Announcing the second and final part of our collaborative series with Love + Radio.
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Host Anna Sale and the logos for Death, Sex & Money and WNYC Studios, all on a beige background.
It's July 1, and to celebrate, we have a second episode this week in your podcast feed. 

It's part two of our series with the podcast Love + Radio, all about how you're coping (and not) with the sudden lack of touch that's come with isolation. Today's episode is all about people who have been experiencing skin hunger while dealing with breakups that happened either right before or during social distancing. 

We are making our way through 2020...we are. I hope you are finding some small comforts to help you absorb and digest the barrage of uncertain and trying news. Around here, we've recently resorted to hot chocolate on rainy days and homemade lemonade popsicles on hot days, and you know, it helps!  

—Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team
This Week on Death, Sex & Money

A listener we're calling Elle went through a breakup a few minutes after 2020 began. Overall, she told me she's glad she wasn't in that relationship when the pandemic hit. But it did mean that she's had to figure out other ways to get touch—including "germ bonding" with another couple. For a listener we're calling Dennis, who separated from his wife of 37 years last fall, it hasn't been so simple. He'd started getting into contra dancing pre-pandemic—something that was really helping him get through his divorce. But the weekly dances shut down in March. "I think it's going to be the last thing to come back," he said. "And it's really sad."  

Plus, we hear from a listener whose relationship ended during quarantine, after a long-distance conversation about body hair and sextingListen here.

Your Stories: Skin Hunger
Our Skin Hunger series is resonating with many of you, including a listener named Nicole. She moved into a new apartment on her own right at the start of the pandemic. "As an introverted extrovert, I thought, 'Okay, well, sheltering in place can't be that bad,'" she wrote to us earlier this week. But as time went on, being alone became a lot harder:
"Going onto Zoom with pals who may not be totally focused in on the conversation, being distracted by their partners in the background, was actually quite horrible. Just the thought of them closing their computers and not being alone like I was, that that may have been my only interaction with anyone in three days or more, and them not being able to give their undivided attention felt completely devastating. It wasn't their fault, but it was such a crazy uncontrollable feeling I would get. Pure dread and sadness and loneliness. When it got warmer and I could finally bike around, I would go see some pals on their balcony and talk from the street and just seeing them stand close together made me cry. It was just these layers upon layers of things I had no coping mechanisms to deal with.

I've since been out a bit more but have been fairly strict with physical distancing. I don't think I can go much longer. I haven't been hugged for three months, or even touched, and it is really true—
everything is really amplified once you go out into the world. You also look at people who seem to not give a flying f- about the pandemic, just doing whatever they want as though nothing is happening. Parties in the parks, people gathering and clustering together. I went to practice a bit of baseball with about ten close friends and we all respected each other's boundaries, and my friend put on her mask and just let me know that she was ready to give me a hug whenever I felt ready. Then, a couple other friends saw her do this, and they all basically started lining up to hug me. It was really emotional and beautiful and I cried and cried. 

I really related to that woman speaking about how she had to ask her cousin to break quarantine. There comes a point where your mental health starts suffering more than the risk of dying from COVID, and it's a really serious fucked up moment to realize this. To put it bluntly, living alone right now, in a quarantine, is extremely fucked up. I am still not totally sure how to recover from it mentally. I know I will, but it'll take a lot of time."
—Nicole, 37, Montréal, Canada

Listen to This: Audio We Love

In the first episode of the new podcast Transcripts, the show addresses tensions in the trans community head on. While transgender people are gaining more and more visibility and support in the U.S., trans people of color still face housing insecurity, job insecurity, and rising levels of violence. Host and professor Myrl Beam and co-host Andrea Jenkins (who is also a member of the Minneapolis City Council, and the first Black openly trans woman elected to public office in the U.S.) talk candidly with trans activists and use rich archival tape to navigate that contradiction.

And our friends at Nancy released their final episode this week, and in it they look back at some favorite episodes, talk with and shout out team members past and present, and catch up with listeners who share how the show has helped them and what it's meant to them over the past three years. And if you're looking for more LGBTQ+ podcasts, they've made a very handy spreadsheet featuring over 150 podcasts. We love spreadsheets, and we hope you'll find some new favorites in here too.

"This podcast is informative and inspirational. I've found it to be a solid comfort during these very isolating days. Please, keep up the great work!"
—Jayne, Illinois

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