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Anita Rao

Host and Executive Editor, "Embodied"

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.

She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.

You can send Anita an e-mail at

  • Assumptions about narcissism, loneliness and selfishness in only children are largely that: assumptions. But there are experiences unique to being an only child — and parenting one.
  • 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.
  • Vibrators have been around since the 19th century. Before they were marketed primarily as sex toys, they were sold as general health devices … and now they’ve become a tool for sexual health research.
  • True or false? Victorian doctors invented the vibrator to cure women's "hysteria" by bringing them to sexual climax. The answer may surprise you ... as 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.
  • A gender transition means a lot of changes in a person's life — and a lot of changes for their romantic partner. Two couples share their experiences of staying together after one partner came out as trans.
  • 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.
  • American sign language is the third most commonly used language in the U.S., but for many Deaf folks, it's about so much more than communication. An author, a poet and two scholars share the history and culture of ASL.
  • 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.
  • If you’ve spent some time on TikTok or YouTube recently, you might have stumbled across ASMR content without even knowing it. From long acrylic nails tapping away on everyday objects to slow, soft whispers, ASMR content is a multifaceted and rapidly growing source of relaxation for millions. But what’s the science behind this brain-tingly phenomenon, and why do so many people love it?
  • 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.