Sale talks to celebrities you've heard of—and to regular people you haven't—about the Big Stuff: relationships, money, family, work and making it all count while we're here. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, The Experiment, The New Yorker Radio Hour and many others.


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Death, Sex & Money is a podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation. Host Anna Sale talks to celebrities you've heard of—and to regular people you haven't—about the Big Stuff: relationships, money, family, work and making it all count while we're here. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, The Experiment, The New Yorker Radio Hour and many others.








Hold On: Should I Tell My Boss I’m Depressed?

We like to imagine that there’s a clear distinction between our work-selves and our non-work-selves. But the stressors that impact our mental health don’t really make that distinction. So, when our work is suffering because of our mental health, and our mental health is suffering because of work, who’s responsible for addressing that? In this final episode of Hold On, a national call-in show about our mental health, Anna talks to organizational psychologist Melissa Doman, author of Yes, You Can Talk About Mental Health at Work...Here's Why (And How To Do It Really Well), about how and when to address mental health issues in the workplace, and listeners call in with questions and stories.


Hold On: When Shame Keeps You From Therapy

Women are twice as likely to see a therapist than men, and, overall, white people are more likely to seek and find mental health treatment than other groups. In this episode of Hold On, our live national call-in series about mental health, we asked listeners to call in if the idea of getting therapy was something they felt excluded from, either because of how they were raised, what they looked like, or expectations around masculinity and what it means to be strong. Psychotherapist Dr. Avi Klein and Danielle Muñoz, director of Basic Needs at California State University, Long Beach, talked about their experiences helping people who were reluctant or nervous to get started.


Hold On: Let’s Talk About Psych Meds

According to a 2021 study, 1 in 5 American adults are taking medication to treat their mental health, that’s more than the number of people in any sort of talk therapy or counseling, which is about 1 in 10. In this episode of Hold On, a live national call-in about our mental health, Anna talked to sociologist Daniel Tadmon, and psychiatrist Dr. Kali Cyrus, about how the field of psychiatry is changing. Plus listeners call in about the drugs they’re on, the ones they’re trying to get off, and the prescription process. Plus, listeners call in about the drugs they’re on, the ones they’re trying to get off, and the prescription process.


Hold On: My Diagnosis, My Self

Getting a mental health diagnosis is a powerful thing. It can make you feel less alone, but it can also impact or alter your sense of identity. In this episode of Hold On, a live national call-in about our mental health, Anna talks to Dr. Craig Rodriguez-Seijas, Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Science at the University of Michigan, about his work studying bias in mental health diagnostics, particularly among LGBTQ+ individuals, and takes listener calls about how a diagnosis has shaped their sense of identity, for better or worse. Plus, Aneri Pattani, Senior Correspondent at Kaiser Health News, explains what investments the Biden administration is making toward mental health, and how soon we might see progress.


Hold On: How to Support our Teens' Mental Health

It's always hard to be a teenager. “There’s been plenty of times where it feels like my anxiety is happening above average,” a teen named Maisie in New Jersey shared. Anxiety, depression, and feelings of low self-esteem are common at that age, but what happens when a teen’s mood stays consistently low? And what should we do as parents and loved ones when the rates at which teens are reporting these feelings are higher than ever? Dr. Lisa Damour, author of the New York Times best-selling book, The Emotional Lives of Teenagers, joins Anna along with parents, teens, and young adults to talk about the mental health crisis facing teenagers, what parents and loved ones should look out for, and how to talk to teens about what’s on their minds.


Hold On: How Therapists See the Mental Health Crisis

One in five adults in the U.S. have sought out mental health care in the last year, and two in five report struggling with anxiety and depression. Many of us are struggling and overwhelmed, and don’t know how to get the support we need, or where to start looking for it. And mental health care providers are feeling it too. “I’ve been calling it a fever pitch,” Dr. Kali Cyrus, practicing community psychiatrist and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told Anna. We recently asked those of you that are mental health professionals to tell us what you’re hearing right now, and the extra work you’re doing. Listeners called in and joined Anna and Dr. Cyrus to share what current clients are worried about, the kinds of support newer clients need, and what they’re telling their clients right now. “Truthfully, I cannot do my job if my patients are hungry, if my patients are cold, if they do not have access to utilities,” a psychiatrist named Maria shared. And for those who are searching for care, there are also tips for finding a therapist. You can find resources for finding a therapist, navigating a mental health crisis, and more here.


Leaving the Extreme Right, and a Marriage, Behind

Tasha Adams followed the trial of her estranged husband closely. In November 2022, Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right group the Oath Keepers, was charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. “I just was pretty obsessed with the whole thing,” Tasha said about the trial, “the idea of seeing Stewart face consequences is so huge for me.” In this episode, Anna and Micah Loewinger, correspondent for On the Media, travel to Montana to talk to Tasha about her decades-long marriage with Stewart, from their courtship in a ballroom dance class in Las Vegas, to abuse and isolation as Stewart became transfixed on politics and apocalyptic ideas. Plus, Tasha sits down with Kelly Jones, ex-wife of far-right radio host Alex Jones, and they compare notes on their marriages, and reflect on their secret text exchanges from 2018, when Tasha was plotting her escape from Stewart with her six kids. Subscribe to On the Media to hear Micah's episode about testifying in the Stewart Rhodes criminal trial. That's out later this month. And for more, check out the podcast This is Uncomfortable from Marketplace. They did a series with Tasha Adams, and her oldest child Dakota, that dropped last fall.


The Voice of NYC's Subways Comes Out as Trans

If you’ve ever waited on a subway platform in New York City, you probably recognize Bernie Wagenblast’s voice — you know, the one that tells you when the next train will arrive. Bernie’s voice has been her calling card since she began working in broadcasting in her early 20s. But after coming out as a trans woman late last year, she’s been thinking a lot more about how and when she uses it. “I don't think there was one waking hour of my life from six years on that I didn't think about being a girl,” Bernie told Anna. “It was something that was always there.” This week, Bernie reflects on her career, the people who supported and affirmed her gender over the years, and what her life has looked like since coming out.


John Green on OCD, Writing, and Loving Middle-Age

*This episode originally aired in 2018, and contains a description of suicidal ideation. If you find yourself in a moment of crisis like John did and need to talk with someone, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 988. They're open 24/7—please ask for help. Writer John Green is a master at connecting with young people. His YA novels and the popular YouTube channel he runs with his younger brother, Hank, have created massive communities of teenage fans all over the world. But when he was growing up, John himself often felt isolated from his peers. Anxiety and obsessive thoughts plagued him, starting when he was a kid, and in his 20s, he was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. When John talked to Anna back in 2018, he told her about how he suffered a period of severe mental health crisis in his 20s, and then again in his adulthood after publishing his best-selling novel, The Fault in Our Stars. "It felt like there was a lot of attention on that story and, by proxy, on me," he told Anna. "And I had always wanted that, I always sought that out, but when it happened it was overwhelming at first." This week, John talks about getting healthy again after that period, and why he's learned that so many things about adulthood—including having comfortable shoes—are really great. John talked to us again back in 2021 about how he was managing his OCD in the first months of the coronavirus epidemic. John and his brother Hank also host three of their own podcasts, which were part of the WNYC Studios family from 2018-2020. Listen to Dear Hank and John, The Anthropocene Reviewed, and SciShow Tangents wherever you get your podcasts.


The Movies That Taught Us What Sex Could Be

The movies that we watch as we’re coming of age leave a mark, especially when it comes to sex. Some movies shape our fantasies, and others show us what’s possible. For example, Bull Durham was where our executive producer, Liliana Maria, learned that “sex could be something that a woman not only wanted but initiated.” In this week's episode, hosted by Liliana Maria, we share your stories about the movies that awakened you sexually – the scenes from movies like Purple Rain, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Dirty Dancing that you couldn’t help but replay over and over again – and the ones that have gotten more complicated over time.


Alice Wong On Medicaid, Rage, and “Good Care”

Growing up near Indianapolis in the '80s and '90s, Alice Wong was eager to leave. "I knew life was going to be so much better once I got into college," she said. Alice was raised in an immigrant household, and while there was a local Chinese-American community, she rarely saw people who looked like her in the mostly white community of disabled people she was also a part of. Back in 2020, Alice and Anna talked about how she learned to advocate for herself as a young adult, finding a community that felt like home, and managing finances on Medicaid. Since then, Alice has published a new memoir, Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life, and then, last summer, faced a medical emergency that left her without the ability to speak or eat. She recorded an update for us using a text-to-speech app. You can read more of Alice’s recent essays in Teen Vogue, for CNN, and on the Disability Visibility Project’s website.


Kate Bowler on Shame, Productivity, and Living with Chronic Pain

Kate Bowler has always worked extremely hard. As the daughter of two academics growing up in Canada, she preferred books to sports, and liked talking and thinking about the nuances of her faith. “I never really thought about my body very much in time and space,” Kate told Anna. But while starting her career as an academic, Kate’s relationship with her body changed. She was diagnosed with a joint laxity disorder in her 20s. And at 35, not long after having her son, Kate was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, changing her relationship to productivity and rest once again, which she also chronicled in her New York Times best selling memoir, Everything Happens For A Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved). Kate tells Anna about the shame of not living up to her own expectations, learning to let go, and what brings her joy.


How to Face Your Fears With Steve-O, Laurel Braitman, and Rev. angel

We asked you to tell us about the fears in your life that are holding you back. In this episode, we share your stories and questions with Steve-O, Laurel Braitman, and Rev. angel Kyodo williams. Each of them, in one way or another, had fear and bravery inform their work and their lives. They offer advice and insights on what’s worked for them, and what they’ve learned from navigating fear. Laurel Braitman is a writer, teacher and secular, clinical chaplain-in-training, who also has a PhD in the history and anthropology of science. She is the author of the NYT bestselling book Animal Madness: Inside Their Minds and the new memoir What Looks Like Bravery: An Epic Journey Through Loss to Love. Reverend angel Kyodo williams is a Zen priest, activist, and teacher. She’s the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace and Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation. Steve-O is best known for his extreme stunts on MTV’s Jackass. He’s also a stand-up comedian, and an author most recently of A Hard Kick in the Nuts: What I’ve Learned from a Lifetime of Terrible Decisions.


A Trans Parent’s Adoption Journey

Liam Lowery and Marisa Carroll met in college, just as Liam began transitioning. Liam had been crushing on Marisa for a while, and one day, he spotted her on the subway. They came to his stop. And he stayed on the train. That led to coffee, Facebook flirting, making out, and as Liam says, fantastic sex. Liam and Marisa got married in 2014, and right after that, we released an episode about their love story. Late last year, Anna got an email from Liam with an elated update that they are now parents. They worked with an agency to adopt their son Jude when he was a baby. Anna talks with them about this next chapter in their family’s story, and how they weighed sharing that Liam was trans in their story to introduce themselves to prospective birth parents, knowing that being totally honest could mean risking their chance of being picked. Update: We changed the title of this episode after publishing to be more accurate. It was initially called "Adopting As A Trans Couple."


My Sex Life Became A Screenshot. Then I Lost My Job.

Erick Adame was a TV weatherman for over 15 years. Then in September 2022, he was fired after his employer received photos from an anonymous sender of Erick performing sex acts on a webcam. Erick had been camming for many years, doing it for pleasure, not for money, and even though strangers were watching him, Erick thought of camming as part of his private sex life. In this episode, Anna and Erick talk about what led up to his firing, the lasting effects of shame, and how privacy changes when you're in the public eye. “I don't apologize for being sex positive," he said, "but basically what it comes to is, as a news person, I live under different rules. I don't think that's fair, but I think that we do.”


Introducing La Brega Season 2, the Puerto Rican Experience in Eight Songs

Today, in a short teaser episode, Anna talks to Alana Casanova-Burgess, who is the co-creator and host of La Brega, a dual-language podcast from WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios. Alana and her team of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians and artists at La Brega have just released their second season, which tells the story of the Puerto Rican experience through eight different songs. You can find the newest episodes of La Brega in both English and Spanish here.


How to Say Goodbye to Your Pets

Early this year, our host Anna had to euthanize her 13 year old Australian Shepherd, Jack. He’d been a part of many major milestones in her life, from meeting her husband, to having her kids, and more. But while the grief of losing a pet can be just as profound as losing human friends and loved ones, it can also feel like something you can’t share. So we asked you to share your stories of the pets you’ve loved and lost, and what grieving them has taught you about loss. Some of you also shared some resources for dealing with the loss of a pet. Here are a few of those suggestions: Sara recommended a TEDx talk by veterinarian Dr. Sarah Hoggan on the lingering impact of pet euthanasia. Looking for books to read? Margaret recommended “Good Grief” by E.B. Bartels, Flora shared “Lifetimes” by Bryan Mellonie, Sophia offered Mary Oliver’s book of poems “Dog Songs,” and for more poetry, Jeni suggested Lynne Schimdt’s “Dead Dog Poems”. A listener named David told us about the Jimmy Stewart interview on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson where Jimmy reads a tearjerker of a poem about his late dog, Beau. Watch it here. Aileen shared an episode of Encyclopodia podcast where Dr. Allison Bergin discussed end-of-life care for pets. A listener named Ali told us about Dr. Amanda Stronza (@amandastronza on Instagram), an anthropologist and conservationist who writes about her experiences with pet loss online And finally, another listener shared a CBS Sunday Morning story about Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Learn more about it here.


Your One Night Stand Stories, Revisited

*This episode originally ran in 2021. We just got through Valentine’s Day, our annual celebration of romance. Usually of the long-term sort...or if not long, at least, the sort where you’ve committed to be someone’s sweetheart. This week, we want to celebrate another important kind of romance: the very short term. The one night stand. Those moments in your life when someone appeared in a flash, you connected, and then, you went your separate ways. It may seem like these moments are destined to be forgettable, but the memories are powerful, as you told us when we asked you for your stories about one night stands.


Gabrielle Union Completes Herself

*This episode originally ran in 2017. When actor Gabrielle Union talked with Anna in front of a live audience back in 2017, she was about to turn 45 and had just released her first book of essays, We’re Going to Need More Wine. Since then, she’s turned 50, and she's written a second book, You Got Anything Stronger?, in addition to starring in the third season of “Truth Be Told” on Apple TV, and in a critically-acclaimed supporting role in the A24 movie, The Inspection. In their conversation, Gabrielle Union talks openly about her relationship with herself and her body, and how she’s worked on healing both after the traumas of her sexual assault as a 19-year-old and her fertility struggles within her marriage to Dwayne Wade. “I've never felt more whole and healed and connected and present and beautiful and powerful,” Gabrielle Union says.


Margo Price After Cheating and Drinking

When country musician Margo Price was two years old, her family lost the farm they had owned for generations. That big upheaval left her family with a deep sense of loss and shame—feelings that they largely swept under the rug. Margo, on the other hand, is forthright about the hardest moments of her life, writing candidly in both her song lyrics and in her new memoir Maybe We’ll Make It. Anna talks with Margo about the agony of losing a child days after their birth, rebuilding trust after her infidelity, and how quitting alcohol has been one of the hardest tests of her nearly 20 year relationship.