you're reading...
Bad GOOP Advice, body image, sex, snake oil, Uncategorized

GOOP recommends a “sacred snake ceremony” for better sex. I have questions.

Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 11.06.48 AMI did not make up the term GOOPASUTRA, but honestly it sounds like raw milk pasta, which sounds about as far from sexy as possible.

But snakes, right? I mean once you have endorsed a medium as legitimate the next step is clearly a snake charmer. It’s honestly a full on traveling shit show of snake oil at GOOP.

See what I did there? Snake oil.

A lot of the GOOPASTURA and the GOOP Sex Issue is about the feminine. Apparently, being masculine is earning your own money and having opinions and being feminine is giggling about your hard day at the spa over the martinis with organic olives (natch) you lovingly hand crafted for your man.

Nothing says sexual empowerment more than Stepford.

But back to trouser snakes. I mean snakes, real snakes most definitely not the one-eyed ones. Apparently, if you let them crawl all over you and dance with them they will awaken your inner feminine, which is totally not destructively Freudian in any way.

THE SNAKES WILL SEE YOU.

The woman who will awaken your inner goddess with snakes is Londin Angel Winters.

According to the GOOPASUTRA (which is my new favorite word):

A lot of what spiritual intimacy teacher Londin Angel Winters helps women do involves getting out of their heads and into their own bodies and divine feminine power. She offers workshops, intensives, coaching sessions, and online courses (some for men, too, alongside her male partner) designed to heal deep-seated wounds, awaken sexual energy in individuals, and deepen intimacy among couples.

All that for the low, low price of $350 for 90 minutes.

I really hope this isn’t Medusa-like for some women, because of course Medusa was turned into a monster as punishment by Athena for being raped by Poseidon. I guess if the snakes also awaken some kind of past trauma her years as a TV producer will be invaluable.

On her website Winters says after a snake ceremony more women “feel juicy and embodied.”

All I can do is present that statement without comment. I got nothing.

I was curious about some of the comments made by GOOP and Winters about snakes, so I asked David Steen, Ph.D., Research Ecologist at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island. Here is our e-mail exchange:

JG: Do snakes interact with our “energy?” Do they “see” us? (this is not really visual, but in a do they get our inner selves or something)?

DS: Snakes can use their various senses to perceive our presence and this can lead to interactions. For example, most snakes in the wild will consider us as a predator and may either try to escape by crawling away or rely on their camouflage to avoid detection. I am less familiar with studies that have examined a snake’s interaction with energy per se or efforts to quantify the percentage of ‘you’ that a snake will see, although they can see fairly well in general. Snakes that hunt in trees tend to have particularly good vision so if there was a snake that could see you for your whole you it would more likely be something like an eyelash viper rather than a snake that spends most of its time underground like a worm snake.

JG: Winters says snakes can “offer you exactly what you need to open to your next level of spiritual arousal.” How would a snake do that?

DS: This is out of my area of professional expertise.

JG: GOOP says snakes have the “oldest DNA on the planet” because they “survive extinction?” Do snakes have the oldest DNA? Did they survive the extinction that took out the dinosaurs?

DS: None of species alive on Earth today have gone extinct. That said, species are the result of millions of years of evolution and over those millions of years life forms have spun off and become unique in different directions and at different times; we refer to these branches on the evolutionary tree as lineages. We are always learning more about evolutionary lineages but scientists have found fossils of animals that we can consider snakes from the Cretaceous period, about 80 million years ago. But, that doesn’t mean they haven’t changed since then; that is why we have hundreds of different species today.

JG: Do snakes detect vibration with their “bellies?”

DS: Snakes can sense vibrations with their ears, although the anatomy of these structures differs significantly from ours. They can use any part of their body to engage in the sense of touch, so I think they would easily perceive whether the surface below them was vibrating.

JG: During the session, which can be $350 for 90 minutes but up to 3 hours you appear to have snakes on your body and you dance with them. Do snakes enjoy being handled in this way or do you think they just tolerate it because they have been trained to expect a meal afterwards?

DS: There are several species of snakes that have been bred in captivity for so long that they are practically domesticated. Unfortunately it is difficult to assess what individual snakes might enjoy because they do not often respond to stimuli in ways that we can easily recognize. Most animals would perceive three hours of dancing as a relatively stressful experience.

JG: The snakes that Winters uses are an albino ball python, a Bolivian short-tailed boa, a “baby” Columbian boa, and a jaguar carpet python. Are these snakes safe for this kind of handling? Are they risks for participants or the snakes?

DS: With enough handling, most snakes will get used to interacting with humans and will not immediately perceive our approach and touch as a dangerous situation, although it is possible to wear down a snake’s patience, just like it is possible with us. It is always important to consider an animal’s health and welfare when interacting with them and the appropriate precautions will vary by the situation. I think there are limited risks to participants although it is always important to be alert and cognizant when sharing space with large animals. These particular snakes are relatively large but not generally considered a threat to adult humans.

If you want to pay $350 for a sacred snake ceremony you’re on your own, however, I would place that experience firmly in the entertainment camp and not consider it medical or sexual therapy of any kind. Presenting “temple snakes” as some kind of valuable or valid sexual therapy is bullshit. But that is GOOP’s game, offering bullshit along with some okay information. Women can tell the difference! (which is totally not at all why GOOP now has a coding system to help sort out utter bullshit from basic bullshit).

Women who are suffering with sexual difficulties are desperate and they don’t need someone, especially someone with a large platform, to suggest anything but legitimate therapies.

As for this GOOP feminine ideal which features heavily (but in a skinny way, you know) in the section that I read and the reason I couldn’t stomach reading more, that is their brand. The womanly (but in a thin, heterosexual way) woman. The submissive woman who is charmingly convinced by her man that she can still order him around with a giggle and a smile. The thin, blonde, California woman who is rad enough to be friends with a snake charmer and smoke a cigarette down on the beach.

GOOP has mastered offering the Stepford woman as the model of empowerment and it is making them rich.

 

 

Discussion

15 thoughts on “GOOP recommends a “sacred snake ceremony” for better sex. I have questions.

  1. In defense of GOOP and GOOPASUTRA*, given the trouser snake connection, an obvious one, and Freud’s own (apocryphal?) association of “the snake” with trousers and the instinctive aversion primates (and many other animals) have to a snakelike appearance (perhaps the only thing I’ve said with any evidence to support it), could this class (therapy? whatchamacallit?) actually be a way of habituating female primates with their archetypal enemies and therefore make them more embracing of the trouser snake?

    Could this be GOOP empowering women to take on their own sexuality as a weapon and a force that they could use… (OK, I too got nothing).

    Or could all of GOOP be yet another evil design of the patriarchy to get women to accept subservient roles but also (genius right?) enjoy sex?!

    We’ll know if they start introducing spider therapy. After all, men are handsy right, and what better way to habituate women to being groped than by having tarantulas all over them as they dance?

    GOOP is the first sign of The Handmaid’s Tale!!

    Love(d) The Blessed Gwyneth as an actor. Cannot stand this turbulent bullshit.

    *Not. They’re indefensible.

    Posted by palfreyman1414 | July 7, 2018, 1:27 pm
  2. I used to follow Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP out of some sort of sick curiosity I guess, but after reading your many posts about her and the ridiculous GOOP, I stopped. For most people, we see it for the complete bullshit that it is but I agree with all your posts, and in particular appreciate you keeping it real. These ridiculously ill conceived, and in some cases out right dangerous, fantasies of what women should be striving for are troubling and regressive, and should continue to be called out for the anti-feminist BS that it is. The fact that you’re writing is well-informed and completely hilarious makes it all that much more enjoyable. Thanks for what you do! Keep up the great work! Not that I get the impression that you would, but please never hold back LOL !

    Posted by fabulouslawrencesisters | July 7, 2018, 2:01 pm
  3. Now if it helped the snakes have a better sex life…..

    Posted by Angiportus | July 7, 2018, 2:30 pm
  4. A) This wouldn’t fly here in Australia because of, you know, snakes. Here they are very likely to be venomous so we try and avoid them.
    B) I have concluded that GOOP is just a giant practical joke that has got completely out of hand. To the extent that they are now publishing the most ridiculously stupid things in order to see when people will finally catch on.

    Posted by Helen | July 7, 2018, 5:18 pm
  5. I am SO glad I subscribed to this page…

    Posted by Rusty Dixey | July 7, 2018, 10:07 pm
  6. “Apparently, being masculine is earning your own money and having opinions”

    Specific opinons, please. A male having doubts about courtship behaviors like “grabbing them by…” is clearly having non-masculine opinions.

    “Medusa was turned into a monster as punishment by Athena for being raped by Poseidon”
    Ah, it’s a detail which was missing from the Greek mythology books of my childhood (well, there were books for children). Athena is presented as one of the less jerkass gods of the ancient Greek pantheon, but, I needed to be reminded, the operative word is “less”.
    Poseidon, along with Zeus, Appolo and Ares, were already on the alpha-jerkass list.
    In retrospect, ancient myths are very fuzzy on the concept of consensual sex. Especially whenever immortals and half-gods are involved.

    Re: the main topic of this post, snake ceremony.
    *rationalizing mode*
    According to people keeping reptiles and snakes as pet, handling snakes is not as icky as we may think. So I guess the women attending the sex sacred secret snake seremony (5S) may be in for a good surprise – snakes are not as frightening as one could think. I can see how this could be relaxing. I also guess, now that the customers have happily tried something silly, they could be in the mood to try more silly things, like having sex.
    The surprise could be, they discover they have terminal ophiophobia. That’s less good, for everybody involved.
    Personally, to relax, I prefer to go to a cat tearoom. If anything, drinking a nice cup of tea surrounded by cats is much cheaper than this proposed 5S. But, whatever floats your boat, so if you want to try snakes, go for snakes.
    *end rationalizing mode*

    No, wait, did I just write that I find cats aphrodisiac?
    No, I didn’t. I do not. I like them, but no. Not like this.
    OK, so there is something icky bout this whole 5S, but it’s not precisely – or solely – the part where snakes are involved.

    Posted by Athaic | July 8, 2018, 1:03 am
  7. I have a friend who has several exotic reptiles (she has special licensing) and teaches classes about them. I cannot wait to share this blog with her, because I will be able to hear her laughing about the Goopasutra all the way from Schenectady.

    Posted by Sharon E. Cathcart | July 8, 2018, 8:36 am
  8. “Snakes that hunt in trees tend to have particularly good vision so if there was a snake that could see you for your whole you it would more likely be something like an eyelash viper rather than a snake that spends most of its time underground like a worm snake.”
    I’m dying with laughter. This is amazing.

    Posted by Kelly Dunagan | July 8, 2018, 9:22 pm
  9. Careless handling of snakes could also be a superb way to contract salmonella.
    https://www.petcoach.co/article/salmonellosis-reptile-owners-at-risk-from-turtles-lizards-a/

    Posted by Britt | July 9, 2018, 10:08 am
  10. Dr Jen,

    I loved your approach to this but I also want to thank you for the third last paragraph. As someone with a whole host of gynae issues (just had laparoscopy, removal of polyps/cervical erosion and insertion of a mirena coil to hopefully reduce my thickened endometrium which is causing prolonged (15 days) periods and severe pain) I can actually see how desperate women get sucked into this. This is a more extreme version of some of the nonsense that floats around the interwebs.

    However, in the ten years it took me to get a doctor to take me seriously, I did actually try some less crazy sounding treatments. I used natural yogurt (actually on aGeneral Practioner (GP)’s advise because when you’ve had thrush constantly for 18 months and every time you try and see a doctor they tell you to use freaking caniston and you want to scream about it, but you never get to see the same GP twice and you don’t want to have sex because everything feels raw but it’s not fair on your boyfriend even though he’s being lovely about it and you’ve had him treat himself for thrush and then a doctor tells you that ‘some women just have pain in their vaginas’, I PROMISE you it sounds like something that could work and you will try anything.

    I love your work and I think it’s really important but I think the desperation of some women gets lost. I would do anything to know that I can have a normal sex life. So please, please continue to call Goop up on it but I’d love to hear about some alternatives for women who want to go down a proper, medical route but are being bashed by a system that doesn’t listen to them.

    Posted by Etta | July 11, 2018, 2:51 am
    • I know many doctors dismiss women with your exact symptoms. It is hard to give guidance in a post, that is exactly why I am writing a book. So you can look at your symptoms and know what exam and tests to ask for. For example, no one should be given the diagnosis of chronic yeast with out a culture which goes to the lab and sensitivities to say what the yeast is sensitive too, 70% of women who are told they have chronic yeast do not have that. Chronic yeast is almost always easy to suppress (not treat) so if symptoms persist then another cause for pain must be sought. I am hoping I can walk women though that when I have 300 pages! I hear you. I really do.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | July 11, 2018, 8:39 am
      • Thank you for your response. It is really hard to keep the faith in medicine especially when you have to demand to be heard. I’ll be going back to my surgeon in about six weeks, demanding more of his time to try and work out why, exactly, my vagina hurts seemingly at random. It’s exhausting and it’s a massive strain on my relationship.

        Having amazing doctors out there like you who do hear us makes all the difference in the world. Please don’t stop.

        By the way- if you do ever want to publish anything involving talking to women, I’d be more than happy to share anything with you and readers if they want to better understand some of the challenges.

        Posted by Etta | July 31, 2018, 7:50 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: I reviewed all 161 of GOOP’s wellness products for pseudoscience. Here’s what I found. | Dr. Jen Gunter - October 13, 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Recent Tweets

%d bloggers like this: