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Embodied Podcast

  • 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.