Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love
Now a New Showtime Original Series
Showtime's dramatic series Masters of Sex, starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, is based on this real-life story of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Before Sex and the City and ViagraTM, America relied on Masters and Johnson to teach us everything we needed to know about what goes on in the bedroom. Convincing hundreds of men and women to shed their clothes and copulate, the pair were the nation's top experts on love and intimacy. Highlighting interviews with the notoriously private Masters and the ambitious Johnson, critically acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier shows how this unusual team changed the way we all thought about, talked about, and engaged in sex while they simultaneously tried to make sense of their own relationship. Entertaining, revealing, and beautifully told, Masters of Sex sheds light on the eternal mysteries of desire, intimacy, and the American psyche.
fondled, and sometimes kissed virtually each area of their bodies, without the expectation of intercourse. They sometimes stood in front of full-length mirrors and examined each other. As Sullivan explained, the touching exercises removed the fear and ignorance of a woman’s body for these worried men. “And you do it to them too,” she recalled. “You show them how the testicles are like the ovaries, the scrotum is like the larger labia, and how the penis is like the clitoris. So they feel that it’s
narrow religious views,” explained Meyners. “When people are very young and given a lot of negative judgments about sexuality, it influences them—especially the male erection.” Meyners advised male patients feeling guilty about masturbation that touching themselves wouldn’t impair sex with their wives. In treating patients, Meyners didn’t rely much on the Bible or the godhead of Sigmund Freud. He just followed the “sensate focus” exercises until the therapy performed its magic. Without his
come. So we stayed in touch. We just stayed good friends.” A few years later, when Noah’s daughter Joan married Harry Froede, Gini invited the newlyweds over for dinner at her house for old times’ sake. Joan knew Gini was still not married and said the judge’s relationship with Sylvia was “bumpy” at the time. It was just the three of them—the judge was away on business and Gini’s two children were absent. Joan was so pleased to see her father’s old friend that she didn’t grasp the dinner’s
self-help manuals than a medical textbook. “With orgasmic physiology established, the human female now has an undeniable opportunity to develop realistically her own sexual response levels.” Sexual fulfillment, they emphasized, was all in her own hands. By comparison, the male sexual response portrayed by Masters and Johnson could seem inferior and in constant need of reassurance. “The ‘fear of performance’ developing from cultural demand for partner satisfaction has been in the past uniquely
talking about $100,000 a year for the next two years in support of our work. And we can’t afford to offend these people.” By that time, after so many rejections for government grants and other prestigious funding sources, Masters couldn’t turn down the support of a potato chip heiress and the relatively small request for her local pastor. He’d already learned to live with some compromises as part of his larger goals, even if it meant spending a night or two in the Playboy Mansion. “I’ve