NEW YORK (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow admits she has insecurities about her physical appearance in an episode of her new Netflix series “ Sex, Love & goop,” but she’s working on that. The Oscar-winner and entrepreneur behind the goop beauty and wellness brand opens up in the six-episode series, aimed at improving the relationships and sex lives of six courageous couples.
When some women on the show cited body image as an obstacle to sex, Paltrow shared her experience. She explained that after growing up in the public eye since she was 22, she was always trying to fit some ideal.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman that feels completely great about her body, and that’s a real shame,“ Paltrow said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
“That means that we’re holding ourselves to some other standard that’s been prescribed to us and it’s very external as opposed to internal. At this point in my life, I’m definitely not a perfect person, but I’m always on a journey toward self-improvement. I really like myself. I know my faults. I don’t think I have blind spots anymore, and I’m trying to sort of cultivate that same feeling about my body.”
Paltrow, 49, also points out that she wanted to “show up for vulnerability” since she was asking the couples to do the same. The six pairs include people of varying ages, races, and sexual orientations working with experts to learn new ways to see each other and increase intimacy, while using methods and tools to enhance their relationships through more pleasurable sex.
One of goop’s missions is to encourage curiosity and “eliminate the shame around female sexuality” through its content and products. Paltrow says there’s no better way to achieve that than by talking about sex and giving people permission to ask for what they want in the bedroom.
“Female pleasure is still considered a taboo and I think that if you look back throughout history and you understand how controlling women’s pleasure or lack thereof or, you know... separating pleasure from morality, it’s a way to make women not feel fully themselves,” she said.
The show’s experts — a Sexological Bodyworker, a Tantra and Sacred Intimacy coach, and an Erotic Wellness coach -- help couples through deep discussions and physical exercises.
Many couples volunteered to be on the show in hopes of working through disagreements or attitudes toward sex, which ranged from differing levels of desire to complaints of losing the physical spark in a relationship.
Michaela Boehm, an intimacy expert on the series who has worked with Paltrow personally, says she is excited about “Sex, Love & goop” because it will make her advice more accessible to people who might otherwise be reluctant about sex therapy.
“You are doing it in the privacy of your bedroom or your living room, where you are watching. There’s no stigma attached, and you are not having to expose yourself. You get to inch into the water, so to speak, one little toe at a time,” Boehm said.
“People, because we don’t talk about these things, they think they are broken or the only one experiencing this,” Boehm said. “So seeing it and being presented with it as something that happens, that in itself takes so much pressure off and that opens a door and creates a belief that then can lead to a deeper relationship.”
Both Boehm and Paltrow said they were humbled by the courage the couples showed. “It requires a certain amount of bravery to submit yourself for something like that,” Paltrow said. “A lot of those couples really have almost that like, movie star thing that you just care and you want to watch them.”
The show — which starts streaming Thursday — has an onscreen note at the beginning saying it's “designed to entertain and inform, not provide medical advice,” a disclaimer in anticipation of the criticism Paltrow and goop often receive. Some of the sessions showing couples experimenting with sex toys and accessories, including paddles, blindfolds and a metal “Wolverine claw,” are sure to get attention.
Goop has been scrutinized for promoting unconventional products and experiences in the effort to educate consumers, and Paltrow has been an easy target as the recognizable face leading the brand. “I have incredible admiration for her because she is willing to put herself in places that I personally, I don’t know if I had the fortitude to be criticized to that extent,” Boehm said.
“When she decided to really go into being very conscious about the uncoupling and all of those things, everybody was rolling their eyes, everybody was ridiculing her. But now you look and people are actually more willing to accept that they could have co-parenting situations and blended families that are a lot more functional, and that is to a large extent because she put herself out there.”
Yes, goop wants to educate and empower, but it’s also a business after all, so as the series launches, the website is also highlighting two new tie-in products: a vibrator and a female libido supplement.
“I think largely women have been inculcated with this idea that we don’t deserve to ask for those things, and I think it really hinders us.” Paltrow said. The topic of sex is such a great way to kind of really take a bulldozer to try and bust through all of this because it’s something that we all do, and it’s something that really connects us to ourselves.”
Brooke Lefferts, The Associated Press