Embodied Radio Show

Fridays at noon

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. Tune in on your radio dials Fridays at noon. And join the conversation on Twitter: @embodiedWUNC.

About Anita Rao

Anita Rao is an award-winning public radio journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied." She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. 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.

Follow her on Twitter @anisrao.

Meet The Team
Amanda Magnus, editor

Kaia Findlay, producer

Britney Spears, a blonde white woman wearing a black dress, smiling at the camera
Wikimedia Commons

You don’t have to love Britney Spears to have heard her story. She was the shiny celebrity with hits like “...Baby One More Time” and “Toxic” that have now become classics. And then she was the woman whose love life, family dynamics and run-ins with the paparazzi were blasted across celebrity magazines. Now, the recent New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” reveals how the same media and cultural forces that brought her to fame tore her apart.

A group of people standing on dark concrete with their arms extended upwards
Debora Cartagena//Pixnio

How comfortable do you feel in gyms, fitness studios and exercise classes? With COVID-19 in our midst, we all may feel a little iffy about spending time indoors with people breathing hard — but what about even before the pandemic? 

In and outside of gyms, we get inundated with messaging about what we should look like and how physically fit we should be. This fitness culture tells us that unless we exercise a certain way and achieve a certain ideal — of thinness, whiteness and heteronormative gender presentation — we’re doing it wrong.

Courtesy of Monae Alvarado

When a judge locks someone up, it’s not just that one person serving a sentence. Families and loved ones suffer the punishment too. Despite the economic and emotional hardship of loving an incarcerated person, people still meet and court one another through prison walls. On this edition of Embodied, Sutina and Steven Green share how their relationship found root during Steven’s incarceration.

Multiple hands all interconnected in a circle

To anyone who thinks being in a relationship is easy: please share your secrets. Relationships take work, and we ask for trust, communication, commitment and fidelity from our partners. But we often understand those concepts based on a standard of monogamy — and that one-partner-fits-all model doesn’t work for everyone. 

Polyamorous relationships look as different as the people they involve. But they all take some learning and “unlearning” of our standard relationship structures.

A light blue background with a white toilet paper roll, white menstrual pad, and white tampons laying on it.
Tim Reckmann / Flickr / CC

When we start to talk about menstruation, a whole coded language emerges. Whether it’s the “visit from Aunt Flo,” “riding the crimson wave” or just “that time of the month,” it can be hard to talk openly and directly about periods. But digging out important information about menstrual health from beneath stigma and taboo is worth the effort, as each menstruating person experiences their cycle differently.

A woman in a red sleeveless shirt with black shorts lifitng a metal bar. The woman is seated and is straining her muscles in her arms and face
Mia Ives-Rublee

Not all of us identify as athletes. But we all have the ability to push our physical bodies beyond what our minds think possible. Host Anita Rao examines the meaning of human endurance through conversation with people who’ve taken themselves to the extreme.

Shruti Shah

Every family looks different. But if your parents are a different race than you are, your family can expect to get looks … and personal questions too. That’s because transracial adoption was rare, even controversial, until relatively recently. The number of transracial adoptions has increased in the past 50 years — particularly white parents adopting children of color.

Abundant psilocybin mushrooms growing in a tupperware inside a tidy home
Dana Saxon

The world of psychedelics is painted with neon colors and smiling, white hippies with long hair who use hallucinogenic substances for wild, recreational trips. But psychedelics like LSD, MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy) and psilocybin (also known as magic mushrooms) have a much richer history in their use as therapeutic medicines, which existed in Indigenous communities long before Western culture and medicine discovered them. 

Marc van der Chijs, Flickr, CC

If you’ve ever heard that nursing a baby comes “naturally,” we want to welcome you to the messy, painful, awkward truth: You sit so long to feed your child that your butt starts hurting. You feel like you need eight hands to keep everything together. You feel like you’re struggling. But you’re not alone.