Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love
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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.
estrogen, in the body catapulted Allen’s reputation into the rarified academic air occupied by his teacher, Dr. Corner. Eventually, Allen left Rochester’s faculty to become the department chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Washington University medical school. About a decade older than Masters, Allen was considered a brilliant and skilled surgeon with a pleasant, if somewhat bland, demeanor. He became one of the nation’s youngest medical school department chairmen when he arrived in St.
thoughtful, as only a female scientist might consider under these circumstances. She “came in with a warm, moist towel and draped it over the phallus for a few minutes,” Gebhard recalled. “Sort of reminded me of a hot towel in a barbershop.” Then the experiment began. B y the late 1950s, most faculty and students still harbored only a vague idea what was going on with Masters and Johnson. In hushed voices, they spoke of experiments in snide or sinister tones. “Everybody was interested but they
that got away, the man she should have wed. At the time, however, Gini believed too much in Bill’s vision and was too caught up in their exciting, pioneering work together. “In retrospect, it would have been a nicer life, a more enjoyable life if I had married that judge,” she reflected years later. Or perhaps she was just fooling herself— maybe she really did, as others suspected, want Bill Masters for herself. 133 CHAPTER FIFTEEN Leaving School “I must confess no object ever disgusted me so
have erections. He was making the point that it was a common factor in human physiology that things become erect, whether it be an infant boy or an adult woman who is sexually aroused.” What might seem commonplace to Masters, after five years of observing human sexual physiology in all its splendor, was still quite jarring to his fellow faculty. After the close-up of jiggling breasts with electrodes attached, the film segued to increasingly intimate shots of female genitalia, with the eye of the
pay, kids in the house, and a TV on in the bedroom could ever get excited. Unlike the hardy, endlessly responsive female in bed, excitement for 164 The Human Response the male could be maintained for “extended periods” only by “carefully controlling variation and intensity of stimulative techniques”— in short, by not getting too excited too quickly. To satisfy a woman, a man’s control of the ejaculatory impulse was often essential, their investigation found. After the seminal release, some