Gwyneth Paltrow: My generation got messages that ‘made us feel bad’ about sex

Gwyneth Paltrow Book Signing For 'The Clean Plate: Eat, Reset, Heal'

Did Gwyneth Paltrow ever publicly address the Business Insider’s exclusive piece on how Goop is a massively dysfunctional company? Goop has lost 140 staffers since the start of 2019, which is an insane turnover. Goop’s current and former staffers cited burnout, low pay and a toxic work environment. And Gwyneth hasn’t said anything for weeks about it. I think that’s probably her version of crisis management – stay silent for a few weeks and then just continue doing what you were already doing, which is shill Goop products. Speaking of, Gwyneth is currently promoting her new Netflix docu-series, Sex, Love & Goop. Real-life couples are basically documented as they go into sex therapy and take classes on how to be better at intimacy and sex. Gwyneth interviews the couples and judges them. To promote the series, Gwyneth talked about her own sex education and how she’s raising her kids:

On the series & her role: “The conversations with me are conducted with this amazing therapist named Michaela Baum, and she’s someone that I’ve worked with and that I have a lot of respect for. I also thought it was really important for me to show up with honesty and vulnerability around these topics. I think that’s the point of the show, to show different examples of what honesty and vulnerability can look like. I was happy to do that and share.”

Being a Gen Xer with teen children: “I try always to be neutral on the topic [of sex]. I think my generation, we got a lot of messages around sex that made us feel bad about it. I try to just be curious, and teenagers are never going to want to talk to their parents about sex, ever. I sort of follow their lead and luckily, in middle school they had a very thorough sex education, so the school handled the kind of birds and the bees parts. Then I am there for any questions, but the questions are pretty minimal.”

What advice she will give Moses & Apple: One piece of advice she will pass down to them is to “stay really close to your own truth. I think the main thing that nobody ever tells you, is you have to stay really close to your own truth and you have to stay really in integrity with that truth. Because when you are in a relationship and you are not being your full self, you are sublimating things or you are white knuckling through something, and I think it can be pretty damaging to how you feel about yourself. I will always just encourage my children to really listen to themselves, listen to their instincts, listen if something feels right, and to act from that place.”

[From Entertainment Tonight]

I always felt like Gen Xers and Xennials actually had an okay sex education? I mean, generationally speaking, we got information from school, our parents, our friends, literature, magazines, everywhere. I don’t even think that those generations were even shamed about it to the extent our parents’ generation was. If anything, the people born from 1965-1980 have the strongest memories of the AIDS crisis and safe-sex campaigns and condoms being everywhere. If anything, Paltrow’s generation was warped by information-overload and *everything* being sexualized.

Also: does anyone else think it’s weird that Gwyneth is all about sexual empowerment and then she’s also like “thank god the schools took care of my kids’ sex education”?

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gwyneth apple moses

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Gwyneth’s IG.

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39 Responses to “Gwyneth Paltrow: My generation got messages that ‘made us feel bad’ about sex”

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  1. Eurydice says:

    We could go back another generation to when the biggest fear in a young man’s life was being sent to Vietnam and the biggest fear in a young woman’s life was getting pregnant. Either could devastate your life.

  2. LadyMTL says:

    Xennial here, and I think I had a decent amount of sex-ed in high school, down to demos of how to put on condoms (I still chuckle at the image of my teacher using a big banana…) We were never made to feel bad about it, it was more along the lines of being safe / not feeling like we had to have sex to be cool, and so on.

    I just can’t help but wonder how on earth Goop is qualified to help these people? Is she going to offer them her vagina candles at a discount? SMH.

    • minx says:

      She’s not qualified, period. She’s making the topic all about her, as usual. This woman has no qualifications for anything and should be advising no one.

  3. Izzy says:

    Uh, our generation got the advice that sex could actually kill you because that is when HIV and AIDS came along and became an epidemic – really right as we were becoming teens and getting curious about sex. If your school’s sex ed was any good, the thought of having sex without a condom scared the living guts out of you because the messaging we got back then was “safe sex.”

    • Arpeggi says:

      Yeah, there was a lot of “sex is gonna kill you, condoms aren’t 100% effective so you might still catch AIDS and if you don’t, you’ll get herpes” going on in those days (mind you: herpes is really not as bad as its reputation, but the 80s is when it became a thing you should be afraid of). Safe sex was more a thing in the 90s (for those who were fortunate to have actual sex-ed classes).

      That being said, nothing Goop has done has been about making you feel good about sex. From shaming women about their weight to saying she stops an argument by going down on her man, and all the stupid jade egg stuff, she uses sex to sell and tells you that if you buy her stuff, you’ll be a better f*. It’s not sex-positive at all

    • Bookie says:

      Gen X-er here! Yes, I was terrified of the “sex can kill you” message. I grew up in the Bible Belt so maybe the shame was extra strong there, but I grew up so f*ed up with bad sex messaging.

    • aang says:

      Yes. I wasn’t concerned that sex was morally bad, I was afraid it would kill me. When I was 16-17 I shared an apartment with a girlfriend and her HIV+ Uncle. He wasn’t sick at that point but it was kind of terrifying. He took us on a cross country road trip that I will never forget. He was an amazing friend and teacher. I developed a very strong allyship for the LGBTQ community from that experience. He sadly passed away about 10 years later. I still think of him often. HIV had a huge impact on our generation.

    • Annaloo. says:

      Let’s talk.about sex, baby
      Let’s talk about you and me
      Let’s talk about all the good things
      And the bad things
      That could be
      Let’s talk about sex

      Um, we’ve been here before, and as a gen Xer, I don’t remember shame over sex. Shame for listening to Motley Crue, but between Madonna, Prince and 90210 sex felt like a pretty open subject.

      GWYNETH IS CLAIMING CREDIT AGAIN FOR “PIONEERING”. Woman needs to focus on paying her overworked staff instead of constantly claiming she’s first to do something. Dhe doesn’t acknowledge the shoulders she stands upon or who she is appropriating from.

      Let’s talk about wage slavery, baby G. Let’s talk about privilege and nepotism

    • Bettyrose says:

      Yeah. Our generation came of age during the AIDS crisis. We were post sexual revolution so a lot of stigmas had been lifted and having consensual sex in a monogamous relationship was socially accepted but condoms and monogamy were the mantras of our sex ed. Not bad advice but sometimes I do envy the younger generations who are like I’m bored I’ll go on Tinder and have some fun tonight. Still hope they’re using condoms for penetrative sex though.

  4. Alissa says:

    I’m a millennial and my sex education was not great. tests on labeling the various parts of each reproductive system, videos of women giving birth, and just… no real information on STDs and their treatment or how you get pregnant or ovulation cycles, etc. just a whole lot left out. and this was a public school in Connecticut.

  5. OriginalLala says:

    I’m a “grand-millennial” (lol) and my sex ed in school was non-existent. I went to a private catholic school and we weren’t taught anything other than to keep our legs closed…no health class, no info on our changing bodies, nothing.

    • Betsy says:

      In a Catholic school, that’s pretty much what I would expect.

    • L84Tea says:

      I went to Catholic school K-12 and we miraculously did receive some sex-ed in health class (in the south too!), although it was probably a little tame. I’m also a GenX’er, but more on the tail end (born in 78), so maybe it was changing by then.

    • PixiePaperdoll says:

      I went to Catholic school and was HORRIFIED to find out that the person from the health department that was visiting 6th grade to show “Julie’s Story” and answer questions was… my stepmother. Anyway, from discussions with (other Gen X friends). my Catholic school had more comprehensive sex-ed than most of the public schools of the era.

      • Kristin says:

        You think that’s bad? Try going to Catholic school and having the sex education class taught to you by your priest. Who was also my uncle. Yeah, the priests taught our sex ed class. Tell me how much sense that makes!

    • Arpeggi says:

      I’m also an older millenial and while my school was very liberal, the sex-ed class was terrible but we could talk about it in other classes and we had openly gay schoolmates and some also had gay parents… But my dad died of AIDS when I was 7 so my mom made sure we had condoms at home from that time just in case and did a pretty good job not being overly dramatic about it all, which in turn made us able to talk about it with our schoolmates fairly easily. Not the best way to be made aware of it, but you know, the whole lemon/lemonade thing…

  6. Lori says:

    Goop is a menace to vaginas everywhere! Her advice…steaming yr vadge, inserting jade eggs, selling over priced vibrators and now a heated vibrator! Good grief!

  7. swaz says:

    Gwyneth is just using sex to sell Goop🤢

  8. AA says:

    I’m a year or so older than Dame Paltrow and I don’t remember getting messages that “made us feel bad about sex.” The AIDS crisis was huge as we were coming of age, but that was more “use protection” than making people feel bad about sex, in my recollection.

    • Jezz says:

      I am the same age and I agree. We had pretty good conversations about sex (think of Salt and Peppa’s Let’s Talk About Sex).
      But I think it’s good to keep that conversation open. So I say props to weirdo goop.

  9. salmonpuff says:

    I’m her age and I’m appalled that she’s left sex ed to school. My kids heard me talk about sex openly and honestly and age-appropriately from the time they started asking questions ~4 or 5. Now that they’re teens, they do NOT want to talk to me, but I made sure they had a good foundation of facts. And I routinely spring safe sex, birth control and consent talks on them now. As for getting bad messages about sex, I definitely got those, but I think more from my parents than from society. My dad was very authoritarian and obsessed with my “purity” — gag. And my mom refused to discuss sex. All the info I got was from friends and sex ed.

    • EveV says:

      @SalmonPuff
      Same, I also have two teenagers (and a little one) and I started the Convo early. Like you, my teens don’t want to ask me questions anymore, but I still bring up birth control and consent.
      I cannot imagine leaving it up to their middle school?!
      And yes, I think it’s odd that she is trying to be all sex empowered and left that important convo to the middle school

  10. Katherine says:

    Middle school? My parent gave me the sex ed books at 5 (and those books had recommended ages typed on them – one was 5-7 and then there was the second book for maybe 8-10, not sure about the exact numbers).

  11. Leah says:

    GenX’er here. I don’t ever remember being afraid of sex, in fact X was exposed to it early with MTV which was full of sexy and ambiguous images. Rio sneaking around on and spying on that boat full of Duran Duran’s while only wearing body paint spoke volumes. People either wanted to be her or be noticed by her.

    I remember the aids crisis and the push for safe sex but the later was the only good thing to come out of that crisis.

  12. Gab says:

    i’m an xennial. i was raised to believe pregnancy occurred when you made an outgoing phonecall to a boy. My mother would see a pregnant teen and say, “you know how it happened? she was calling boys!!! wait for them to call you.”

  13. JJ says:

    I’m a Xennial / Millenial who went to a catholic school (as a non-catholic!) and I guess compared to the other catholic school on here I guess our sex ed was good in that it taught SOMETHING. We learned about reproductive systems and had to watch someone giving birth mostly, and very very briefly talked about STDs. But there was definitely implied shame to it all.

    I really wish they had taught more about masturbation! Especially for women! And certainly they taught nothing about bisexuality or homosexuality.

  14. Jaded says:

    Just more Goop word salad. Nothing she says makes sense to me, it’s like she’s trying so hard to sound intellectual but it comes off as pompous and basically unintelligible.

    “I think the main thing that nobody ever tells you, is you have to stay really close to your own truth and you have to stay really in integrity with that truth.” Wha…?

    I’m a baby boomer and there was NO sex education in my day. My mother simply told me that men were bad and the most wonderful thing in the world was to give my husband my virginity. How’s that for a mixed message? Men are bad, sex is bad, but suddenly getting married makes everything wonderful. That screwed me up for a long time and Goop’s relief that her kids got their sex education at school is just as stupid.

  15. Ann says:

    I came of age in the 80s and we were pretty terrified of AIDS. So sex was fine so long as you knew and trusted your partner and used protection, but casual sex was definitely out. The era of Free Love was over. And as a girl, I feel more stigma around casual sex too. There was a much bigger double standard than there is now. Boys could hook up, girls risked being labeled skanks. It’s not that guys couldn’t get a bad “reputation,” it’s just that they weren’t shamed as much.

  16. DeltaJuliet says:

    I did most of my growing up in the 80′s AND went to Catholic school so yeah….sex was about the worst thing you could do.

  17. BethAnne says:

    I had sex-ed in the nineties in Canada. I would say it was very, mechanical? Certainly learned about the sexual organs, condoms and std’s, pregnancy , but I don’t remember any messaging about sex being “good” or “bad”. The bigger societal messaging, slut shaming (Monica Lewinsky, obsession with virginity of young female pop stars) affected how I viewed sex under that lens very negatively.

  18. ANON says:

    Not gonna turn to Gwyn/Goop for my infotainment. However, I think anyone trying to provide good information helps fight cultural shame. Guttmacher says Gen Z-ers and Millennials received worst sex ed than generations past, so, unfortunately, that seems to be more important than ever.

  19. Lane says:

    There she goes again, speaking for a whole generation like she’s their spokeswoman. She’s got goop for brains. Get out of our face, gwennie.

  20. Justwastingtime says:

    Late GenX (almost Boomer) here with Catholic parents and Episcopalian private school education that had no sex ed. My mom told me about my period but little else. My husband and I gave each of our kids (male and female) a “hormones though sex” book at age 9 and read it to them (my husband with our son and me with our daughter) chapter by chapter for many nights and answered their questions then and later. There are so many good books out there to help your kids understand the changes they are going through in their bodies and to explain sex to them. Given that, I can’t imagine letting a school dictate what your kids learn about their development. Those books stayed in our kids rooms for a while and I know (from my daughter) that she went back time and time again to re-read chapters.
    It’s so much easier for parents today than it was when I was a kid cause there are tools out there to help parents frame the conversations. So no shame, but if you haven’t formed a plan for your younger kids recommend you do some looking online.