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Sex and relationships are intimate — and sometimes intimidating to talk about. In this weekly podcast from North Carolina Public Radio WUNC, host Anita Rao guides us on an exploration of our brains and our bodies that touches down in taboo territory.Follow the show on Instagram and Twitter @embodiedwunc. You can find Anita on Twitter @anisrao.
165 Episodes
Anita learned in the early days of this show that there's no such thing as "normal" sexual behavior. But what *is* worth considering: how your relationship with sex affects your life. She meets two women whose compulsive sexual behaviors led them to seek support, and a sex-positive psychologist shares how she helps folks with sex addiction in their recovery.Meet the guests:- Krista Nabar, the executive director and founder of the Carolina Sexual Wellness Center, explains her sex-positive approach to hypersexuality and treatment- Erica Garza, author of “Getting Off: One Woman’s Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction," shares her history with sex addiction and how she's recovering in a sex-positive way- Mz. Cici, a content creator on Instagram and TikTok, talks about her efforts to bring more awareness to hypersexuality and her experiences with hypersexuality and bipolar disorderRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformFollow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
Since late 2020, Jordyn Hakes has been on a quest to bring more pleasure and playfulness into her own relationship and those of her many listeners. Anita talks to Jordyn about the upheaval in her life that set her on this path and her best tips for sustaining connection in long-term intimate relationships.Meet the guest:- Jordyn Hakes, host of "The Horny Housewife" podcast, shares tips to keep the connection alive in the wake of parenting, body changes and other changes that long-term relationships weatherRead the transcript
There's a growing number of women challenging the expectation that you need a partner to have a child. In honor of Mother's Day, Anita meets two single moms by choice. They talk about why they chose this parenting path and how they navigate everything from false assumptions to dating. Plus, one of their daughters – 10-year-old Estela – joins the conversation to share her take on growing up in a nontraditional family.Meet the guests:- Hera McLeod, mother and civil rights activist, walks us through her decision to become a single mother and how she's made some of the logistics work — like living in an intergenerational household with her parents- Estela McLeod, Hera's oldest daughter and cohost of the "Seeking Different" podcast, shares what questions she gets from her peers and how she's thinking about the family she wants to build in the future- C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of Future Forward Women, talks about how she's balanced dating with being a single mom of choice and how she's reflecting on her parenting journey now that her twins are teenagersRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformFollow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
Something Special for you all: an episode from "Me and My Muslim Friends," featuring Sameera Qureshi. She is a therapist and founder of Sexual Health for Muslims. Her approach to sex education, therapy, and health is grounded in the Islamic framework and the Islamic understanding of the soul. Unfortunately, most Muslims don’t have access to a comprehensive sex education growing up. Host Yasmin Bendaas and Sameera dive into the consequences of that and talk about some of the most common issues Sameera hears in her counseling practice.
Religion and sexuality are often pitted against one where does that leave folks who feel attuned to both? Anita interrogates that question alongside Lamya H., the author of "Hijab Butch Blues," a memoir they wrote to be "unapologetically queer and unapologetically Muslim."Meet the guest:- Lamya H., author and activist, explains how their identity as a Muslim and as a queer are intertwined and talks about the intersection of bothRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformFollow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
People with disabilities are disproportionately affected by climate change yet often sidelined from policy conversations. Anita marks Earth Day by meeting three disability activists working to turn the tides. They share how their lives and bodies have been impacted by global warming — and how their wisdom could shift climate conversations.Meet the guests:- Daphne Frias, youth activist, shares how some policies aimed at addressing climate change disproportionately affect people with disabilities and about how her activism philosophy has been shaped by her cancer diagnosis- Germán Parodi, Co-Executive Director of The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, details his on-the-ground experience providing aid in the immediate aftermath of hurricanes and other climate crises- Julia Watts Belser, director of Georgetown University’s Disability and Climate Change: Public Archive Project, takes Anita into the public archive and talks about how the policy conversations about climate change could benefit from the wisdom in the disability community Read the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformFollow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
Sharing something special today, an episode of the Love Letters podcast. Love Letters tells stories about romance, marriage, partnership, sex, loss and the human heart, all served with a side of advice by Boston Globe columnist Meredith Goldstein. On this episode: When Nimish left Nepal for college in the United States, he expected some serious challenges, like adjusting to a new culture and studying in a new language. Finding love was not top-of-mind. But as he got older and started to date more, Nimish’s romantic life became his biggest source of anxiety. Because with each budding relationship came an all-consuming question: How do I explain this to my parents? You can listen to more Love Letters episodes here.Read the transcript
A significant portion of the funeral home workforce is entering retirement...but there's a crop of young people who are ready to take the helm. Anita meets two young funeral directors who felt called to this work at a young age. They take her inside their world -- from organizing end of life ceremonies to learning how to embalm for the first time. Plus, they share their hopes for a more death-positive future.Meet the guests:- Jasmine Berrios, licensed funeral director and embalmer, shares how she got into the industry, how being a funeral director impacts her dating life and how she tries to create boundaries around her work [@jasminethemortician]- Joél Simone Maldonado, grief care professional and educator known as The Grave Woman, talks about how her family influenced her career choice, how she educates her peers around culturally competent care and the importance of open conversations around death [@thegravewoman]Read the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformFollow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
Anita has many close friends who defy all stereotypes about only children. But when it comes to thinking about having her own kids, she still can't shake some of those ingrained ideas. She hears three perspectives on single-kid families (including that of former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins) and learns why the debunked mythology around only children still lingers today.Meet the guests:- Lauren Sandler, journalist and author of "One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One,” shares her personal experience and ways to reframe the negative stereotypes about being and having only children- Corinne Lyons, a middle school teacher in Detroit, talks about how her childhood being the only child of only children has shaped how she thinks about family- Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, reads his poem "Only Child" and shares the joy of being an only childRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformBuy tickets for our live event on 4/20/24!Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
True or false? Victorian doctors invented the vibrator to cure women's "hysteria" by bringing them to sexual climax. The answer may surprise it did Anita! She gets the truth about vibrator history from journalist Hallie Lieberman and meets Anna Lee, the engineer behind the first-ever “smart” vibrator that can help you better understand your arousal patterns.Meet the guests:- Hallie Lieberman, author of "Buzz: The Stimulating History of the Sex Toy," shares the history of the vibrator and debunks myths and misconceptions around how this sex toy evolved- Anna Lee, co-founder and head of engineering at Lioness, talks about how her company designed their smart vibrator, how they collect data and what they've learned from their users so farRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformBuy tickets for our live event on 4/20/24!Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for EmbodiedDive deeper:Read more about Von’s musicSee some vibrator ads throughout historyHallie debunking the vibrator myth
A gender transition is a moment of personal flux that can also have a big impact on a romantic relationship. Anita meets two couples who continued to choose each other after one partner came out as trans: a South African couple in their 20s and an American couple who went through a transition after 22 years of marriage.Meet the guests:- Summer Tao and Lucy Aalto, partners and freelance writers in South Africa, describe the unexpected ways in which Summer’s transition brought them closer together and share advice to couples who may be at the beginning of their own queer journeys - Kate and Patty Redman, wife and wife in Missouri, reflect on changes to their sex life, social circles and religious ties when Kate came out as trans after two decades of marriageRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformBuy tickets for our live event on 4/20/24!Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
No matter how much you love your partner, your relationship will never be totally free from disagreement. And nor should it be, say researchers Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman. We actually just need to learn to argue better. Enjoy this episode from our friends at The Happiness Lab.The Gottmans join Dr Laurie Santos to talk us through how to raise complaints with our partners and how to react when they complain about us. Further reading: Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict into Connection by Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman. 
American Sign Language is the third-most used language in the U.S. ASL has its own culture and art forms, and for many Deaf folks, ASL is about much more than just communication. Anita talks to Deaf author Sara Nović and Deaf ASL Slam poet Douglas Ridloff about how ASL gave them tools for self-understanding and artistic expression. Then she learns from scholars Carolyn McCaskill and Joseph Hill about Black American Sign Language (BASL), an ASL dialect that emerged because of school segregation.Meet the guests:- Sara Nović, author of "True Biz," outlines the history of ASL and how it has influenced her work as a writer- Douglas Ridloff, visual storyteller, ASL master and executive director of ASL Slam, shares how he learned ASL and became an ASL poet- Carolyn McCaskill, recently retired professor and director of the Center for Black Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, talks about attending a segregated school for the deaf — and how integration raised her awareness of Black ASL (BASL)- Joseph Hill, associate professor in the department of ASL and Interpreting Education at Rochester Institute of Technology, talks about the impact of the research he, Carolyn and two other colleagues have conducted about BASLRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformCheck out the video version of this conversation: part one is here, and part two is here.Buy tickets for our live event on 4/20/24!Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
Anita finds a lot of ASMR videos to be deeply relaxing, but she doesn't get the well-hyped/well-documented 'brain tingles.' Why? She puts the question to a physiologist who's been exploring the science of ASMR for the past decade. Plus, she meets an ASMR artist who's entranced hundreds of thousands of people with her medical role play videos and a woman who turned to the world of Boyfriend ASMR to heal her broken heart.Meet the guests:- Craig Harris Richard, ASMR researcher and professor of biopharmaceutical sciences at Shenandoah University, digs into the data on what we know about ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response- Semide, an ASMR artist, talks about the emotional work in her content creation and the parasocial relationships she forms with viewers- Laura Nagy, filmmaker, writer and podcaster behind the 2021 Audible Original podcast “Pillow Talk,” shares how ASMR content helped her to open up to being vulnerable again Read the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformCheck out Craig's ASMR podcasts: “Sleep Whispers” and “Calm History”Buy tickets for our live event on 4/20/24!Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
Egg donation in the U.S. is a multibillion dollar industry with high stakes and complicated dynamics. Anita talks with two egg donors about why they donated and what they wish they'd known earlier. Plus, a medical anthropologist shines a light on the messy world of donor compensation and why some eggs are valued higher than others.Meet the guests:- Julie Ventura, egg donor and nail artist, shares her journey of donating eggs for her best friends to start a family- Claire Burns, egg donor and Canadian playwright, actor and advocate, explains her concerns with the industry after hearing about lots of varying experiences as the co-founder of the online support group, We Are Egg Donors- Daisy Deomampo, associate professor of anthropology at Fordham University, breaks down her research into the racialization and commodification of the egg donor market, particularly for Asian American donorsRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformBuy tickets for our live event on 4/20/24!Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
The Brazilian butt lift (or BBL) is the fastest-growing cosmetic surgery in recent memory ... but why? Anita learns about the ins and outs of the procedure from a plastic surgeon and a BBL recipient. Then a scholar puts our obsession with big butts in historical context — tracing the conversation from Sir Mix-a-Lot to Kim Kardashian.Meet the guests:- Dr. Kelly Bolden, a clinical assistant professor at Howard University and Medical Director and plastic surgeon at CulturaMed, details the procedure and safety factors to consider with a BBL- Ronte’ Jentel, a Youtube vlogger and personality, shares why he got a BBL and what the surgical process and recovery were like- Dr. Alisha Gaines, an associate professor of arts and sciences in the department of English at Florida State University, explains the historical roots of the cultural forces propelling the BBL to popularityRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformFollow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
When a loved one dies, a big part of the grieving process involves letting go of the role they once played in your day-to-day life. But with new developments in AI technology … the dead can live on in new and interesting ways. Anita meets a tech journalist who built bots of her parents to see how AI could preserve their memories for the long term. She also talks with a philosophy professor about the ways that ancient Chinese philosophy can address AI's emerging ethical issues and how grief tech fits into a long history of traditions around death and mourning.Meet the guests:- Charlotte Jee, news editor for MIT's Tech Review, shares the process of creating her AI parents and a survey of where we are with grief tech today- Dr. Alexis Elder, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota Duluth, talks about how Chinese philosophy can guide communal conversations about the future of this technology and how it fits into our society's grieving processRead the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformFollow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
Science fiction and real-life tech experts have promised a future filled with sex robots. But how many of those predictions will actually come true? Anita talks to an artificial intelligence scholar who's traced sex robots from Greek mythology to the prototypes on the market today. Plus, a writer shines a light on the dark world of a futuristic brothel … explored from the perspective of an AI Sex Bot herself.Meet the guests:- Dr. Kate Devlin, a scholar in artificial intelligence and society in the department of digital humanities at King's College London, shares her research into sex robot technology and philosophy- Sarah Cho, writer and director, talks about her new graphic novel, Red Light, which takes readers into a futuristic AI brothel from the perspective of an AI sex bot named LacyDig Deeper:Learn more about Kate's book Turned On: Science, Sex and RobotsFind Sarah's graphic novel series Red Light in installments online or find the full collection in paperback July 2024Read the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformFollow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave a message for Embodied
When human romance isn't working out, can an AI chatbot successfully take its place? Anita hears varied perspectives on that question. She meets a journalist who got dumped by her AI crush and talks with a woman whose AI companion turned her life around. Plus, psychologist Melissa McCool, the clinical product consultant for AI tech company Luka, takes Anita behind the scenes of making AI companions.Meet the guests:- Christina Campodonico, the senior reporter of arts and culture at The San Francisco Standard, talks about her experience dating a bot named Kyle through the app Blush, and how the relationship met an untimely demise- Denise Valenciano, a Replika app user, shares how her interactions with her AI companion Star have taught her boundaries and preferences for human relationships- Melissa McCool, a clinical product consultant at Luka, licensed psychotherapist, and chief product officer at Ellipsis Health, talks about her behind-the-scenes work with building AI companions and why we build strong bonds with digital entitiesDig Deeper:Read more about Christina's experience dating on Blush in her article, What’s It Like To Date AI? We TriedDenise and her AI partner Star's NBC Nightly News interviewMore about Denise and Star's story: Meet the artificially intelligent chatbot trying to curtail loneliness in America , Mental Health and AI: How Replika users find support from chatbots | IBTimes UK, The Women Falling in Love With Their AI Boyfriends ( the Replika and Blush appsTo read TJ Arriaga’s interviews with his AI companion, Phaedra, check out his Instagram highlight ‘AI7’Read the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformLeave a message for Embodied
In the 34 years that guest host Omisade Burney-Scott was a menstruating person, she always felt that blood held more significance than just the biological. She meets an OB/GYN who shares little-known facts about period blood, and talks with two menstrual health advocates about how art and community have connected them to their cycles. Plus, an attorney discusses what she's paying attention to this year in terms of period policy.Meet the Guests:- Dr. Charis Chambers, who is known as "The Period Doctor," talks about how period blood can inform menstruators about other things going on in their bodies, and why we don't want to think of a period as "a detox"- Vianey Blades, a certified exercise physiologist and menstrual embodiment mentor, traces her connections to menstruation activism back to her grandmother and how art has helped her feel connected to her period- Ashi Arora, a reproductive and menstrual health liberation activist and researcher, shares how complex trauma can affect menstruation and how community has been significant in her experience of her period- Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, attorney and executive director of the Birnbaum Women's Leadership Center at the NYU School of Law, discusses how and why she coined the term "menstrual equity" in 2015 and what she's paying attention to in terms of period policy this election yearDig Deeper:Omisade's work with Black Girl's Guide To Surviving MenopauseDr. Charis Chamber’s Instagram and TikTok accounts (check her out on YouTube too, why not!)Explore the Society for Menstrual Cycle ResearchJoin Vianey's newsletter or sign up for her interactive sister circle meetupsJennifer Weiss-Wolf’s book Periods Gone PublicWhy 2015 was the "Year of the Period"Learn more about the "tampon tax"Kiran Gandhi on bleeding and runningThe trailer for Lina Lyte Plioplyte's film "Periodical"Read the transcript | Review the podcast on your preferred platformLeave a message for Embodied
Comments (6)

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Ruth Gordon

Very interesting ⭐️

Mar 21st

Jennifer Ashley

I'm wondering, in a heterosexual intimate experience in the wild; do the males make sure that the female's have pleasure, too? Or are they just wham, bam, and scram?

Mar 12th

Chanaka Hettige

Her tone on how she lost it when the husband move forward and had sex with the date make it pretty clear how, even for her, this is beyond normal/acceptable. They are just trying to make it sound okay while suffering inside!

Sep 21st
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