Sophie considers the Goop and the bad of the Netflix show, helmed by guru Gwyenth Paltrow, that explores sexual health and female pleasure.
As Gwyneth Paltrow’s warbling “Hello!” echoed through the dark dredges of my room, I put aside my fourth-year essays for one more day to indulge in Netflix’s newest gripping and harsh commentary on the world of sex and sexuality: Sex, Love, and Goop. With one of Goop’s own trademarked vagina candles to set the scene, I found myself whisked away to a remote Garden of Eden of sorts, filled with lewd statues, waterfalls, shame, and enough sexual repression to go around. Ignoring the horrible medical advice Goop has thrown out in the past, in the name of selling its products (thank you porous stone vagina egg, very cool), I was immersed in this world of tame raunch, filled with couples that looked like they would rather be anywhere else.
“With one of Goop’s own trademarked vagina candles to set the scene, I found myself whisked away to a remote Garden of Eden of sorts…”
I hoped for all the absurdist nonsense of Paltrow’s previous Netflix venture, The Goop Lab, but sadly the spirit of the mushroom and the questionable psychic mediums have no place in Gwyneth’s (admittedly very scenic) sexual healing paradise. And to give Sex, Love and Goop a miniscule amount of credit, from the beginning it does seem more grounded, and dare I say more refined than Paltrow’s previous endeavours. Even the production value has seen a marked improvement over The Goop Lab’s moments of awkward, unedited silences and general rough production overall. The couples featured in this 2021 effort have real, tangible sexual issues that aren’t often talked about outside the confines of a therapist’s office: sex becoming one of many obligations after having children; shame surrounding sexuality and body image; pain during sex – these are common issues that are rarely brought to light in visual media outside of the likes of fellow Netflix property Sex Education, and the right audience will no doubt feel a connection to the couples, who are all very honest about the issues that they face. But, just as anything Goop does, it all goes quickly downhill as soon as any supposed expert remedies come onto the scene.
“The couples featured in this 2021 effort have real, tangible sexual issues that aren’t often talked about outside the confines of a therapist’s office…”
Some of the evaluation isn’t terrible per se, a lot of it is basic but ultimately good-natured advice such as “communicate more” and to learn to regain your individuality as an adult after becoming a parent, but the methodology is performed in the good old kooky Goop fashion, and was by far the most entertaining feature of an otherwise six-episode slog. I did inevitably tap out after the sex therapist tried to motivate a woman to give encouraging words to her vagina, to promise to “do it proud”, where the woman addressing her genitals looked almost as bewildered as I did watching it. For every moment of good methodology, such as the professional who encouraged her clients to touch each other slowly and gently in an almost meditative exercise, in order to see each other as sexual beings again, there were at least two other completely outlandish and nonsensical practices, such as the time-travelling circle of truth, or one professional demonstrating her methods of obtaining an “energetic orgasm” by performing what appears to be a mockery of an epileptic fit. And if you feel that you’ve truly run out of options on your Netflix over the festive period, perhaps the sexual circus of Sex, Love and Goop will make for a completely absurd, but ultimately entertaining watch.