Have you seen THAT goop lab episode on Netflix?

Gwyneth Paltrow. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
Gwyneth Paltrow. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

The episode in question is part of a six-episode docuseries called the goop lab (all lower case, naturally).

In it, goop founder, Gwyneth Paltrow interviews 90-year-old sex educator, Betty Dodson.

Betty, the best looking and most with-it nonagenarian you’re likely to ever see, runs highly successful sex education workshops from her New York studio (classes of 200 and a waiting list of 2000).

The workshops are dedicated to female empowerment, independence and liberation, showing women how to “be in charge of their pleasure” by teaching them to look at, explore, reeeaaally get to know their vulvas and the pièce de résistance – how to orgasm.

Because apparently, most of us have been doing it all wrong. And some, not at all, until good old Betts came along.

In a Danish study of 500 women with anorgasmia (regular difficulty reaching orgasm), 465 women were able to achieve orgasm using Betty’s “rock and roll” technique – instead of “tensing” when reaching orgasm, her technique is about even breathing, contracting and releasing the pelvic floors muscles before and during the big O.

The climax of the episode indeed shows Betty guiding her mentee, Carlin Ross, to a toe-curling orgasm using the famous method.

Oh the shame!

Why does Betty Dodson do what she does? Why do the women who attend her workshop sit in circle, legs splayed, each equipped with their own little mirror and light, aimed directly at their exposed vulvas?

“The women in the workshop get to find out that they’re perfect and all different,” Betty says chatting to near-constantly blushing Gwyn.

She says many women don’t know their own bodies and what they do know is cloaked in shame – their long or dark, asymmetrical vulvas can’t possibly be normal!

But it all is and to drive her point home, mid-episode, goop takes us through a slideshow featuring close-up photographs of a variety of vulvas. 

There’s no escape for the viewer and nor should there be.

“We see penises all the time, don’t we?” Carlin quips.

As for teaching women how to orgasm, Betty says that while men’s orgasms “drop down from the sky”, for women, it’s a different ball game.

“Do you want to feel the build-up of a sneeze and then not sneeze?”

With her technique, a woman can “pop right off immediately” but she recommends a longer lead up to orgasm (20 to 40 minutes) because “the longer you have build-up, the bigger the orgasm”.

If that’s not reason enough to get you revved up, they also assert that orgasms have been scientifically linked to reducing stress, curbing appetite, boosting hormone levels and enhancing sleep. So, there’s that.

 The goop effect

Gwyneth launched lifestyle company goop, feeling that she needed to do more than just “make out with Matt Damon on screen, or whatever” she says in the trailer to the Netflix series.

She sends her employees out into the field to explore “ideas that seem out there or too scary”.

In one episode of the goop lab, several goop employees head off to Jamaica to take magic mushrooms as part of psychedelic psychotherapy. In another, they jump into a freezing Lack Tahoe all in a bid to find out if a shock to the system really can relieve stress. Then there’s the one where somatic energy practitioner John Amaral works on the body’s energy field to help heal physical and emotional trauma.

In all of the episodes, there’s a resounding sense of transformation, healing of past trauma and everyone leaves feeling lighter and happier.

Betty Dodson

The expeditions are “just too first world” a colleague said about not being able to get through the entire docuseries.

And she’s not alone – goop has received something of a collective eyeroll from the entire world since Gwen launched the lifestyle blog in 2008, followed by the online store. We were all like, “what does she know, she’s just an actress” and “Urg! She’s so pretentious and annoying and really, did she really need to share that she regularly has her vagina steamed?” All except for the privileged few who are able to and willing to buy items from the goop store, like the candle labeled ‘This Smells Like My Vagina Candle’ and the ‘It’s only a vulva’ t-shirt.

But ol’ Gwynie does it because she can and she seems to enjoy the heck out of it.

I, for one, may just reset my eye roll. I’ve officially been duped by goop. And I liked it.

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