When the United States Congress saw a problem — sex trafficking — it acted to eliminate it.
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Ira calls up his mother Shirley Glass after unexpectedly finding her quoted as a “sexpert” in Marie Claire magazine, back in 1996. One of the first stories we did on our show.
An inventor designs a robotic device that creates a dilemma for the administrators and judges of a major electronics trade show.
From the ages of 12 to 27, our producer Elna Baker was supposed to confess to male clergy anytime she did anything sexual. It was so routine for her that she barely thought to talk about it.
When Mariya Karimjee was little, members of her family made a decision that would affect her entire life. Years later, she wants to know why.
There's one group of people that is universally tarred and feathered in the United States and most of the world. We never hear from them, because they can't identify themselves without putting their livelihoods and reputations at risk.
Kurt Braunohler and his girlfriend had been together for thirteen years, and they were only 30. They wondered why they had never considered marriage, and realized that they needed to sleep with other people before they tied the knot.
Producer Jonathan Menjivar tells the story of John Smid, a gay man who did not want to be gay, and who tried to get other gay people to suppress their urges as well. Then...John changed.
In Malawi, in southeast Africa, not gossiping can be worse than gossiping. Sarah interviews a young Malawian woman named Hazel Namandingo, who explains that because so many people have HIV and AIDS in Malawi, they often rely on gossip to figure out who's safe to date or marry.
Ira Glass mentions a very silly mistake he made with a girl when he was in junior high. Then comedian Mike Birbiglia tells the story of his rocky foray into the world of making out with girls.
A short story, "Fatso," by Etgar Keret from his collection "The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God." A woman reveals to her boyfriend that she's not always what she seems, especially at night. Matt Malloy reads.
Ira talks with Jessica Pressler, who writes the Daily Intel blog for NewYork Magazine, about a phenomenon she noticed in the wedding notices in The New York Times. Couples were cheerfully telling—as part of their "meet cute" stories—how their relationships began with one of them cheating on a spouse or long-time partner.
From England, Ruby Wright has a story of an affair where—even years after it ended—it wasn't much discussed. Ruby Wright's radio show Ruby's Chicky Boil-Ups airs every other Sunday on Radionowhere.
Ira reviews some infidelity stats from his mother's book on the subject, Not Just Friends. And author James Braly tells a story of temptation at The Moth.
Act two showed us a moment before infidelity occurs. In this act, Dani Shapiro has a story about the confusing mess things can be during an affair.
Ian Brown of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on the normal struggle most people experience when they try to stay monogamous. Parts of Ian's story are excerpted from his book, Man Medium Rare.
Ira talks to the teen editors of Sex, Etc., a national magazine for teenagers, about the mistakes parents make when talking—or not talking—to their kids about sex. Then, the story of what happened when one anonymous mother learned that her daughter was having sex. All the names in this essay have been changed, and it's read on the air by producer Julie Snyder.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says that looking lustfully at a woman is like committing adultery in your heart. Contributor David Dickerson was raised as an evangelical Christian, and for many years tried not to have a single lustful thought.
Robyn Forest thought she'd gotten her big break when a magazine assigned her to write about a famous Japanese pop singer. Instead, Robyn ended up on Japanese television denying that she and the singer were having an affair.
Regular This American Life contributor Dan Savage, a syndicated sex columnist with possibly the filthiest mouth of anyone you could ever meet, finds a TV program so dirty, so weird, and so perverted that he won't let his son watch it—even though it's a kids' show, made for kids, and broadcast on a network for kids.
When David Wilcox was eighteen, he set about looking for an apartment in Houston. He had no credit and very little money, but he was determined to move away from home.
When Emily Helfgot was ten, her dad was a sex therapist on a call-in radio show, which thoroughly embarrassed her. He also kept a stack of Playboy magazines in their house, in plain sight.
A Christmas poem from David Rakoff, about holidays in The Big City. Rakoff's the author of, most recently, Half Empty.
Six-year-old DJ has two dads, Dan Savage and Terry Miller. DJ is being raised by two gay men, but he has a preschooler's understanding of what gay means.