A recent issue of the weekly Goop newsletter featured a particularly eye-popping article on jade eggs. The eggs are meant to be inserted into your vagina to, ostensibly, increase orgasms, restore hormonal balance and improve your “feminine energy.” And they start at only US$55 each! Sound suspicious? Here, everything you need to know — but were afraid to ask — about Gwyneth’s latest bizarre health recommendation.
For starters — what exactly is a jade vagina egg?
About the size and shape of a Cadbury Creme Egg (2.5 cm in width and 5 cm in height), they’re made from weighty, dark-green nephrite jade. Women “use” the egg by inserting it into their vaginas, like a tampon. Actress/blogger Shiva Rose, noted jade egg proponent (and, coincidentally, vendor!), says in a Goop Q and A that the eggs have the potential to “cultivate sexual energy, increase orgasm . . . intensify feminine energy, and invigorate our life force.” (Rose says that when she “wears” her egg in public, she attracts a lot of attention from the opposite sex).
How does Gwyneth Paltrow fit in?
Goop — the lifestyle/shopping site founded by Gwyneth Paltrow — is known for making outlandish health claims. Any Paltrow-logist knows that the actress- turned-lifestyle guru has been hawking preposterous pseudo-science alongside US$425 track pants for a while now (there’s even a book about it). Two years ago, she raised ire by advocating vaginal steaming (medical professionals have warned it can lead to yeast infections). Rose is described on Paltrow’s site as a “beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend,” and the egg is for sale on Goop’s online shop (it’s currently listed as “sold out,” sigh). The article includes a standard disclaimer (the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Goop), but it also appears under the site’s “Do” section.
How are the eggs supposed to work?
Women use them by placing an egg inside the vagina, wearing them anywhere from an hour to overnight (though apparently the latter can produce “too much energy” in some women). The aim is to tone vaginal muscles by moving the egg (another proponent describes their use as “vaginal weight lifting”). Rose says she even wears hers while walking around.
Should women actually use these eggs?
Not according to the many, many medical professionals who have weighed in on the topic. Dr. Jen Gunter, an ob/gyn, unleashed a particularly blistering blog post, saying it was “the biggest load of garbage I have read on your site since vaginal steaming,” adding that “it is possible the pained expression of clenching your butt all day could be what is leading people to stare, not some energy glow.”
Dr. Marjorie Dixon, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist in Toronto, is another detractor: “As a physician, I look for objective information that is validated, substantiated and reputable. There is nothing —nothing! — in the way of scientific evidence to suggest that these eggs work.” Dixon says that products like this “prey on women’s need to perpetuate youth and feel sexually vibrant in spite of the fact that physiologically, things obviously change as we age.”
Okay so maybe the science isn’t there yet, but what’s the harm in trying?
As Dr. Gunter writes, “jade is porous which could allow bacteria to get inside . . . This is not good . . . It could be a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis or even the potentially deadly toxic shock syndrome.”
So if not the jade egg, what should I be doing to keep my vagina in shape?
Dr. Dixon calls Kegel exercises the “gold standard” for strengthening your pelvic floor. (The muscles there can weaken with age, especially after childbirth, leading to an overall weakening of sensation, a reduced ability to have orgasms and potential leaking.) Here’s how: standing or sitting, clench your vagina muscles as if pulling an elevator up from the “ground floor” (the entry of your vagina) towards the “top floor” (your belly button), and then slowly release back down. Repeat 10 to 15 times, once or twice a day.
Why would my imaginary BFF GP recommend something that doesn’t work and could be dangerous?
Tough love time: Gwyneth is not your friend. She is a celebrity—a conglomerate really—that makes big bucks convincing people her perfect life is attainable if only you do this one thing (in this case, stick a semi-precious stone into your vagina).
Should I consciously uncouple from all Gwyneth-endorsements?
That depends on which recommendations you have been following. If you go to Goop for seared tuna recipes and overpriced t-shirts, feel free to continue. For anything relating to health, best to block out Princess P. and consult a professional.