- In episode 3 of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new Netflix series “The Goop Lab” called “The Pleasure is Ours,” Goop employees learn to feel more sensual in their bodies.
- The episode involves employees taking “sensual self-portraits,” taking a close look at their own and others’ vulvas, and even learning how to orgasm using legendary sex educator Betty Dodson’s “rock and roll” method.
- The episode reveals how little women know about their own bodies, particularly anatomically, which women’s health experts say is representative of the population at large.
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Episode 3 of the new Netflix series “The Goop Lab” opens with Goop Chief Content Officer Elise Loehnan asking Gwyneth Paltrow, “Are you ready to talk about vaginas?”
Paltrow, known for promoting controversial products and methods like vaginal eggs and vaginal steaming, is always ready to talk about vaginas. “It’s our favourite subject!” she says on the episode, called “The Pleasure Is Ours.”
But it becomes clear that Paltrow, like many women, doesn’t actually know much about vaginas – namely, that she’s only been talking about the birth canal when she’s meant the vulva.
“You want to talk about the vulva, which is the clitoris and the inner lips and all that good s– around it,” legendary sex educator Betty Dodson coaches her.
The anatomy lesson is just one part of the episode that women’s health experts, much to their surprise, appreciated.
“Gwyneth Paltrow has historically promoted a lot of problematic things around vaginas. I was prepared for this to be just as bad,” Lee Roosevelt, a certified nurse midwife and clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan. “It was a really beautiful balance of portraying ownership around sensuality and a right to sexual pleasure – all the things we try to teach young women they should have.”
The episode featured ‘sensual self-portraits,’ massages, and eye gazing
The episode shows Goop employees taking a workshop with Isabella Frappier, who leads them through self-love and communication exercises designed to enhance their sex lives.
The women talk about wanting to overcome body shame and negative body images, and embrace their sensuality not just in the bedroom, but also at work, while cooking, and when being creative.
Frappier has them take portraits of themselves feeling powerful and beautiful, and coaches them through an exercise where they massage each others’ hands or feet and practice telling each other exactly what feels good.
The women also break into pairs and stare into each others, causing Lexi, a participant who grew up in Shanghai and is especially timid discussing sex, to cry.
Though corny, their vulnerabilities are representative of women far outside of Goop’s headquarters, experts say.
“After treating over 14,000 women with pelvic floor issues and listening to thousands of genital shame stories, I believe that ‘Pleasure is Ours’ will help women to come closer to the truth,”Isa Herrara, a pelvic floor physical therapist in New York City, told Insider. “The truth that we are responsible for our pleasure and that we deserve every bit of it.”
Viewers see real vulvas and an orgasm
While Roosevelt and Herrara were surprised that Paltrow didn’t know the difference between a vagina and a vulva, they said that ignorance is representative of most women. Roosevelt said it’s “always shocking” to her that she has to teach her college-aged women’s health students the anatomy of the vagina. “It’s never been shown [to them] before,” she said.
Many women, as the episode pointed out, also don’t know what vulvas look like – different on everyone. Loehnen even admits never having taken a close look at her own.
So women’s health experts applauded that The Goop Lab showed a montage of up-close, real-life vulvas to counter the surgically-altered variety often showcased in porn.
“Our vulvas are beautiful and unique to us. It’s like a fingerprint,” Herrara said. “It will be liberating for women to know that they are not just a vagina and that no two vulvas look alike.”
Perhaps the most daring choice of the episode was the filming of Carlin Ross, Betty Dodson’s business partner, masturbating with the help of a vaginal barbell, a vibrator, and Dodson, who dubbed the technique “the rock and roll.”
Lexi looked on, later reporting, “I didn’t know what to expect but when I was actually seeing it, it was such a beautiful moment.”
Experts agree. “We’ve been taught as women to give pleasure and that our pleasure is secondary to that of a man’s,” Herrara said. “In Betty Dobson’s rock-and-roll masturbation technique, we learn to come back home to our inner power of knowing what it feels to truly love ourselves.”
Roosevelt added that the barbell isn’t risky for most women, and can help those who don’t know what it feels like to engage all of the muscles of the pelvic floor gain a better understanding of their bodies.
One critique was the lack of body diversity
Like most Hollywood-produced films or TV shows, the episode featured women with smaller bodies.
Loving and comforting your body, and letting go of body shame – topics Frappier preached – is easier for young, thin, attractive women than women in larger bodies, who face far more cultural scrutiny, Roosevelt said.
Still, the overall message was a powerful one, she said, and well-summed up by Lexi.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned today is no matter who you are, no matter what culture you grew up in, what country you’re from, who you identity yourself as, it’s not about you with anyone else, with anyone else your, it’s about you owning your own body and you having a healthy, positive relationship with your body, owning your own pleasure.”
- Read more:
- Gwyneth Paltrow sent her staff to jump in a near-freezing Lake Tahoe and perform yoga in the snow with ‘The Iceman’
- A chiropractor ‘exorcised’ Gwyneth Paltrow and Julianne Hough in Goop’s new Netflix show
- Gwyneth Paltrow appears to be emerging from a vagina in a poster for her new Netflix show
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