Everybody wants to be in love and nobody wants to talk about what it’s really like to find your way there — or what it’s really like once you fina,ly get there. Whether it’s petty arguments, existential crises, heartbreak or finding a new partner, love isn’t all fairy tales and couch cuddles. It’s real work to build a partnership.
We love the following sex and dating podcasts because they’re some of the few places that really explore the reality of relationships — the good, the bad and the painful and confusing. Whether it’s advice columns or real stories from folks in the trenches of heartbreak or falling in love, each of these relationship podcasts helps to illuminate what it means to be intimate with others and what it teaches us about ourselves.
1. Modern Love
If you’re a fan of The New York Times column by the same name on how people do — and do not — fall in love, you’ll love the Modern Love podcast too. They’re the columns you love narrated by voices you recognize.
2. Love Is Like a Plant
A podcast about dating, loneliness, love, breakups and making it work, Love Is Like a Plant explores the central question of how we make love grow.
3. I Do Podcast
Whether it’s learning to be more intimate, managing stress, handling the holidays or dealing with infidelity, the I Do Podcast discusses everything a married couple — or any couple in a long-term relationship — might face.
Ever wish you could get people to talk honestly about the issues in their relationship? Honey is the podcast for you. Actor and writer Julia Meltzer talks to couples about one of their recent arguments, whether it’s deep, uncomfortable or embarrassing. It’s a great way to feel less alone when you’re in a rough patch.
A lighthearted podcast, #SorryNotSorry is a podcast hosted by a married couple who play games and discuss silly topics and mundane ones, all with a wonderful respect for each other. It will make you want to strive for a kinder, more fun relationship with your partner.
6. Unqualified with Anna Faris
It might seem strange to get love advice from a celebrity, but Anna Faris does a remarkable job with Unqualified, getting celebrities to open up about their own relationship ups and downs and share some sage advice to listeners in need while also keeping it fun and lighthearted.
7. Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel
If you’ve ever considered couples therapy but didn’t bite the bullet, Where Should We Begin? could be a breakthrough. Esther Perel is best known for her controversial TED talks on infidelity. In this podcast, each episode is a one-time couples therapy session in which Perel helps the couple work through an issue.
8. Loveline with Amber Rose featuring Dr. Chris Donaghue
In addition to her talk show, Amber Rose hosts this weekly podcast where she and Dr. Chris Donaghue answer listener questions about men, women, sex, feminism and love.
9. The Heart
The Heart is more than a podcast; it’s an experience. Each episode is described by the hosts as “immersive performances and sound design that [make] you feel like you’ve walked into a magic dream world.” The stories about love, identity and sexuality are from a diverse group of of people, guided by the all-queer staff behind the scenes.
10. Dear Sugars
Dear Sugars isn’t just a relationships podcast; it’s a “how to live your life” podcast. With all the compassion of the original advice column, the Sugars read letters from people in all kinds of crises, including whether to get married or divorced and what it’s like to cheat — and be cheated on.
11. We Met at Acme
A bit more on the dating side than the relationship side, We Met at Acme approaches sex, relationships and finding a partnership that will work for you with humor and self-awareness. Plus, there’s talk of all the ways the apps/technology have changed courtship and a dash of astrology thrown in for fun.
A version of this story was published January 2018.
In an LDR that needs some TLC? Here’s some long distance intimacy tips we swear by: