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Gwyneth Paltrow speaks out on eliminating shame from female sexuality: 'Culturally, it's still taboo'

Kerry Justich
·4 min read
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Gwyneth Paltrow quickly made a name for herself in the wellness space with her brand Goop. But now the 48-year-old is becoming synonymous with female pleasure as well after releasing the brand's first vibrator. 

"Our sexuality is such an important part of who we are and even the fact that, if you think about it, we’re on morning television so we can’t talk about female pleasure," Paltrow told TODAY during a Thursday appearance. "It sort of gives you an insight into how culturally, it’s still taboo."

The vibrator isn't the first of Paltrow's products that tapped into taboos, as Goop previously launched a "This Smells Like My Vagina" candle and vaginal jade eggs. "One of the things that we really believe in at Goop is kind of eliminating shame from these topics," she explained to co-host Savannah Guthrie. This, she's made clear since openly speaking about her own sexuality in 2016.

"We have this idea that you can’t be a mother and a businesswoman and like to have sex!" she told Self. "How is an intelligent woman a sexual being? It’s really hard to integrate those things. ...But I think it’s important, as mothers and as women contributing to society in whatever way we each are, that our true sexuality doesn’t get lost or put aside."

Paltrow expanded on this with the release of The Sex Issue, a book by Goop editors, which includes a foreword by her, that promises to explain "everything you've always wanted to know about sexuality, seduction and desire." 

"Sex is the great hot-button issue. While this is not surprising, it has been eye-opening for all of us at goop to see how triggering conversations around women’s pleasure and sexual health can be for so many," Paltrow wrote. "Women talking about sex — about what they like and don’t like, what they are getting and not getting in their intimate relationships, the toll of sexual trauma and how they heal — has a tendency to make people (both men and other women) extraordinarily self-conscious and uneasy."

The mother-of-two went on to write, "In this moment in time, there’s a collective opportunity to do away with the dangerous notion that women shouldn’t be completely comfortable talking about their sexuality — or that anyone should be shamed for asking questions."

According to a subsequent interview with Glamour UK, selling products like Goop's own vibrator is one of the first steps when it comes to doing away with the stigma. "We feel if we open up conversations, sell a product and we shine a light on it, the shame starts to dissipate," she said.

Paltrow echoed the sentiment when the product launched just two months ago, telling the New York Times, "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?'"

Even less explicit products, like the infamous vagina candle, were a part of that destigmatization effort.

"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," she said. "Let’s dispel all this stuff. Get your projections off me. Let me experience myself, my body and my pleasure in my own way."

Still, Paltrow said that she "always" gets a response from her 78-year-old mother, Blythe Danner.

Gwyneth Paltrow with her mom, actress Blythe Danner. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Gwyneth Paltrow with her mom, actress Blythe Danner. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

"She is [proper]," Paltrow told TODAY on Thursday morning. "But even proper ladies have sexuality too."

And while Paltrow is proud to use her platform and her brand to bring awareness to these topics, she's not the only one. Dakota Johnson, who is currently dating Paltrow's ex-husband Chris Martin, is also working to rid the shame around sexual wellness for women as a part of the company Maude's "This is not a toy" campaign.

"For too long sexual health has been poorly marketed, hyper-aggressive, and highly gendered," Johnson told InStyle. "With our This Is Not A Toy campaign, we aim to activate hearts and minds in an effort to destigmatize sexual and intimate tools. Often the use of language surrounding sexual products is antiquated, gender-specific, and belittling."

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