Episodes

  • 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. […]

  • 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.

  • Menstruation (with Dr. Kate Clancy)

    Menstruation is so much more than a useless byproduct of the reproductive cycle — it's a dang biological miracle. With the help of Dr. Kate Clancy, a professor at the University of Illinois and author of Period: The Real Story of Menstruation, this episode dives deep into the misconceptions, stigmas, and hidden truths about menstruation. Uncover the true purpose of periods, debunk the idea of a 'normal' period, and explore how environmental factors and personal experiences can impact menstrual cycles. We touch on premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PCOS, and endometriosis, along with the stigma associated with menstrual blood and why efforts to give menstrual products to girls in the global South are misguided. Also, retrograde menstruation. You've been warned.

  • Makeup (with Ilise S. Carter)

    It's both a method of empowerment and a tool of control — but it sure is pretty! Today's episode delves into how makeup reflects and perpetuates society's conflicting views on femininity, with the help of historian Ilise S. Carter, author of The Red Menace: How Lipstick Changed the Face of American History. From its historical roots, like ancient Egyptian eyeliner and the opulent courtiers of Louis XIV, to the modern-day pressures women, POCs, and gender-nonconforming people face to adhere to impossible ideals, we uncover the dark side of makeup's impact. Hope you've got your no-makeup makeup on, 'cause this is one cute selfie we will not delete later.