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Best podcasts of the week: One woman’s quest to save our sex lives – with science

Best podcasts of the week: One woman’s quest to save our sex lives – with science

In this week’s newsletter: Sex educator Emily Nagoski is on an eight-part mission to inspire confidence and joy in Come As You Are. Plus: five podcasts to help you make a positive change

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Come As You Are delves into the science of sex and pleasure.

Picks of the week

The Evaporated
Widely available, episodes weekly from Monday

Jake Adelstein is one hell of a storyteller: TV drama Tokyo Vice (starting on BBC One this week) is based on the memoir about his time working as an American journalist reporting on Japan’s criminal underworld in the 90s. He continues to compel in this new series, which investigates the mysteries surrounding the 80,000 people reported missing in Japan every year, staring with the disappearance of his own accountant. Hollie Richardson

Come As You Are
Widely available, episodes weekly

Emily Nagoski knows a lot about the science of sex and she’s not afraid to share it. But it’s not all about the data; she’s keen to spread confidence, joy and pleasure, which is where this podcast begins. Why should you separate pleasure from sex? How can it make you feel alive? And what’s a “choregasm”? Hannah Verdier

Singer and artist Santigold hosts Noble Champions, a freeflowing interview show.

Noble Champions
Spotify, episodes weekly
Santigold’s “modern day salon” welcomes guests including Questlove, Mos Def and Idris Elba. Much is covered in the free-flowing chats, from the commodification of art, spirituality and the definition of Black music to forgetting to pick the kids up from school. Santigold (above) is a warm and smart interviewer and is always happy to let her guests spill. HV

Gloriously Unready
Widely available, all episodes out now
Counsellor Josephine Hughes found herself “gloriously unready” when both her daughters came out as transgender, unbeknown to each other. Hughes is brutally honest and endlessly wise as she tells their story, outlining the moments that many parents face with so much love and support that she can’t fail to help others in the same situation. HV

The Emerald Triangle
Widely available, episodes weekly
Crooked City’s new podcast drops listeners right in the middle of the action with a man who finds his friend’s body in the Emerald Triangle, northern California’s marijuana-rich, hippy oasis. Journalist Sam Anderson hits the trail in true-crime podcast style to find that one of his schoolmates is accused of the murder. HV

There’s a podcast for that

Cameron Diaz, who gave up Hollywood, is one guest on Second Life, about the women who made drastic career changes for the better.

This week, Charlie Lindlar chooses five of the best podcasts to help you make a positive life change, from a guide to living well alone to an interview show with women who nailed drastic career changes.

Journalist Francesca Specter’s podcast is all about understanding the “positive side of spending time alone”. The introverts among us may not need convincing of the importance of solitude, but reformed “extreme extrovert” Specter’s mission to help us make the most of it – she has a book by the same title – is a fascinating guide to an underexplored part of life. From the sterling debut episode with Alain de Botton to Felicity Cloake on the joy of solo dining, each week Specter simply interviews a guest on how they spend their alone time, and the revelations flow from there.

Second Life
A side project from Who What Wear’s Hillary Kerr, Second Life profiles prominent women who have made significant career changes, asking how they did it. Sure, we may not know much about pivoting from tech worker to media star like Aminatou Sow or giving up Hollywood for wellness like Cameron Diaz (or have much to say about life after fame as a teen reality star like The Hills’s Lauren Conrad), but there’s plenty to be inspired by in these women’s stories – and put into action to help write our own.

A Slight Change of Plans
How do you cope when massive change has instead been forced upon you? Flipping the script here is a show from prominent podcasting house Pushkin that teaches us how to respond to unexpected circumstances from divorce to bereavement to spending 140 days in captivity in North Korea. This show’s signature trait is combining personal stories with analysis from host Dr Maya Shankar, a behaviour expert by trade, on how and why humans react to change. Don’t just take our word for it: Slight Change was named Apple’s 2022’s best show of the year.

Help Me Be Me
“I think of it as self-help for people who hate self-help,” says creator Sarah May of Help Me Be Me, something of a practical toolkit for creating positive change. Refreshingly clear from the jump that she isn’t an expert, May carves out a niche in the crowded self-improvement space by delving into specific but concrete constructs that hold us back – our need for control, trouble setting boundaries with family – and reverse engineering practical solutions to overcome them. Not every episode will be relevant to you, but those that are will hit the spot.

Ways to Change the World
Keen to make a positive change not just to your own life, but those of others? Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s long-running podcast, centred on “big ideas” and solutions to global problems big and small, should offer all the inspiration you need to fight for a better world. Big names such as Ai Weiwei, Angela Davis and the Dalai Lama feature in the show’s varied archives. Guru-Murthy’s limitless range and earnest curiosity guarantee every episode is interrogating and usable, no matter the subject.

Why not try …

  • The second season of Cate Blanchett’s show profiling the groundbreaking solutions to the environmental crisis, Climate of Change.

  • Advice on how to navigate “the wild world of work” from author and journalist Anne Helen Petersen, in Work Appropriate.

  • Sci-fi thriller The Nox, starring Lashana Lynch as a scientist who finds more than they bargained for exploring the Arctic Circle.

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