Who’s your Daddy and what the heck is Sex, Love and Goop?
A lewd podcast and a saucy TV show prove that sex continues to be a subject of utter fascination — and a big moneymaker for those who do it right
As the subject of content for TV shows, movies, books and podcasts, sex is the gift that just keeps giving. Case in point, the explicit new podcast that’s blown up all over the American press, Call Her Daddy, Alex Cooper’s raunchy sex tips for girls. It’s the fifth most popular podcast in the world, just behind Michelle Obama (Joe Rogan is at number 1) — and has already earned the 27-year-old millions of dollars.
CALL HER DADDY
Cooper calls her podcast “a woman’s locker room conversation”. Polly Vernon, in The Times, calls it the lewdest, most graphic, hilarious/ghastly examination of complicated sexual misdemeanours and triumphs she’s ever heard. One thing’s for sure, it’s raunchily out there, having pioneered some interesting concepts like the “Gluck Gluck 9000” — Cooper’s step by step patented instructions on how to give the perfect oral sex (she swears that satisfaction is guaranteed). Her episode titles include “You’re Just a Hole”, “How I Glucked My Way to the Top”, “The Roadmap to his A**hole” and “The Toxic Dick Daze”.
The podcaster calls herself Father Cooper and refers to her devoted fans as the Daddy Gang. She conducts conversations with them, often via the direct messages they send on social media, and offers individual sex advice. What’s her best sex tip? “I would say the confidence you have in the bedroom should be the same confidence you find within yourself when you’re masturbating,” she says.
While Cooper doesn’t reveal the names of the men she speaks about on the podcast, giving them each a moniker instead, like Male X or Slim Shady, as she refers to her ex-boyfriend, she does say to have taken advice from a large number of males to share with her female listeners in a breathy, gossipy, sometimes hysterical dialogue with her one-time partner in the endeavour, Sofia Franklyn.
Cooper launched Call Her Daddy with Franklyn in 2018 and after the first two months had notched up over 2-million downloads. She split up with Franklyn acrimoniously in 2020, but signed with online streaming service Spotify in June this year, relaunching Call Her Daddy as a one-woman show in a deal reportedly worth $60m (almost a billion rand).
“There are so many serious topics that can be discussed, but this is a comedy podcast. I’m trying to make people feel good about themselves, confident about themselves, excited about sex,” says Cooper, adding that huge numbers of women have thanked her for “making sex sexy again”.
Cooper’s received some criticism for being antifeminist because of her focus on male pleasure. As Vernon puts it, with street harassment, everyday sexism and desperate confusion over consent, sex in the past four years has become about danger. “Women have been increasingly cast as sex’s victims, not its willing participants. Then here’s Cooper, talking like sex is fun, like knowing how to give brilliant oral sex is a core skill.”
Cooper argues that Call Her Daddy is feminist, though she prefers the term “empowerment”. She says the title of the podcast itself is a subversion of female sexual submission — the idea that your male sexual partner is your “daddy”.
Though Cooper has hitched her wagon to the clickbaitiest of subjects, she say that her advice for women who want to know about fail-safe techniques to pleasure their partners is a kind of empowerment.
For all her Gluck Glucking, Cooper places a lot of emphasis on female pleasure and has created a space for women to associate sex with silliness and fun rather than shame or darkness. She advocates for, in Vernon’s words, “a lighter, more comfortable, jollier relationship with sex it than those who fear sex, find it riddled and fraught with complex gender politics, have not acquired the language, the will or the social context to discuss and dissect it freely”.
SEX, LOVE AND GOOP
Gwyneth Paltrow is another celebrity turning our eternal fascination with sex into big bucks with her Netflix series Sex, Love and goop. The New York Times has called the show “splendidly uncool”, with its consciously diverse long-term couples, all of whom are experiencing some level of sexual frustration or dysfunction.
The couples in the show air their problem, usually a sexuality mismatch, and then each couple workshops their issues with some sort of sexual healing practitioner. Everything about the show is, like Paltrow, soft, subtle, clean and well ironed, with only the faintest hint of kink in the form of a silk scarf or metal chin whip.
But not for whipping, promises sexologist and expert on erotic blueprints Jaiya Ma. It’s just “to feel the way it drips, and the temperature, there’s no affect”. Also, couples are encouraged to connect with their animal selves by scampering about on the floor, growling and hissing and, since it’s Paltrow, there’s the obligatory repeated use of the word “yoni”.
WATCH | The trailer for 'Sex, Love & goop'
Despite the “yoni” mentions, there are relatively few cringe moments in the series. Instead, it’s rather intriguing to see people develop in their sexual relationships even as their vulnerability shows.
As Michaela Boehm, relationship coach on the series, puts it, “when it comes to the sexual realm, with a little bit of skill and a little bit of intervention, everyone can learn”.