When we heard Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site and unironic meditation on intemperate bourgeoisie, was set to release its first annual sex issue, we could hardly control the excited pulsation of our auras. Goop has brought us unending joy in the form of $2,500 capes, skincare products blessed with chants, and lotions that sound like period euphemisms. Just imagine what a generous glob of Goop could do for our sex lives!
The issue dropped Monday afternoon, and readers, it does not disappoint. This is the same Goop we’ve grown to know and love, the Goop that once recommended an herbal vaginal steam. This is a sexy, Goopy alternate universe where sex toys are custom-engraved 24-karat gold, a discussion of orgasms is cause for a detour into the lesser-known writings of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and a masked sex party is a “masqued” erotic theater!
The latter is an L.A. black-tie event called Snctm—a perfect counterpart to Goop’s pop-up shop, MRKT, which likewise abides by the philosophy that vowels clutter up the mindspace and pores alike with negative energy. Unlike most of Goop’s recommendations, women can access this one for free! All they have to do is volunteer to perform in some kind of erotic show for an audience of women who bought tickets and men who paid $10,000 for a Snctm membership. Attendees must first pass the discerning judgment of founder Damon Lawner, who only selects those applicants who would “enhance the experience of our current members.” Better break out the exfoliant and start that juice cleanse, Goopers.
Another of Goop’s sex-issue recommendations: a “new wearable out of Silicon Valley” that promises to enhance women’s libido without drugs. It’s called Fiera by Nuelle, and it’s a “hands-free device” that is “worn.” It needs “inexpensive refills,” and it’s “not a vibrator.” What is it, then? Where does it go? How does it work? Why are we refilling it, and with what? The other drug-free vaginal health option Goop presents is a CO2 fractional laser treatment called FemiLift, which is backed up by a doctor who says 100 percent (100 percent!) of her patients have seen results. Not positive results; just results. “There’s not a lot of published hard scientific evidence yet,” she says. Alas, such is Goop.
The sex issue also offers a Netflix-sponsored Q&A with a naturopath about sex-product toxicity; the doctor suggests using coconut oil, aloe vera gel, or olive oil in place of lube to avoid contact with potentially harmful synthetic elements. And we thought, between the dry skin cures, bubble baths, and dosha diets, Goop had already covered all the corners of coconut-oil use! With a freshly oiled bod and a FemiLift-ed pelvic floor, readers can choose from a truly elegant selection of Goop-approved sex toys. The guide—which is heavy with products from Lelo, a company that’s commanded a niche for sleek sex toys in pricey materials and luxury packaging—throws shade at the objects that didn’t make its list. Sex toys used to be “floppy rubber things,” it says; now, they’re “beautiful works of interactive art.”
One of those artworks, a $150 “love wand,” promises to “stimulate dreaming” and “dispel confusion” while teaching users to “avoid dangerous situations.” Goop notes of this Naturotica Wellness Mandingo, “It may not be high tech, but the bloodstone wand is thought to heal as it stimulates.” Mandingo, let’s remember, is slang for a black man with a big penis; it’s also the title of a film Roger Ebert called “racist trash” in 1975. Even when Goop is cloaking racist language in the fun parlance of a sex-toy guide, its ooey-gooey mysticism veers not from the brand.