Gwyneth Paltrow on Goop, and vibrators: 'Women are not good at being vulnerable about our own sexuality'
“We have always been really interested in sexual wellness as a really important pillar of wellness,” Paltrow said of Goop's latest product.
Next to Goop’s vaginal jade egg and a candle called “This Smells Like My Vagina,” a vibrator seems almost, well, old-fashioned.
But that did not stop fans of Gwyneth Paltrow’s often-mocked wellness company, Goop, from snapping up its new, double-sided wand vibrator, which looks like a candy-coloured gelato cone.
In an interview Tuesday, Paltrow expressed disappointment at underestimating demand (the vibrator is sold out). After all, the pandemic has meant a lot of time indoors and alone, and a boom in sex toys.
And the Goop vibrator makes quite the pitch for battling boredom. With a massage ball on one side and a wand on the other — and eight pulsating patterns for each — that means 64 possible combinations (or a different daily sensation for two months of quarantine). At $95, it might even be called affordable, at least in comparison to the $15,000 gold dildo that Paltrow once recommended in a Goop newsletter.
“We have always been really interested in sexual wellness as a really important pillar of wellness,” Paltrow said.
Why a vibrator now?
For a lot of people — not for you and not for me — a vibrator is still considered a pretty racy thing. That has obviously changed a lot over the past decade. But still, people are triggered by sexual content or triggered by their own sexuality. Women are not taught a certain vernacular and how to express what we want. We’re not good at being vulnerable about our own sexuality.
I think as opposed to “Why a vibrator now?” it’s sort of, “How can we make a vibrator that helps continue to diminish stigma around that stuff?”
Talk about its design.
So many vibrators look hypersexualised. They’re either really phallic or they look like something you would buy in a sex shop. I was really intrigued by the idea that this would be something that looked really pretty and cool, and that you could leave it on your night stand without embarrassing yourself or somebody else. There’s something very self-possessed about that.
I think we were just trying to do something … perhaps a little more intellectual.
Female sexual pleasure is less stigmatised. Is it a growing market?
You see it now with amazing new emerging female care products like the Honey Pot Co., or other consumer companies coming up around the vagina and the vulva. There are celebrities who’ve signed on to vibrator companies to help promote them. It’s wonderful that visible, strong, popular women are saying: “This is OK. This is not shameful and you are not shameful.”
Goop has definitely been a partner in forging that path and in creating a culture around female health, sexual health and sexuality. That’s why we made a vagina candle. Let’s dispel all this stuff. Get your projections off me. Let me experience myself, my body and my pleasure in my own way.
Have you tested the vibrator yourself?
I’ve never been asked that question before. I think you’ve made me blush. I’ll just leave it at that.
A little less personal: Any new hobbies during the pandemic?
I wouldn’t say that I developed new ones, but I’ve definitely recommitted or doubled down on some, like meditation. I do that every morning. Before, it was maybe once every couple of weeks, or maybe not at all. Also, I’m cooking all the time, like everybody else in the world.
You played Patient Zero in the movie Contagion. Did that prepare you for the pandemic?
I remember being on set and people saying, “This could really happen, and this will happen in our lifetime.”
Last February, way before face coverings became the norm, you posted a selfie on Instagram wearing a mask.
This is a familiar pattern in my life. I do something early, everyone is like, “What is she doing? She’s insane.” And then it’s adopted by the culture.
I had to take this trip to France when it was all kicking off. I wore it on the plane, but I didn’t wear it to the function that I was going to, and actually ended up getting COVID and coming home, and being one of the first people that I had heard of to have it.
Are you planning to take the vaccine?
I still have antibodies. I want everybody else who isn’t protected to go first.
Goop has been criticised for making dubious wellness claims and, in 2018, had to pay $145,000 for making unsubstantiated health claims about its vaginal eggs. Why should customers trust Goop?
That was stuff that happened a number of years ago when we were still a little company curating and buying third-party brands that were making claims around their products. We’ve come a really long way from being that small startup. Even with the Yoni eggs. That was really around claims, but it didn’t involve the product. That egg is not dangerous. We still sell it.
This interview has been edited.
Valeriya Safronova c.2021 The New York Times Company
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