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

Gripped: The Passion For Pole Dancing

Anita walked away from her first pole dancing class slightly bruised ... but very intrigued. She talks with a veteran stripper about the history and politics of modern pole dancing and meets a pole sport athlete and studio owner who is trying to build an inclusive space for pole practitioners. Plus, a nonbinary pole dancer shares how their relationship with the pole has evolved alongside their gender identity.Meet the Guests: NatsHoney, a veteran stripper, pole artist, entrepreneur and mother talks about pole's roots in sex work and the ways pole fitness studios can appreciate rather than appropriate the work of strippers Paige Gabert, a pole dancer and the co-owner of Midwest Movement Collective in Grand Rapids, Michigan, discusses why she wanted to start who own studio and how pole has influenced other aspects of her life like motherhood Celeste Ziehl, a dancer and senior at Smith College, talks about coming out as nonbinary after starting pole dancing, and how they changed their relationship with pole to find gender euphoria in the movement Dig Deeper:Paige Gabert's studio, Midwest Movement Collective Advocacy organization Strippers United, where Nats is on the leadership boardAnita's pole lesson studio, Aradia Fitness TriangleRead the transcript | Review the podcastLeave a message for Embodied

Commodified: When 'Wellness' Makes Us Unwell (Revisited)

Anita has fallen down her fair share of wellness rabbit holes [including a certain alliterative family's beauty and shapewear brands...]. Wellness industry insider and journalist Rina Raphael shares how this $4 trillion industry misleads all of us, and 'Dope Black Social Worker' Kim Young gives us the wellness reframes we all need. Meet the guests: - Rina Raphael, author of "The Gospel of Wellness: Gyms, Gurus, Goop and the False Promise of Self-Care," shares how insidious wellness industry marketing can be - Kim Young, licensed clinical social worker known as the Dope Black Social Worker, explains how we can take charge of our own wellness ... without buying anything Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave us a message for an upcoming episode here!

Complicated: Healing from Complex PTSD

What happens when trauma occurs not as a single isolated event, but millions of smaller, ongoing incidents? Guest host Anisa Khalifa talks with an artist, psychotherapist and racial trauma expert about understanding complex post-traumatic stress disorder and the path to healing.Meet the Guests:- Fariha Róisín, a multidisciplinary artist and writer, talks about her journey to healing from complex trauma and why her newest book is titled "Survival Takes a Wild Imagination"- Dr. Karen Winkler, a nurse-psychotherapist with a doctorate in clinical psychology and long-time advocate for people living with chronic illness, discusses the link between complex PTSD and chronic illness and the need for trauma-informed medical care. Dr. Winkler is also a public health advocate in New York City- Dr. Monnica Williams, professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa and the Canada Research Chair in mental health disparities shares how racism can lead to complex trauma, and her strategies for treating racial traumaDig Deeper:Fariha's recent book of poetryOut of the Storm forum and website for discussions and support on having C-PTSDRacial Trauma & PTSD resourcesChronic Illness resourcesRead the transcript | Review the podcastLeave a message for Embodied

Traveled: The Lives Of Third Culture Kids

As a child of two immigrants, Anita has a tumultuous relationship with the question: "Where are you from?" So, too, do many third culture kids — people who spend a significant number of their developmental years living in places that are not their parents' homelands. She talks with two third culture kids — one 35 and one 12 — and their moms about growing up between cultures and how they've built identity and relationships along the way.Meet the Guests:- Rayla Heide, a senior narrative designer at Blizzard Entertainment, talks about establishing cultural identity as a third culture kid and the grief and joy involved in moving around in childhood- Madeleine Maceda Heide, an international school leader and modern elder as well as Rayla's mother, shares the advantages of being a third culture kid and the ways she helped their family feel at home wherever they lived- Phuong Tran, and international journalist and communications consultant for overseas non-profit organizations, talks about her and her son's recent move from Thailand to North Carolina, and what they gained and lost in making that transition- Kaden Tran, a middle school student, talks about why moving to the US didn't meet up with his expectations and how its impacted his friendshipsRead the transcript | Review the podcastLeave a message for Embodied

Adored: How Fandoms Build Community

Guest host Anisa Khalifa first became a fan in high school. She gets an explanation from a psychologist about how being in fandoms benefits mental health, and a journalist describes what role the internet has played in shaping fan culture. Plus, Anisa invites the co-hosts of her K-drama podcast to reflect on how fandom brought them together — and what it means to be a fan.Meet the guests:- Lynn Zubernis, a psychologist and professor at West Chester University, talks about what poises some people to become superfans more than others, and how being in a fandom can be mentally beneficial- Candice Lim, co-host of ICYMI, Slate's podcast about internet culture, talks about how different internet platforms shape fan communities, and the increasing ways that fandom and regular life are overlapping- Paroma Chakravarty and Saya, Anisa's co-hosts on the podcast Dramas over Flowers, share how the K-drama fandom bonded them together, and what responsibilities fans hold in their communitiesDig Deeper:Lynn's research and writing on fan psychologyThe ICYMI episode on this summer's hacking of AO3Read the transcript | Review the podcast

Masked: Coming Out As Autistic In Adulthood

Many autistic people assigned female at birth remain undiagnosed at 18, so what's it like to get an autism diagnosis in your adulthood? Anita meets two women whose paths to a diagnosis started on the internet. Plus a non-binary photographer shares how their late autism diagnosis has informed their marriage and sense of self.Meet the guests:- Irene Chon, neurodivergent creator and self-empowerment coach, talks about the challenge of getting assessed for autism as an adult and why working in customer service was kind of the perfect job for her as an autistic person- Kofi Robinson, a lawyer and TikTok creator, shares how her autistic traits coincide with the expectations for a good lawyer and how she makes solid friendships- Jenni Chapman, a queer and nonbinary photographer, draws parallels between coming out as queer and coming out as autistic, and how she's preparing to handle noise sensitivity as a parentDig Deeper:A 2022 study on autism and people assigned female at birthThe TikTok account that made Irene realize she was autisticJenni's podcast, The Queer Soul SpotlightRead the transcript | Review the podcast

Posed: Intimate Photography Goes Beyond Nudes (Revisited)

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 X and Instagram Leave us a message for an upcoming episode here! Dive deeper: - LaQuann's on Instagram - Shoog on Instagram - Trista on Instagram - Trista's essays on disability and sexuality

Seen: Living With The Schizophrenias

Meet the guests: - Esmé Weijun Wang, a writer, speaker and the author of "The Collected Schizophrenias," talks about navigating medical stigma and the ways that writing and performance have contributed to her understanding of schizophrenia - Christopher Grant, an artist and animator based in Canada, talks about how he uses drawing to process his moments of psychosis and what it's been like to share his story on TikTok and Instagram - Ashley Smith, an author and writer who runs the blog "Overcoming Schizophrenia," talks about being a parent with schizophrenia, and what conversations about mental health look like with her 11-year-old son Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave us a message for an upcoming episode here! Show Extras: A sampling of Esmé's essays: - "Perdition Days" - https://the-toast.net/2014/06/25/perdition-days-experiencing-psychosis/ - "On the Ward" - https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/esmewwang/psychiatric-hospital-inpatient-collected-schizophrenias Ashley's books: - https://overcomingschizophrenia.blogspot.com/p/book.html

Guided: Practicing Intimacy & Sex With A Surrogate

Anita first learned about surrogate partner therapy from the 2012 movie "The Sessions," and her curiosity was piqued. It's a widely misunderstood and stigmatized type of therapy work in which touch is a mechanism for healing. Two surrogate partners take her inside the day-to-day of their jobs, and a certified sex therapist shares why she hopes others in her industry will be more welcoming to the practice. Meet the guests: - Brian Gibney, a surrogate partner, educator and advocate, explains what makes surrogate partner therapy distinct and shares his experience in this work - Arianna Fernandez, surrogate partner and member of the International Professional Surrogates Association, talks about how her genderqueer identity impacts how they show up in the work - Deva Segal, a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist, breaks down her role in surrogate partner therapy and why she recently started incorporating this work into her practice Read the transcript | Review the podcast Follow Embodied on X and Instagram Leave us a message for an upcoming episode here!

Plucked: The Calm And Chaos Of A Hair-Pulling Disorder (Revisited)

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 poet and illustrator who 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 X and Instagram Leave us a message for an upcoming episode here! Dive deeper: - Self-Care Provider Directory for folks with BFRB - The TLC Foundation on Trich - Haruka's children's book "Fitting In"