Episodes

  • Philias: Cuckolding Is More Than Just Cheating

    "Cuck" is way more than an internet insult. In this episode of Taboo Science, we're stepping out and diving in to cuckolding, the real-life kink and lifestyle all about the thrill of your partner sleeping with someone else. Join us as we chat with clinical psychologist Dr. David Ley and popular cuckolding podcaster Venus Cuckoldress, who shed light on the psychological quirks and deep emotional connections in this often misunderstood practice. We're also breaking down how it all plays into the complicated dynamics of race, power, and gender. If you're curious to understand a taboo that's reshaping how some people view relationships and empowerment, give it a listen. Let's get into why cuckolding is having a major moment right now and what it could mean for you.

  • Philias: Why Pup Play Appeals to Grown Adults

    Fox News recoils at the idea of pup play—but we're looking closer. In this episode of Taboo Science, we dive into the fascinating subculture of humans who enjoy roleplaying as puppies. We'll explore the origins of this kink, from post-WWII leather culture to the rise of online pup communities, and learn what draws people to don a pup hood and bark. Kink researcher Dr. Liam Wignall and sex educator and pup play enthusiast Pup Amp share insights on the gear, the headspace, and the joys and challenges of being a pup. We also tackle the stigma and misconceptions surrounding this kink, and why it's important to approach it with an open mind. So, sit, stay, and listen up—this episode will satisfy your curiosity about the world of pup play, and maybe even inspire you to unleash your own inner puppy.

  • Philias: Furry Isn’t a Fetish (Most of the Time)

    The furry fandom gets a bad rap. But on this episode, we're digging beneath the stereotypes to uncover the truth about this misunderstood community. We'll chats with furry researcher Dr. Courtney Plante along with Riley Black, a science writer and a furry herself, to explore what the furry culture is really all about, from the artistry of fursuits to the appeal of fursonas. And yes, we'll go there—investigating whether being a furry is actually a fetish (spoiler alert: for most, it's not, but for the others, we'll explore why). So put your preconceptions aside and get ready to learn what makes the furry community so fascinating—and maybe even find yourself with an urge to join in the fun.

  • Philias: Why People Like BDSM (“It Was Like Taking Drugs”)

    Whips, chains, and... legal pads? In this episode of Taboo Science, we dive deep into the world of BDSM to explore its long history, the science behind subspace, the submissive rich guy stereotype, and why aftercare is essential for everyone (even vanilla folks!). With help from paraphilia researcher Dr. Christian Joyal, the Ask a Sub podcast's Lina Dune, and the Loving BDSM podcast's Kayla Lords and John Brownstone, we're debunking misconceptions and shedding light on the reality of safe, consensual BDSM practices. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just curious about the lifestyle, this episode is a must-listen. Hey, it's way better than Fifty Shades of Grey.

  • Philias: The Science of Kinks and Fetishes

    It's here! The premiere episode of Taboo Science's new miniseries "Philias": an exploration into the science of kinks and fetishes. In this 101 episode, we learn the difference between a kink, fetish, paraphilia, and paraphilic disorder; we'll take a tour of the many, many kinds of kink that exist; and we'll find out what scientists know about where these desires come from—and what they don't. With insights from renowned paraphilia researcher Christian Joyal and pornstar/internet celebrity/kink researcher Aella, we'll dismantle society's narrow definitions of "normal" sex and shed light on humanity's boundless sexual creativity. Whether you're a seasoned kinkster or you're just here for the science, this premiere is a salacious must-listen.

  • Attraction to Monsters (with Ella Gallego)

    Beauty and the Beast. Twilight. The Shape of Water. What do these stories have in common? Humans and monsters getting down and dirty. This episode explores the surprising psychology behind "monsterf*ckers" — people attracted to creatures like vampires, werewolves, and tentacled beasts. Hear from researcher Ella Gallego about her study on monstrous desire, which reveals how and why women and LGBTQ+ people are particularly entranced by these inhuman love interests. We’ll trace the history of monster erotica through the medieval church’s preoccupation with demon sex, the horny throughline of vampire movies, and the incredibly surprising history of tentacle porn. Bare your neck and put on your hottest swamp bikini: it’s time to discover the connection between monsters, sex, and our deepest desires.

  • Animal Testing (with Dr. Katherine Roe & Dr. Emily Trunnell)

    We've all heard the arguments against animal testing: it's cruel, it's unethical. But you may not know the dirty truth: it doesn't even work most of the time. This week on Taboo Science, we dive deep into the animal testing controversy. We talk to researchers Katherine Roe and Emily Trunnell from PETA’s Science Advancement and Outreach Division about unethical experiments and flawed disease models. While scientists all over the world still rely on animal data, new technology like organs on chips and AI models offer a lot of promise. Tune in to hear what’s being done to end animal testing—and whether that’s really the best path forward. 

  • IQ / Intelligence (with Dr. Steven Piantadosi)

    The IQ test is supposed to be a measure of human intelligence. But is it? Today, we're joined by UC Berkeley professor Dr. Steven Piantadosi to understand why the diversity of human intellect can't be captured by a single number. We'll explore the history of IQ, from its innocent beginnings in French schools to its dark role in the eugenics movement. We'll understand why IQ testing is fallible, thanks to rising scores, the effects of motivation, and cultural bias, and learn about a test in the 1970s that was designed to flip that bias upside down. Go full galaxy brain and tune in to hear why IQ isn't all it's cracked up to be.

  • Climate Anxiety (with Dr. Thomas Doherty)

    Avoiding climate news? Do thoughts of the apocalypse keep you up at night? Feeling guilty about unsustainable habits? With climate change becoming a stark reality, more and more of us are grappling with anxiety over our planet's environmental crisis. Today, environmental psychologist Thomas Doherty sheds light on the emerging field of climate-conscious therapy — a response to this very real mental health impact. He explains how therapists are equipping themselves to counsel those struggling with climate anxiety, and how people can restructure their 'pyramid of issues' to create healthier coping mechanisms that will help them navigate these challenging times. You’ll hear about the three-pronged mental health impact of climate change: the direct disaster effects, far-reaching social implications, and the indirect repercussions. You’ll also learn strategies to help you express your environmental values and narratives so you can feel more empowered to get out there and do something.

  • Remastered: Depression (with Dr. Gerard Sanacora)

    How much do we really know about depression? In this remastered episode, Gerard Sanacora, director of the Yale Depression Research Program and Co-director of the Yale Interventional Psychiatry Service, reveals that even doctors don't fully get the biological roots behind depression's mix of mental and physical woes. But that doesn't mean we don't have effective treatments — and those treatments are only getting better. For example, ketamine and psilocybin are being studied as unconventional treatments to reshape depressed brains. Tune in to learn how medicine moves forward in understanding this serious condition, even when the science isn't clear.