Embodied Sex and relationships are intimate – and sometimes intimidating to talk about. Host Anita Rao guides us on an exploration of our brains and our bodies that touches down in taboo territory.


From North Carolina Public Radio

Sex and relationships are intimate – and sometimes intimidating to talk about. Host Anita Rao guides us on an exploration of our brains and our bodies that touches down in taboo territory.

Most Recent Episodes

Involved: A Front-Row Seat To Your Parent's Love Life

Anita has not lived with her parents since leaving for college. But during the pandemic, many Millennials and Gen Zers returned home. For some of them, especially those with unpartnered parents, this meant new and unexpected insights into their parents' love lives. Anita shares an episode of the podcast "Dating While Gray" that features conversations between parents and their adult kids about the ongoing search for a happily ever after. Adult children of single parents ... are they a source of emotional support and strength, or a disruptive influence in finding a "happily ever after"? We explore with guests including the millennial daughter of our ever-so-curious host. After two divorces, Gia's on the fence about getting back out there. Daughter Lauryn aims to help by sharing ideas and resources, including this podcast. Then there's gray dater Laura, whose partner seems less than enthusiastic about moving their relationship along. Are his grown kids the reason, or an excuse? Finally, DWG host Laura Stassi and her daughter compare notes on living together while exploring individual romantic pursuits. (How did that no-sleepovers pact turn out?) Read the transcript Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram

Posed: Intimate Photography Goes Beyond Nudes

Anita hasn't always loved getting her photo taken, but seeing herself through the artistic eye of a close friend and photographer has changed her perspective. She meets two intimate photographers who take her behind the scenes of their shoots and share their philosophies on capturing the erotic in an image. Plus, she talks with a model about her intimate work that explores disability and sexuality. Meet the guests: LaQuann Dawson, an artist and community organizer, shares his passion for documenting the Black, queer community through intimate photography and what it's been like to turn the lens on himself Shoog McDaniel, a queer, fat photographer and artist, describes the process of guiding others through intimate, mostly-nude shoots in nature and what it's like to witness them discover new ways of being in their bodies Trista Marie McGovern, a writer, photographer, speaker and model, talks about using intimate photography as a tool to explore the intersections of disability and sexuality Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram Dive deeper: LaQuann's on Instagram Shoog on Instagram Trista on Instagram Trista's essays on disability and sexuality

Plucked: The Calm and Chaos of A Hair-Pulling Disorder

Anita agrees to a suggestion posed by a listener: Explore why the hair-pulling disorder trichotillomania is so taboo. She talks with an artist who started pulling their hair more than two decades ago but only recently told her parents...after publishing part of their story in a national news outlet. A psychologist on the front-lines of studying trich treatment talks about the importance of acceptance; and a hairstylist with trich takes us into why her salon is a safe haven for other folks with hair loss. Meet the guests: Haruka Aoki, a writer and illustrator who recently published a comic about their trichotillomania journey in The Washington Post, shares what it was like to learn a term for the disorder later in life Dr. Suzanne Mouton-Odum, a licensed psychologist and board member for the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, describes her counseling work with folks who experience trich Dorin Azérad, a hair loss hairstylist, shares how her ongoing journey with trich shapes the services she offers to other folks with hair loss at her salon Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram Dive deeper: Self-Care Provider Directory for folks with BFRB The TLC Foundation on Trich Haruka's children's book "Fitting In"

Valued: Unpacking Your Money Baggage

Anita is getting married next year, which means she's been thinking a lot about money and what kind of spending aligns with her values. Turns out that her money behaviors (and yours) are shaped by experiences and beliefs that have accumulated since childhood. She talks with a financial therapist and a money coach about their work to help people better understand their money hang-ups and explores some unconventional ways to think about your money. Meet the guests: Steven M. Hughes, a financial therapist and money reiki practitioner, helps us go deep when we think about our relationship to money — and how that can help our relationships to each other Morgan Curtis, an organizer and money coach, explains how we can translate feelings of shame or guilt about money into tangible action that can help our communities Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram Dive deeper: Morgan's resource library Net worth calculator

Provided: A Gender-Inclusive Guide To Pelvic PT

The first time we did an episode about the pelvic floor, Anita learned that y'all needed that education just as much as she did. She revisits the topic with a focus on access for trans and gender nonconforming folks. Two providers reflect on the sexuality education that has informed their approaches to treatment, and a patient shares his experience navigating pelvic pain with providers who weren't always well-informed about treating trans patients. Meet the guests: Markus Harwood-Jones, an author and TikTok user under the name @markusbones, shares his experience with pelvic floor physical therapy Alex Papale, a pelvic health physical therapist and sex educator, talks about the barriers to pelvic PT for trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming folks Dr. Uchenna "UC" Ossai, a sex-positive pelvic health physical therapist and sexuality counselor, introduces ways that patients can advocate for themselves Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram

Carried: How Surrogacy Grows Families

Anita is well aware that bringing a new baby into the world is a lotttttt of work (even though she's never done it herself). But when she heard about friends and family members choosing surrogacy to build their families, she realized how little she knows about that process — and how many misconceptions exist. She talks to a three-time surrogate about why she chose this path. A father who has had a child via surrogacy details how his family navigated the process from a financial, legal and emotional perspective; and a sociologist zooms out to give the big picture of the surrogacy industry. Meet the guests: Eloise Drane, founder of Family Inceptions, talks about her experience as a three-time gestational surrogate. Family Inceptions is one of the only Black-owned surrogacy agencies in the country Brian McGunagle, founder of Westport Pride, shares his experience going through the surrogacy process with his husband to have their now-toddler son Heather Jacobson, professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Arlington, shares her ethnographic research on gestational surrogacy in the United States Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram Dive deeper: Surrogacy law map state-by-state Heather Jacobson's book "Labor of Love"

Disobeyed: Elissa Wall's Journey To Reclaim Her Body

After Anita watched the Netflix docuseries "Keep Sweet," it was on her mind for weeks. She sat down with Elissa Wall, one of the central figures in the series, to talk about growing up in an isolated, polygamist religious community in which everything was decided for her – from what she could wear to whom she would marry. Elissa talks about adjusting to life outside the FLDS Church, her process of healing after a traumatic childhood and her ongoing journey of embodiment. Meet the guest: Elissa Wall, speaker, advocate, mother and author, talks to Anita about her upbringing in the FLDS church, her forced marriage at the age of 14, and her ongoing journey to re-establish a relationship to her body after leaving the community. She is the author of the memoir "Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs." Please note that this episode contains references to religious trauma, pregnancy loss and sexual assault of a minor. Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram

Horrified: Joy, Memory & The Body In Black Horror

For most of guest host Omisade Burney-Scott's life, she was a reluctant viewer of horror films — squinting through her fingers long enough to get to the closing credits. In recent years, that trepidation has turned into thrill as she's watched the Black horror genre evolve. She talks with a filmmaker, director and horror scholar about how they see their own experiences reflected in the Black horror renaissance. Meet the guests: Lana Garland, writer, director, producer and curator of the Hayti Heritage Film Festival, reminisces about the Black horror films that left their mark on her and how the genre has evolved Dr. Kinitra Brooks, Leslie Endowed Chair in literary studies at Michigan State University, shares her own Black horror memories and examines key ingredients in the genre Bree Newsome Bass, artist, organizer and filmmaker, talks about the evolution of the genre both on and off camera Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram

Supported: The Stories Behind Our Bras

Anita pretty much stopped wearing bras in the pandemic, and she's likely not going back. But she knows that for many, a good bra is clutch for daily comfort. She traces the surprising history and technology of the brassiere with the inventor of the sports bra and an expert who consulted with the Army on their first-ever tactical bra. Then she meets two people whose bra stories bump up against how we define and redefine gender and social norms for ourselves and others. Meet the guests: Lisa Lindahl, an author and entrepreneur, tells the story behind the invention of the sports bra Jené Luciana Sena, a bra expert, author and host of the podcast "Visible Panty Lines," explains the technicalities of bra fit and shares her work collaborating with the Army on their first-ever tactical bra Destiny Liley, a freelance content creator, talks about the challenges of being a larger-chested person and her thoughts on bralessness Ren Gutierrez, a first-generation Latine advocate for queer and trans mental health, reflects on going through his bra collection in the weeks before getting top surgery Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram Dive deeper: The origins and evolution of the bra Behind the invention of the sports bra, via the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Secured: Health Data In A Post-Roe World

Anita has long taken a laissez-faire approach to digital security. But as she's learned (the hard way), just because she doesn't have something to hide, doesn't mean she has nothing to lose. She calls in experts, including an abortion doula and sex worker, to learn strategies for keeping personal information safe online. Meet the guests: Amanda Bennett, a project manager for Digital Defense Fund, walks us through the basics of digital security and shares practical tips Kestrel, an abortion doula and member of the Mountain Area Abortion Doula Collective, shares what they and their collective members do to protect themselves Dr. Olivia Snow, a sex worker and research fellow at UCLA's Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, talks about what we can learn from sex workers when it comes to digital security Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on Twitter and Instagram Dive deeper: How to keep your abortion private and secure, from the Digital Defense Fund A report tracking abortion criminalization Digital Security tools from the Electronic Frontier Foundation