Embodied Series

Sex and relationships are intimate – and sometimes intimidating – topics. Talking openly about our personal health often takes us into uncharted territory.

Embodied features candid conversations about topics like the science of pleasure and sex and the complex connection between our brains and our guts. In each episode, host Anita Rao explores diverse perspectives on sex, relationships and your health. The series airs weekly on WUNC’s The State of Things.

 

Wikimedia

Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, wrote “all diseases begin in the gut.” He continued the line with the famous advice: “let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine.” New research confirms Hippocrates’ thinking, showing the human gut does much more than just process food.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

When former schoolteacher Jane Whaley and her husband, Sam, founded Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, NC in 1979, no one could have imagined all that the institution would become: a religious movement with global impact; a community that provides housing and job opportunities to its congregation; and a cult dogged with allegations of physical, psychological and spiritual abuse

Graphic of a bed.
WikiHow

A solid eight hours can be hard to come by in our non-stop, tech-saturated world. But the modern science of sleep shows that shut-eye is just as critical as diet and exercise in shaping both mental and physical health.

Creative Commons / https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1019274

Many people learn the basics in sex education classes — how men and women procreate and how to avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections. However, the science of sex goes well beyond basic textbook diagrams. In recent decades, researchers have developed a deeper understanding of the interplay between our brains and our bodies and about the mechanics of sexual desire.

Amanda Magnus / WUNC

Compared to many other cultures around the world, Americans place a high value on cleanliness. But with the coronavirus now declared a global pandemic, we’ve all become hygiene-obsessed.

Ron Yorgason

Charly Lowry raises the hand-drum, strikes a heartbeat and begins reciting a song she wrote after leaving the comfort of her native community for college — “An existence so beautiful, so colorful/ deep rooted in originality/ eye-candy of shallow minds/ that was her reality, still/ she walks around with a smile/ for the whole wide world to see/ Inside’s ascreamin’/ Free yourself from strains of society.”

George Ruiz

Childbearing in the United States is more deadly than in any other developed nation. Despite medical advances over the last few decades, the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. continues to steadily increase.

Mikkey Girl / Disney

2.5 billion people around the world play video games. From Words With Friends to League of Legends, games are revolutionizing how we relate to one another. In many ways, gaming has become its own culture. But it might not be exactly what you'd expect. Most gamers play on their cellphones and nearly half are women. Most people playing video games are doing it with other people. And in response to hate-speech online and IRL, marginalized gamers are creating sanctuaries. On this edition of our Embodied series, host Anita Rao explores what gamers can teach us about socializing. 

Book cover reads: The Future of Feeling: Building Empathy in a Tech-Obsessed World.
Little A Publishing

Do you say please and thank you to your smart speaker? With each update, technology inches closer towards a greater understanding of the human condition. Empathy remains a trait exclusive to people, but that could change.

Animated hands with words like 'calm, friendly, curious, inviting, attentive' frame an animated image of a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Pixabay

 

Parents in the United States typically have very little institutional support when it comes to raising children. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees workers 12 weeks of parental leave — but that leave is unpaid.

Charlotte Jarvis

Semen is a potent substance, both literally and symbolically. It was described by Chinese proverb as “equal to ten drops of blood”; by Sumerians as “a divine substance,” given to humanity by the god of water; and by Aristotle as “the most perfect component of our food.”

Illustration of someone surrounded by life stressors.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

The World Health Organization now officially lists workplace burnout as an occupational syndrome in its International Classification of Diseases manual.

Illustration by Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

If you have ever been on a diet, you know the pure vulnerability of getting weighed at the doctor’s office. Standing on an old metal scale with your shoes off, you might avert your eyes, as if that would prevent the nurse from saying the number out loud as they write it down. But what if weight did not play such an active role in how you understood your health?

Embodied: Deconstructing Forgiveness

Nov 27, 2019
Adhiti Bandlamudi

 

‘Tis the season for good food, celebration, and gratitude. But between carving the turkey and passing the cranberry sauce, some families are still harboring hurt, anger and resentment from events past. In hopes of salvaging this year’s festivities, host Anita Rao is joined by a team of experts who deconstruct forgiveness: how to do it, and how the act may impact your health. 

Portrait of Cameron Dezen Hammon
Courtesy Cameron Dezen Hammon

From the time she was young, musician and writer Cameron Dezen Hammon craved a spiritual connection with the world around her.

Marsh in front of a gravestone and stone cross.
Courtesy of Tanya Marsh

October in American culture is decorated with death. But after Halloween, we put the fake skulls and tombstones back in the box in the attic, to be forgotten until next year’s celebration of the macabre. Tanya Marsh, however, pays homage to death all year long.

Photo of Nora McInerny with her hand up over one eye, with a hand-drawn crying eye on the back of her hand.
Courtesy of Nora McInerny

When something bad happens people often hear the same advice: “everything happens for a reason” or “time heals all wounds.” But Nora McInerny says that advice is useless and that grief is a chronic condition that you can’t just “get over.” She should know.

A baboon and Tung look at each other.
Susan Alberts

When the MacArthur Foundation notified Jenny Tung that she is a 2019 “genius grant” recipient, she was honored and humbled. The new mom has spent much of her career studying primates and how their early life impacts their overall health, life expectancy and even affects their offspring.

Managing Editor Anita Rao joined The State of Things as a producer in 2014. Since then, she has produced a wide range of conversations for the show and led the team’s efforts to broaden the program's scope and diversity of voices.

Courtesy of Dr. Chris Kelly

When did you last look up your symptoms online? Medical tomes and doctors visits were once necessary for diagnosis; now the internet makes medical knowledge — both amateur and professional — available to the masses.

An older couple holds hands.
Pxphere

The myths and realities of aging have created an industry rich with people offering a fix to stop or slow down the inevitable. Inevitably, the body changes and so too do relationships. On this episode of the series “Embodied: Sex, Relationships and Your Health,” The State of Things guest host Anita Rao explores the impact aging has on intimacy, and offers a decade by decade look at shifts in bodies, relationships and attitudes.  

Cartoon image of fertilization.
Flickr Creative Commons

Infertility is a disease that affects millions of people in the United States but is rarely discussed openly. Twelve percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 44 experienced infertility, along with just over nine percent of men in that age group, according to a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers translate to about one in eight couples who have trouble getting or staying pregnant. There are a variety of treatments for infertility, but they can be costly and are not accessible to everyone.

Edited image via Wikivisual/ Creative Commons

What do North Carolina students learn in school about the birds and the bees and what should they learn? At local school board meetings and at the state Capitol, parents, government officials and advocacy groups all vie for control over curriculum and funding.