When GOOP’s first-ever sex issue landed in our inboxes on Monday evening, we were breathless with excitement imagining all manner of ancient foreplay rituals and chakra-aligning dildos Gwyneth Paltrow had in store for us.
Now, Paltrow is GOOP-ifying our sex lives with $15,000 vibrators, non-toxic lubricants, and lessons in tantric sex (it’s about “intimacy and energetic polarity rather than sexual technique and stamina”)—all bolstered by interviews with naturopaths and GP-approved specialists.
In the eight years since GOOP launched as a weekly newsletter, it has become both lifestyle website and brand extension of Paltrow herself—a space where she peddles holistic New Age therapies, magic superfoods, the “Clean” program, $3,000 designer coats, and her very own GOOP skincare line.
It is on this platform that she once declared, “I am fascinated by the growing science behind the energy of consciousness and its effects on matter,” adding that she’s a huge fan of “Dr. Emoto’s coffee table book on how negativity changes the structure of water.” (Dr. Masaru Emoto is a Japanese scientist, known for his works on the power of positive and negative words, according to another GOOP doctor, Habib Sadeghi.)
Welcome to the wonderful world of GOOP, where doctors publish their research in coffee table books.
While the website has a team of writers and editors, GOOP’s voice is Paltrow’s own: pretentious, self-absorbed, unironic, credulous, and (misguidedly) authoritative, often with input from the site’s resident quack doctors. But you have to hand it to GP for being so unapologetically, well, GOOP-y—despite persistent mockery from her critics, bless her heart.
GOOP has sold sex in modest doses over the years, whether in the form of aphrodisiacal “sex bark” chocolate and $60 Moon Pantry Sex Dust (now ubiquitous in Brooklyn gift shops), pretty lingerie, or “orgasmic meditation.”
Now in her early forties (and a new relationship), Paltrow has devoted an entire issue of GOOP to sex. Though some of it reads like a playful sex-toy guide, it still oozes GOOP’s signature hippie-dippie mawkishness, bougie merchandise, and mysticism.
Among the highlights from the gooey sex issue: a discursive essay about orgasms that references a 1969 article in the Vermont Freeman by Bernie Sanders; an elusive “new wearable out of Silicon Valley” that will enhance women’s libidos without drugs and is also “hands-free”; a Q&A with Damon Lawner, founder of the hideously spelled SNCTM, an exclusive “erotic theater” and “masqued black-tie dinner” that caters to beautiful women and fantastically wealthy men (penises must pay a membership fee ranging from $10,000-$50,000).
Lawner insists that this black-tie affair is not a sex club or swingers event, but an “opportunity to experience evenings of openness and sensuality that most only dream of.”
The Daily Beast’s Jen Yamato once wrangled a ticket for an orgiastic evening at the Holmby Hills mansion, where most SNCTM parties are held, and found that the deafening EDM soundtrack and prohibitively pricey cocktails were not entirely conducive to “embarking on a probing personal voyage into one’s most forbidden sensual impulses.”
But nevermind: GOOP knows best.
If you want to resuscitate your mojo without hormones, GOOP suggests wearable tech like Fiera by Nuelle, a “hands-free device” that is “worn for 5-10 minutes,” but is “not a vibrator” and “generally doesn’t result in orgasm.” It costs $250 and requires “inexpensive refills.”
With no details about where exactly it is worn and how one puts it on without their hands, we’re imagining a pink drone hovering around a woman’s most intimate parts before settling into place—wherever that may be.
Another option for increased arousal is a series of three “FemiLift” radiofrequency treatments for $3,000, which “use heat to promote the growth of collagen and increase blood flow in the tissues of the vagina.”
Lest you are skeptical of this new healing modality, a doctor tells GOOP that “100 % of my patients with vaginal atrophy have seen results.” Don’t ask how many patients she’s treated; 100 percent is the only number you need to know.
There’s “not a lot of published hard scientific evidence” backing up those unidentified results—and GOOP wouldn’t have it any other way.
The sex issue also dives into personal lubricants in a Q&A with a naturopath, who warns that the generic lube you’re using contains parabens that may lower sperm count and cause “fibroids, endometriosis, infertility, and PMS” in women. Alternatives include olive oil and coconut oil (“if it is safe to eat, it is generally safe to apply”).
Having previously endorsed coconut oil as a cure-all for everything from dry skin to dietary imbalance, GOOP continues to find inventive new uses for this tropical-smelling cooking oil.
As for condoms, GOOP’s naturopath suggests a “vegan, paraben-free, glycerin-free, Nonoxynal-9-free, and benzocaine and lidocaine-free” version.
In other words, keep your eyes peeled for sheepskin prophylactics on Amazon.