Gwyneth Paltrow’s Got Some Thoughts on Porn

In an appearance on Red Table Talk, Paltrow had some things to say!

Celebrities
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Got Some Thoughts on Porn
Image:Rachel Murray (Getty Images)

As part of the promotional tour for Sex, Love & Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest Netflix offering, the actor-turned-wellness enthusiast appeared on Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Red Table Talk, where she embarked on a conversation about how porn is “harmful” to women.

According to Xbiz, Paltrow and Pinkett-Smith acknowledged that porn is bad for women because it traditionally prioritizes the man’s pleasure while also promoting unrealistic body standards and behaviors for young women, who are perhaps looking to porn for lessons or guidance. Paltrow’s beef with porn is that it gives impressionable young women the wrong idea about their public perception—specifically, that they should be “fuckable” and that this ineffable trait is their primary concern.


Anyone with the capability to understand nuance as it relates to popular media or the vast world of porn realizes that what Paltrow is saying above feels a bit pearl-clutchy, old-fashioned, and unnecessarily alarmist. There is a lid for every pot, and porn provides that in spades if you are willing to look hard enough to find it, so writing off porn wholesale as “harmful” to women is reductive.

Additionally, there is the case of Paltrow’s much-ballyhooed jade egg for the vagina, which was the subject of a lawsuit in 2018 for making unsubstantiated claims about uterine health and balancing hormones. This product gestures towards sexual health in its description, by promoting its usefulness in strengthening the pelvic floor, but is not explicitly sexual in nature. Technically, that’s harmful to anyone with a vagina, and so there is some hypocrisy here in Paltrow’s argument, or at least confusion—cherry-picking, then deciding definitively what could or could not cause someone harm is only useful to her personal brand, and not to the general public, who may be looking to Paltrow for advice.

Curiously, the show that Paltrow’s currently doing publicity for is an overwhelmingly sex-positive viewing experience. Of the four or so episodes I watched before turning it off in favor of anything else, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the advice peddled by the sex therapists and healers feels valid and even useful. If you’re able to strip away some of the more woo-woo aspects of sex therapy as espoused by the experts Paltrow highlights, the takeaways are valuable: good sex is about connection, with both yourself and your partner, however that might look for you. By that argument, porn is very much a tool for connection, depending on the flavor of the content and the desires of its viewer. Poking holes in Paltrow’s argument is easy enough, and by now, this is what we expect.

Remember that Gwyneth Paltrow is an actor who has pivoted in recent years to “expert” on a variety of subjects—but her most damaging work by far has been in the wellness sphere. Goop, the company that bears her cutesy nickname, is a prominent player in the wellness space, even though the only thing Gwyneth Paltrow truly knows anything about is acting.

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