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The 20 best sex, erotica, and relationship podcasts

Submitted by Mashable on May 14, 2022 - 5:00am

A woman wearing apple headphones sweats while wearing a tote

The inherently personal quality of audio makes podcasting one of the best formats for conversations around sex, relationships, and dating. In some cases, podcasts even offer free erotica, with audio porn specifically designed to get you off.

Admittedly, I might be the only weirdo who's horny for podcasts that aren't even about sex and relationships. But I'm certainly not alone in recognizing the podcasting medium as a uniquely intimate experience.

That's probably why sex and relationship advice has been a staple of radio for decades, with a select few making the transition from broadcast into podcasting. Podcasts have opened up new possibilities for auditory sex-positivity by offering more diversity in hosts and topics covered.

Many folks are still not comfortable with openly talking about sex IRL, or don't have lots of access to others who are. But podcasts fix the access problem while providing a digital buffer to ease you into discussing these taboo subjects with partners in real life. Tuning in to many of the podcasts on our list feels like just hanging out with very sexually wise and experienced friends. It also removes the pressure from listeners to actually participate by contributing their own personal stories.

Our list includes a diversity of perspectives, identities, and orientations that cover as much of the vast spectrum of human sexuality and intimacy as possible. If you live in a place dominated by cis, heterosexual, white male sex and dating culture, podcasting can be crucial role in expanding your understanding of what you're really into.

On top of all that, audio is just plain hot and a deeply underrated format for porn. Erotica podcasts tap into all the benefits of auditory porn, which can be much more welcoming to marginalized identities and bodies. Your imagination gets to dictate what you get off to, so you can cater to your exact wants, desires, preferences, kinks, etc.

Here's a comprehensive list that spans everything from interviews and advice to polished narrative explorations of intimacy to hot-and-heavy erotic storytelling. Regardless of how you identify or where you are in your sex and relationships journey, there's something for everyone to get into.

1. The Heart

What it is: Various forms of auditory narrative art exploring intimacy from all angles, especially the experiences of women and LGBTQ folks.

Why it's great: Audio artist Kaitlin Prest brings you in closer than any other host on this list. Covering all things intimacy from an achingly human perspective, each episode feels like falling asleep on your lover's chest, listening to the unique rhythm of their body. Often spotlighting LGBTQ and women's perspectives, the podcast features many guest hosts and formats spanning from poetry to fictional stories to personal essays. The Heart is a feat of auditory storytelling that journeys into every artery of human relationships, from romantic to family to friendship to our meta relationships with larger cultural issues. While the show took a couple years' break, it will be coming back with a brand new season in 2022. [Adapted from our Best Podcasts to Fall Asleep to roundup]

2. Whoreible Decisions

What it is: A hilarious, informal conversation between two friends getting into the down and dirty of all things racy.

Why it's great: We could listen to hosts Mandii B & WeezyWTF shoot the shit about literally anything. But in Whoreible Decisions, they grace us with all the very explicit details of their enviably adventurous sex and love lives. Like the WAP of podcasts, they are unapologetically bold and audacious. By leading by example and giving very legitimate advice with the help of special guests including doctors and porn stars, they open listeners up to parts of sex no one else dares talk about.

3. Embodied

What it is: Like Radiolab, but for sex.

Why it's great: A lot of the sex and relationship podcasts out there follow the conversational, interview, or call-in advice format. But Embodied stands out for bringing the polished structure and intellectual rigor of scripted public radio — like Radiolab — to the topics of sex and the bodies that have it. Host Anita Rao dives into topics like porn from unique angles, looking at things like its ethical concerns, lesser-known erotica formats, art projects inspired by porn, and even a conversation with her parents on whether they watch it. Embodied brings analytical journalism into the space without ever losing sight of the humanity at the core of any discussion around sex.

4. Dying for Sex

What it is: Two friends face the terminal cancer of one of them through a journey of unadulterated horniness.

Why it's great: Most people think sex and disease couldn't be more diametrically opposed to one another. But Dying for Sex is all about host Nikki Boyer's best friend Molly telling her story of wild sexual exploration after she was diagnosed with terminal Stage IV breast cancer. While mostly told through conversational retellings of said escapades, there are also reenacted journal entries and text exchanges — and even interviews with some of the people on the receiving end of her sexual journey. While this limited series ended back in 2020, it's a story full of life and love — which go hand-in-hand with the frank discussions around dealing with the realities of dying. [From our Best New Podcasts of 2020 roundup]

5. This Is Love

What it is: Expertly told and surprising stories of love, from human intimacy to far more abstract concepts of relationships and adoration.

Why it's great: Phoebe Judge's dulcet tones are probably best known for hosting Criminal, a true-crime interview podcast that tells unexpected and personal stories around criminality (which we covered in our Best True Crime Podcasts of All Time roundup). Judge takes a similar approach with This Is Love, unraveling the mysteries of strong connection by examining all the idiosyncratic forms it can take. She's one of the best storytellers in the game, covering everything from the more traditional stories of romantic hardship to a lifelong friendship sparked by a New York City woman's love for birds to the inhabitants of an Italian town that exclusively love ugly things.

6. The Turn On

What it is: Created explicitly for Black audiences, The Turn On uses literary erotica as a jumping-off point for discussions around getting off and sexual liberation.

Why it's great: When you're part of a marginalized group, discussions around your sexuality tend to get politicized, often at the cost of more personal conversations around individual experiences. The Turn On is a counter to that, with sex educator Erica Easter and author Kenrya Rankin leading raunchy but still approachable conversations around what gets them off as two Black women. Some episodes are more freeform interviews with experts on topics like kinks, toys, sex education, and sexual difficulties. But The Turn On's bread and butter is its unique structure: First, one host reads a piece of erotic literature, then the two talk about what they did or didn't like about it. It's a podcast designed to spark the sexual curiosity of Black audiences seeking satisfaction that's uninhibited by the white male gaze.

7. Modern Love

What it is: Audio reenactments and readings of the seminal New York Times sex and relationship column.

Why it's great: The Modern Love column in the New York Times features true stories of "love, loss, and redemption" and has become so popular that it has inspired both a podcast and an Amazon Prime show spin-off. The weekly podcast is simply a reading of their best stories, with regular performances from celebrities like Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, Angela Bassett, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Sterling K. Brown.

8. Death, Sex, & Money

What it is: An intimate interview show centered around people's personal stories dealing with all the most taboo topics you're not supposed to talk about.

Why it's great: As the title suggests, this WNYC podcast centers around openly talking about the most private parts of our lives. Host Anna Sale is a calming presence who dives into the most personal (often difficult) moments of a person's life with an incredible amount of compassion and delicacy. While it's not strictly relegated to relationships and sex, the two often come up as Sales interviews everyday people going through all the extraordinary experiences of this thing we call life.

9. Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel

What it is: Like being a fly on the wall of an intense couples therapy session.

Why it's great: Thanks to doctor-patient confidentiality and/or poor access to healthcare, we rarely get a glimpse into what therapy actually looks like. Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel allows listeners into that black box, as the renowned Belgian therapist counsels a different couple through a major conflict in their relationship, sometimes over multiple episodes. By digging into the specificity of each situation, Perel offers universal insights into managing all the complicating factors that come with love, from family to infidelity to religion.

10. Thirst Aid Kit

What it is: A wholesome pop culture podcast that analyzes depictions of romance, love, and heartthrobs.

Why it's great: While Thirst Aid Kit ended back in 2020, its backlog remains a beacon of love, light, and (of course) unquenchable thirst. Through in-depth discussions on romance in pop culture, hosts Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins dive into the bottomless pool of women's desires. While the conversation stays light and humorous, they also get to the heart of underlying issues surrounding representations of romance, from why it awakens our thirst to who it excludes. Adewunmi and Perkins create a beautiful space for normalizing the desire of women (particularly women of color), questioning social scripts while envisioning a world of healthier love with more unbridled passion. [Adapted from our Excellent Podcasts with Black Hosts roundup]

11. F**ks Given

What it is: Candid conversations about sex with two sex-positive women in film who interview a guest on their sexual history.

Why it's great: Florence Barkway and Reed Amber are best known for their Come Curious YouTube channel, focused on breaking stigmas and normalizing conversations around horniness. On their F**ks Given podcast, they bring their trademark British charm to audio, feeding their sexual curiosity through interviews with a variety of diverse guests, ranging from doctors to sex magic practitioners. Each episode is structured around three questions that dive into said guest's sexual past: 1) Their first fuck, 2) their best fuck, and 3) their worst fuck.

12. Erotic Audio

What it is: Short, 10-minute excerpts of audio erotica stories for women.

Why it's great: We here at Mashable love audio porn. But if you're not in a place where you can afford subscription-based audio erotica apps like Quinn or Dipsea, we highly recommend the short, free samples of sexy stories on Erotic Audio. They're geared toward women and couples, narrated by British actors, and often told from a first or second-person POV. However, be warned that these are roughly 10-minute excerpts best used to learn whether audio erotica works for you and what you specifically like. You'll have to go to Audiodesires website and pay for the full finish.

13. Inner Hoe Uprising

What it is: One of (if not the most) diverse sex and relationship weekly podcasts reclaiming sexual conversations for marginalized identities, orientations, and bodies.

Why it's great: It's impossible for a panel of hosts to represent the full spectrum of human sexuality in all its infinite forms, orientations, intersections, and preferences — but Inner Hoe Uprising gets the closest. Many sex and relationship podcasts, while inclusive in subject matter and guests, are still predominantly hosted by white, cis, heterosexual, monogamous women. But it's the explicit mission of Inner Hoe Uprising to embed as many different identities and experiences of sex and love into the show's foundation. At the top of each episode, all four queer Black hosts (or "hoes" as they prefer to say) start with an intro on how they identify.

Per a Salty World interview: "Sam is a 'Black, polyamorous, feminist hoe living in New York City;' Akua is a cisgender, heterosexual intersectional feminist who 'specializes in all things mental health and all things carefree Black girl'; Rebecca, a 'fat, Black pansexual whose life is a series of coincidences that somehow landed her here'; and Rob, a 'pansexual agender feminist with a fatty.'" Everyone can learn something vital through the topics covered, whether it's new relationship energy, hypersexuality, fatphobia, ethical non-monogamy, or the impacts of racism on sex and motherhood. The rapport is as hilarious as it is welcoming and well-researched, structured around segments like Bae of the Week, Self-Care Tip of the Week, and a listener advice section called Fuck Me, and Fuck You.

14. Sex With Emily

What it is: A longtime favorite interview and advice sex podcast hosted by sex therapist Emily Morse.

Why it's great: While the structure of this podcast is like many others, there's something especially comforting about Morse's approach. She's a great voice to have in your head whenever you encounter sexual difficulties or uncertainties in your real life, with advice that runs the gamut from medical expertise to astrology charts.

15. Dyking Out

What it is: Queer news and pop culture podcast centered on the perspectives of two lesbians.

Why it's great: Dyking Out is one of the podcasts that incorporates more news and pop culture elements, covering whatever the hosts feel intersects with queerness. Hosted by comedians Carolyn Bergier and Melody Kamali, Dyking Out does, as the name suggests, focus specifically on the views of women who love women. But there's plenty of diverse guests who bring other perspectives from across the queer spectrum.

16. Committed

What it is: A well-crafted narrative podcast that tells inspiring couples' stories.

Why it's great: Committed is great at what it does, but we suggest it with the caveat that it comes from a more traditional perspective on relationships that won't be for everyone. Stories of couples overcoming loss and hardship can hit right when you're in a place to hear them. But like seeing displays of affection from a loving couple in public, they can also feel sickeningly sweet to listen to at the wrong times. Regardless, host Jo Piazza does a great job taking you on each couple's journey, so it's definitely worth checking out — especially if you're feeling deprived of intimate connection because of the pandemic.

17. Bawdy Storytelling

What it is: "The Moth for pervs," as LA Weekly perfectly summed it up.

Why it's great: The Moth podcast popularized the format of storytellers (from amateurs to professionals) telling their nonfiction tales in front of a live audience. Then Bawdy Storytelling made it horny. With the appeal (but not the grossness) of the amateur porn category, real people are invited to perform stories of their sexual exploits in front of a crowd, and the results are as liberating as they are titillating. Some are hot, some are relatable, others are moving, and many are hilarious.

18. Fangasm

What it is: A home for smutty fanfiction readers.

Why it's great: Many fans of erotica today probably got their first taste through fanfiction, and Fangasm honors those humble, horny beginnings. While it's more of a comedy podcast than a true titillating audio erotica experience, it never fails to entertain. Each season, hosts Allie LeFevere, Lyndsay Rush, and Danny Chapman read some of the nuttiest NC-17 fics they can find from popular fandoms like Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones. It's a wild ride each week, with seasons spanning about 6 to 12 episodes.

19. Why Won't You Date Me? With Nicole Byer

If hanging out with Nicole Byer (comedian and host of Nailed It!) doesn't instantly get you to a better mental space, we don't know what will. Her podcast launched in 2020 focuses on her dating life alongside a rotating roster of hilarious guests. It's one of the best Just Vibing-style dating podcasts around. At the end of each episode, Byer asks said guest if they would date her. Our answer is YES GOD PLEASE YES! [Adapted from our Best New Podcasts of 2020]

20. Dear Sugars

Listen, not all of us are ready to have unfettered, unabashed discussions of sexuality. So if you're looking for more of a traditional or modest approach to talking about relationships, sexuality, and dating, then WBUR's classic Dear Sugars advice podcast is right for you. While the podcast stopped releasing new episodes back in 2018 and may feature some occasionally outdated thinking, its backlog features pretty pioneering mainstream radio discourse around everything from understanding sexual fantasies to dealing with weight in romantic relationships.

Honorable Mentions

UPDATE: May. 10, 2022, 2:03 p.m. EDT This article was originally published in May 2020, then updated in May 2022.