Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website, Goop, has a new crazy offering: a $66 ornamental rock that you stick up your vagina.
Despite absolutely no scientific studies and only a handful of anecdotes, walking around with a porous green rock inside you like you're a chicken promises better orgasms, hormonal balance and an enviable glow. Sure, doctors are warning that the "jade egg" puts users at risk for toxic shock syndrome and bacterial vaginosis (maybe the glow is actually a fever?), but Gwyneth Paltrow, famous for steaming her vagina, is a believer.
In an interview with Goop, “beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend” (note the absence of any medical expertise) Shiva Rose explains how to use and care for the jade egg.
She says users should first boil their jade eggs in order to clean them. Or one can also spiritually cleanse these eggs by setting them out under a full moon or by burning sage so that the eggs absorb the energy. Though more specific instructions are probably saved for the package insert, Rose does mention that users should insert their eggs in their vaginas with their fingers.
And then when they are done (though Rose doesn’t specify exactly how long people should use these eggs), they simply wrap their eggs up in silk.
Dr. Jennifer Gunter, a California ob-gyn, wrote a scathing response to the Goop interview about jade eggs. As Gunter argues, “… the claim that [jade eggs] can balance hormones is, quite simply, biologically impossible. Pelvic floor exercises can help with incontinence and even give stronger orgasms for some women, but they cannot change hormones.”
And even if jade egg use does help to promote pelvic floor strength, Gunter said she worries that it might come with a cost. If one walks around all day wearing a jade egg, as Rose suggests, then one might risk overexerting one’s pelvic floor muscles. Gunter points out that this could lead to pelvic pain and pain during sex—the exact opposite of what jade egg enthusiasts proclaim.
Nevermind the western medicine-level risks surrounding this crotch cure-all. These suckers have been around forever and, cue the gongs, they're ancient and Chinese so you know they're good. Goop hails the jade egg as a “strictly guarded secret of Chinese concubines and royalty in antiquity.” Paltrow exoticizes Chinese culture in her publication's write-up of the eggs, which appeals to stereotypes about Eastern cultures (and Asian people) as secretive, mystical and submissive.
Plenty of people appreciate rituals and spiritual practices and also think that these practices can have profound effects on physical health. However, medical experts warn that such practices should not replace medical advice. Consumers should be cautious when spiritual experts claim to have medical expertise. Rose makes clear that some people—especially pregnant people and those with IUDs—should consult their doctors before using a jade egg.
Nevertheless, she attributes a number of medical benefits to jade egg use: namely, vaginal muscle toning, hormone balance, menstrual cycle improvement, sexual health improvements and kidney strength. She also claims that jade eggs help to restore feminine energy (though this is inherently problematic since femininity itself is a social construct.)
The Goop article includes a disclaimer: “This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.”
Those suffering medical problems with any of their reproductive organs or with sexual health in general should go see a medical professional. Beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend’s advice should never be confused with medical advice.