While this article is about the worst new sex related products, which was my original intention, it is also going to be a little bit about Dr. Jen Guntner. I had read about a number of new products that I found quite horrifying, and in researching them and looking for other items to include, I came across the good doctor. Literally everything I wanted to write about she already had the best information on her site, Dr. Jen Gunter- Wielding the Lasso of Truth. When it come to this type of information, she really is a Wonder Woman. Really, this article was never intended to just crib from her site, but on each item I wanted to include, she had already beaten me to it. Well played, Dr, Jen.
I will try to include my own spin on things, but what I know tends to overlap with what she knows- she just knows so much more. If what you read here is the type of information you find useful, and you want more like it by someone who is a highly trained expert, I strongly suggest you visit her site. She busts a lot of myths and nonsense about sex, reproduction, and women’s bodies perpetrated by women’s magazines, the media, and other sources of misinformation.
Dr. Jen (and I hope she does not find that demeaning as it is meant in the friendliest way) is an OB/GYN with a fellowship in infectious diseases and board certified in pain medicine. All her expertise and training allows her to put almost an entire alphabet after her name- MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM. Specifically I don not know what all those mean, but the general drift is that she really knows her stuff, something that becomes quite clear once you start reading her excellent blog. She is also a widely published writer.
This trip down the rabbit hole was initially inspired by the widely publicized story about the Jade Vaginal Eggs from Goop. Goop is the Gwyneth Paltrow owned site for people who enjoy throwing their money away on overpriced items with the added fun of many of them being totally non-functional hokum. I am not giving you a link because I don’t think you should ever go there. Like me, Dr. Jen is no fan of Goop or Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand of ignorant hucksterism. It appears that Dr. Jen may have been the first person to point out the problems with the Jade Eggs from Goop.
Here is the Goop headline for the product- “Better Sex: Jade Eggs for Your Yoni.” Here are the specs: Length: 1.57 inches, Width: 1.18 inches. This is a product you are supposed to put inside your “yoni”. Yoni is the word you use for the female genitals when you want to sound all mystical and ancient knowledgy. Yoni is a Sanskrit work for vulva, so technically they are getting things wrong right off the bat. Some definitions are more inclusive of the entire genitalia, but regular readers here should know that the vulva is the exterior of the genitals while the vagina is the interior. It would be wrong to say that you put anything inside your vulva.
So, what else can they get wrong? We have written about porous and non-porous sex toys here, and about the fact that just because you can put some things into your vagina, there are many things you definitely should not. A rock is one of those things. Here you get to pay over $50 for something that is very very cheap. Just Google polished nephrite jade and you will get an idea of just how much of a markup there is.
I quote here from the Goop site: “nephrite jade, has incredible clearing, cleansing powers. It’s a dark, deep green and very heavy—it’s a great stone for taking away negativity.” Nephrite jade is made up of calcium, magnesium, and iron. The only way it will take away negativity is if you get a big enough piece and whack yourself hard enough in the head with it to knock yourself unconscious. You will turn back to a fairly negative state when you awaken, however.
The claims that jade has magic powers is, of course, new age bullshit. But wait, there’s more! The ad copy continues: “Jade eggs can help cultivate sexual energy, increase orgasm, balance the cycle, stimulate key reflexology around vaginal walls, tighten and tone, prevent uterine prolapse, increase control of the whole perineum and bladder, develop and clear chi pathways in the body, intensify feminine energy, and invigorate our life force. To name a few!”
Are all of those claims as ridiculous? Actually, not quite. Technically, small heavy balls (historically of very non-porous materials) have been held inside the vagina to help with kegel exercises, which are a very good thing with or without a kegel exercise ball. It can help with urinary incontinence and increase your ability to squeeze your vagina, which can feel more pleasurable to your partner’s penis. You don’t need an over-price piece of rock to do this ($10-$20 for medical grade silicone is closer to the mark), and the rock itself is not a good idea. Its that porous issue thing.
They make it even worse when they suggest sleeping with the Jade Egg inside your vagina. It is pretty hard to do kegel exercises in your sleep, and certainly do not think for a moment that I am suggesting that this product would even be good for kegel exercise, because it isn’t. Remember toxic shock syndrome, linked to having things in your vagina for long periods of time? Porous Jade can harbor bacteria that they suggest you lodge in your vagina for hours. How on earth can that be a good idea?
When they do mention kegel exercises, they get that wrong, too. If you want to do them, go to legitimate sites and learn the proper way to do them. The Goop site suggests walking around with them in your vagina all day. That is one of the worst of the many wrong ways to do kegel exercises. As Dr. Jen points out, this by itself could be harmful. You should not be doing kegels while walking around, and you generally do them for short periods of time.
When all the criticism hit Goop from multiple directions, they just doubled down with more scientifically ignorant nonsense. Here is a key quote from their site: “If you feel like it’s been drained of energy, recharge it in the full moon just the way you would a crystal.” If you believe you can feel that the energy in your little rock has depleted (and it does not come with any sort of low energy indicator, which would be helpful), then I can see you having faith in the power of moonlight to charge it back up again. That is why solar cells work so much better at night.
Next, I found the Jiftip website. So far you should notice two trends. One, I am not giving you the websites for any of these products, and two, everything I found, Dr. Jen was already there with commentary. This a so-called medical product where they infer that it can protect you from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases without interfering with sensation. It works by covering just the tip of your penis, held in place by a very strong adhesive.
Everything is wrong about this. They call it a beta product, which is fine for software but ludicrous for a medical product. No testing on this product has been done. Whether it can actually prevent pregnancy is anyone’s guess.
By virtue of the design, it will not protect against many STIs, since things like herpes, HPV and genital warts can be transmitted by skin to skin contact, not seminal fluids. Without testing, we simply don’t know whether it can prevent the transmission of STIs through fluids.
Here is the even crazier part. You are supposed to hold off on ejaculating, pull out, and yank the thing off so you can have an orgasm. Since they admit that removal of the strip is painful, I don’t see a lot of people getting to the orgasm part unless they are into pain. Of course, you can ejaculate with the thing on, but whether that is a good idea or not has never been tested.
Not only is this product not ready for primetime, there is no planned path to turn this into a rel, and medically effective product. Most shockingly, they are selling this product for $8 for a three pack, with no proven efficacy, right now on their web site. For just $20, you can buy a 20 ml tube of their 2 Drop Orgasmic Lemongrass Oil. I could not find a description on the site, so I am not sure what it does. I have never tested a lube that was effective with just two drops. How it might be orgasmic is not explained.
Is Jiftip at least safe, even if it does nothing? I can’t tell you that either. Nor can I even be certain that this is intended to ever be a real product. They keep referring to it as a male sexual enhancement device. You know, the same thing that advertisers say about mail-order pills that try to make you believe that they will make you last longer and increase the size of your penis without ever specifically saying that.
Last but not least, we have a product that involves gluing your vagina shut. That alone should be all you need to know about this product. It is called Mensez- Feminine Lip-stick. Here is the very unclear description: “Mensez Feminine Lip-stick is a colorless combination of amino acids and oils in a lipstick applicator. For most women, use would begin prior to their normal period and continues as long as there is menstrual discharge, no pads or tampons needed. Mensez is a personal hygiene product that could change the way you live. Still in development and Not yet available to consumers.”
How does it work? Apparently, it seals your vagina shut. Does it work? Since it is not available, there is no way to know, but the inventor does get to throw in a dash of misogyny. He writes “”Yes, I am a man and you as women should have come up with better solutions than diapers and plugs. But you didn’t.”
I am not sure he did, either. This is a bit out of my wheelhouse, so let me turn to Dr. Jen again. She points out on her blog that this would have to be a completely revolutionary skin sealant, well beyond anything currently known. If it actually did work, it could become quite painful if you moved the wrong way. It also could quite possibly be abrasive, a bad thing for that part of the anatomy. Plus, she points out that while they claim it is “coming soon,” in reality, it would require FDA approval, as all menstrual products do. There is the herbal supplement loophole where products do not have to be proven effective and usually are not, but that is only for pills. Something mechanical like this, even if it worked, would take a long time to get approved.
In this article you learned about three terrible things and one good thing. That one good thing is Dr. Jen Gunter, the only thing in this article I can heartily endorse.