At the most, Maria Falzone, a renowned standup comedian has two months to live. Since being diagnosed with terminal liver bile duct cancer in the summer of 2018, Falzone has been reflecting on her career of over 20 years as a comedian, a sexual educator, mother and the experiences that have shaped her life over her career.
In doing so, Falzone has been guest appearing on podcasts, speaking to media and even took some time out of her morning to speak to The Omega last Thursday on her legacy, what she’s learned and her wishes for the future of positive sexual conversation.
Falzone is the creator of a comedy and educational touring show called ‘Sex Rules’ that has visited post-secondary institutions around Canada and the U.S. for years. Her goal has been to reach out to students, parents, professors and anyone else to start healthy and active conversations on sex, STDs, sex workers and the LQBTQ2+ community.
In thinking back over her career, Falzone said that she has seen changes in conversations that she would have never believed would happen in her lifetime, such as a reduction in stigma around sex workers and the acceptance of individuals that identify as LGBTQ2+.
Falzone credited the #MeToo movement as a large inspiration for keeping her on a path of continuing to perform on the topics of sex and consent.
“There was a time I was going to quit, I was just so tired and overwhelmed and I went and did the show and then went out for dinner with the students and three of the four students disclosed that they were sexually molested. With the level of honesty and vulnerability at that table, I left that dinner said I got the message loud and clear. I can’t quit,” Falzone said.
Thinking about the future of sexual education, it is Falzone’s wish that sexual education is taken out of the classroom and back into the households of all families from day one of a child’s life.
Falzone advocated ongoing conversation and courage, sharing stories about raising her own daughter to ask questions and encouraging other parents to provide honest and correct information with their kids about sexual organs, consent and sexual health.
“The only thing that you can get wrong is not saying anything,” she said. “Parents have to be willing to make a mistake.”
At an adult age, the same is also true. Partners and those engaging in a sexual lifestyle also need to be able to communicate with one another about their desires, what their likes and dislikes are, when to say no and when to say yes. For Falzone, she believed that those issues were finally being taken care of with younger generations.
When asked if there was someone to take up her mantle as a sexual educator, Falzone replied with a maybe, but no one has come forward with her philosophy or approach, but encouraged all to keep communication open.
“Start talking to people and find opportunities to speak or write,” said Falzone to future advocates. “I’m just hoping that people are touched, moved or inspired. That they read these articles or listen to the podcast and do with it whatever they see necessary.”