It has come to my attention that GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness propaganda emporium, has branched out into the wild and wooly world of sexual “wellness,” moving beyond the vagina egg and into more frank territory: sex toys that look like objets d’art and not at all like what they’re supposed to.
The GOOP vibrator, which is currently sold out, costs $95 and resembles a stylized ice cream cone. Per the site’s description, it is double-ended: the alluring scoop of gelato at its tip is a “wonder-ball wand,” providing vibrations for external stimulation, while the other end is the part that goes up in it, to use the clinical term. The thing resembles a gussied-up Hitachi Magic Wand, but also looks like something they’d sell at The Wing, which is the first red flag. The second, larger, and more vibrant flag is that per Mrs. Goop herself, the vibrator is meant to be “intellectual.”
Paltrow said this in an interview with the New York Times around the launch of this item. The reason she launched a vibrator now is in part because of the pandemic, and also because sex toys always sell, and since not everyone has or wants to spend $15,000 on a solid-gold dildo, the consumer-friendly price point of this thing might work out in their favor. Because the item is sold out, I guess it did! Here’s the old gal herself, with an explanation:
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 hypersexualized. 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.
Everything else in this interview is the same sort of pap that one might expect about a vibrator that looks like your mom might pick it up and ask you what it is if you left it out on the kitchen table as part of an interior-design tableaux you were workshopping. Because the vibrator looks like a decoration rather than something you use to fuck yourself before bed, that means it’s “destigmatizing” masturbation. It’s also shed the skeevy sex-shop associations that, say, the Rabbit, has, because its curved edges and brass accents scream “West Elm” instead of “crotchless panty emporium off Central Ave in White Plains near the Burger King.” Sex toys that look like things you’d be “proud” to display on your dresser or Lucite waterfall coffee table or whatever aren’t new—it’s just that Paltrow isn’t trailblazing in the way she thinks she is.
Other companies like Lelo have been producing vibrators and sex toys that don’t look like bachelorette party favors for a minute now, so that point is neither here nor there. My larger issue with the Goop sex toy is my issue with all sex toys that look like gloopy little blobs are silly. A sex toy should look like it came from a sex shop, because that’s half the fun. The Rabbit vibrator is good because it’s good, but it’s also good because it looks like a purple alien with “pearls” in its shaft and is the kind of thing that you maybe laugh at when you look at it, and are fine to tuck it away in your underwear drawer when you’re finished. I get wanting the thing you use to self-bone to look “nice” in case it’s out on the table when someone comes over, but why on earth would you want it to look so nice that someone would pick it up and touch it with their hands? I don’t care if anyone knows that I masturbate, but I don’t want other people touching my shit unless they’re gonna do REDACTED and we’ve already agreed on what that REDACTED is.
A sex toy is inherently stupid! It’s literally a tool. There’s nothing particularly intellectual about a toy that attaches itself to your clitoris and sucks on it like a little lollipop. There’s nothing intellectual about Goop’s Hitachi-knockoff either. Is the sex toy reading Proust? Are you forced to endure a lecture about Marxism while just trying to rub one out and eat some Sun Chips? Let the sex toys just be what they’re supposed to be, and for the love of god, leave intellect out of this for once!