Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love

( 77 )

Overview


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 ...

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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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Overview


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.

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Editorial Reviews

Louis Bayard
Thomas Maier's intelligent and well-conceived biography reminds us that, as recently as the mid-1960s, "the word 'pregnant' could be bleeped from any television show. Sex education was kept out of the classroom." Copulation itself was "the private domain of the marital bed." Masters and Johnson, with their pharmaceutical calm and their vast edifices of data, made sex an over-the-counter commodity—and, along the way, demolished some entrenched myths.
—The Washington Post
Cristina Nehring
"I can’t imagine anything that would make for more dull reading," the sex researcher William Masters declared when asked, in his 60s, if he wished to write an account of his life. Now that account exists - and it's a bombshell. It is also anything but envy-inducing or seductive. And therein, perhaps, lies its crucial importance.
—The New York Times
Library Journal
This densely packed biography analyzes the lives of well-known sex therapists William Masters and Virginia Johnson and their groundbreaking work on human sexuality. Drawing on numerous interviews with the couple, Maier (Dr. Spock: An American Life) creates a fascinating, provocative work that will serve as a standard on the topic. Unfortunately, actress Dorie Barton's narration is ill matched to the material; she seems at times to be addressing an audience of fellow sorority sisters. For this reason, the print copy alone is recommended, for university libraries supporting therapy curricula and for larger public libraries. ["Academics and amateur sexperts alike will rejoice," read the review of the Basic Bks: Perseus hc (Xpress Reviews, LJ 4/17/09).—Ed.]—Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Newsday writer Maier (The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings, 2003, etc.) offers a dry look at the research team who unlocked the secrets of America's bedrooms, ushering in the sexual revolution of the late 1960s. The authors of Human Sexual Response, the incendiary 1966 primer that inaugurated the field of couples sex therapy, William Masters and Virginia Johnson had been research partners since 1956, when Masters, a doctor specializing in fertility and reproductive dysfunction, hired Johnson as an assistant at Washington University. Johnson, a 31-year-old divorcee with two children, was a college graduate from Missouri with little knowledge of medicine but a good deal of aplomb. Masters, ten years her senior and married with two children, had just gotten the green light to explore the uncharted terrain of human sexuality. Warned that he was committing academic suicide, Masters nonetheless delved into the clinical observation of coupling, masturbation, climaxing and performance anxiety. All the while Johnson was at his side, coaching the testing partners, filming, recording data and remaining admirably uncritical. Over ten years the two cemented their research and, discreetly, their amatory partnership. Though they were forced out of the umbrage of the university, they enjoyed remarkable success in their private practice, unseating psychoanalysis as the preferred mode of healing sexual dysfunction. With the publication of their work, they also became famous and rich, though later books on homosexuality and AIDS tarnished their reputations. Maier tries to get at the kernel of this curious and enduring partnership-they finally married in 1971, divorced in 1992-though Masters in particularremains a hard nut to crack, and the narrative lacks the punch that such a subject should merit. An unsatisfying biography of a bold team whose influence on cultural mores and women's sexual emancipation cannot be underestimated.
From the Publisher

Nelson DeMille, bestselling author of The Gold Coast and The Gate House
“The subject of this book—sex and love—should interest just about everyone. As a bonus, Thomas Maier is a very fine writer, an accomplished biographer, and an astute reporter. If you read only one biography this year, it should be this first-ever look at the secretive lives of Masters and Johnson.”

Gay Talese, author of Thy Neighbor’s Wife and A Writer’s Life
“A well-written and insightful account of Masters and Johnson, who, in a clinical sense, probably knew more about sex and marital love than any other couple in America”

Debby Applegate, Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher
Masters of Sex is a terrific book about the unlikely couple who touched off the sexual revolution. More than a biography, this is an intimate history of sex in the twentieth-century.”

Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer
“No novelist could come up with something as remarkable as the real life story of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the married experts giving advice to America on sex and love. With insightful reporting and writing, Thomas Maier has captured this extraordinary relationship between these male and female sex researchers, a legacy that transformed the way couples live today.”

Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., Past President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and author of Prime: Adventures and Advice About Sex, Love and the Sensual Years
“It’s hard to imagine any sex researcher or serious student of sexuality who wouldn’t profit from reading this book. The information revealed in Masters of Sex has never surfaced before—and besides being a real contribution to the history of science, it’s a totally captivating read!”

Hugh Hefner, editor in chief, Playboy magazine
“Thomas Maier has written the intimate, engaging biography that Masters and Johnson deserve. Critics often accused the pair of ‘dehumanizing’ sex with their research—of removing its mystery. But as Gini Johnson told Playboy in 1968, mystery is just another name for superstition and myth. The more we know about the physiology of arousal, the better we can enjoy the uniquely human experience of sex for pleasure. Masters and Johnson showed tremendous courage in their research.”

Booklist (starred review)
“A wonderfully written and totally absorbing look at an amazing couple.”

O, The Oprah Magazine
“Perhaps influenced by its steamy subject matter, Masters of Sex…may strike some readers as unusually graphic for a biography, but this unsettling story of sex and science in theory and practice is ultimately more cautionary than titillating.”

Library Journal Online
“Award-winning biographer Maier…delivers the first in-depth look at a complex couple who helped revolutionize the study of human sexual response. Academics and amateur sexperts alike will rejoice.”

Discover magazine
“Maier’s illuminating biography delves into the lives of the couple that started science’s sexual revolution.”

The American Prospect
“Absorbing…Masters of Sex is this spring's true must-read book for those looking to revisit the heady, early days of the sexual revolution.”

The Economist
“If there is a moral to this tale, it is perhaps that the human heart remains as much of a mystery as the sex organs once used to be.”

The Daily Beast
“Sedulously researched and deeply absorbing…Masters of Sex is a richly informed and elegantly organized account of the two people behind the logo that stood for new sexual horizons.”

The Buffalo News
“Writing a readable but serious biography of Masters and Johnson was no easy task. The natural impulse is to drain such passionate clinicality of personality and leave a hollow crusade in its place. Maier’s book resists it constantly. It’s about heroes and flaws and a couple of people whose lives underlay a good half of what we know for sure about what we all think we know so much.”

New York Times Book Review
“A bombshell…eye-opening.”

New York Times
“Told with patience and care...Maier writes well, and with humor.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465079995
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 7/30/2013
  • Edition description: Media tie-in
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 128,123
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Thomas Maier is the author of the critically acclaimed Dr. Spock: An American Life, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings, which was adapted into a Warner Home Video documentary; and Newhouse, which won the Frank Luther Mott Award for Best Media Book. An award-winning investigative journalist at Newsday, he lives with his wife and three sons in Long Island, New York.
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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Phase 1

1 Golden Girl 3

2 Heartland 14

3 Mrs. Johnson 22

4 Never Going Home 30

5 A Wonder to Behold 39

6 The Fertility Expert 47

7 The Good Wife 57

8 Academic Freedom 66

9 Through the Peephole 76

Phase 2

10 The Matrix 87

11 The Experiment 95

12 Volunteers 103

13 Noah 116

14 Masks 121

15 Leaving School 134

16 A Matter of Trust 141

17 Revealing Secrets 150

18 The Human Response 156

Phase 3

19 The Excitement of Release 171

20 Focusing Feelings 176

21 Sexual Healing 185

22 Surrogates 196

23 Playboys and Patrons 203

24 Repairing the Conjugal Bed 211

25 The Scent of Love 218

26 Betrayals 225

27 The Marriage Compact 231

Phase 4

28 Feminist Movement 241

29 The Business of Sex 252

30 The Pleasure Bond 260

31 Guide to the Stars 270

32 Conversion and Reversion 281

33 The Promise of a Future 299

34 Beauty and the Beast 307

35 Crisis 319

36 Breakup 331

37 For the Roses 339

38 Couples 345

39 In Memoriam 354

40 Forget-Me-Nots 367

A Note on Sources 377

Notes 379

Selected Bibliography 391

About the Author 397

Index 399

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 77 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(60)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    When Fine Investigation Reads Like Pulp Fiction!

    Thomas Maier has successfully brought to life the lives of two of the more important figures in the history of scientific investigation of human sexual behavior in a manner that would doubtless have made the subjects of this biography giggle in retrospect. MASTERS OF SEX is a well written, solidly researched ('based on interviews, Masters' unpublished memoir, and clinic documents') near exposé of the fascinating lives of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, two creative thinkers who disrupted their private lives to engage the country in a mass retrieval of sexual behavior, characteristics, follies, fantasies and abuses that lead to their magnum opus HUMAN SEXUAL RESPONSE.

    By detailing the investigating techniques and the manner in which the couple drew throngs of eager workers to carry out their detailed questionnaires distributed throughout the country makes for reading that is peppered with borderline taste and daring and makes a book about 'scientific investigation' as fun to read as a plain wrapper novel! But the end result in reading this lengthy book is best tied to the subtitle of Maier's choice - 'The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love'. For all the dalliances Maier takes in uncovering the skills of his workers and the rather rocky life patterns of the subjects of this biography, he still convinces the reader that the work by these two strange but important people truly altered the way we have grown into examining sexuality today. Without their work we may have still been in the Victorian era! Well written and always entertaining, this is a book from which we learn, and a book we enjoy as a bit of a racy novel.

    Grady Harp

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Topic - Not well executed.

    This was a very frustrating book because I came away with the feeling that there was a deeper, even more interesting, story to be told about the motivations of the various individuals. I was never sure whether this was conjecture on my part or was being hinted at by the author. On the other hand, I did come away wanting to understand their work, as it is seen today, more fully

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    Shadow

    Hello if you are a single guy reply to me for nook sex

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    To Rylle

    Can you suck my pus.sy?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Maaon

    Anyone on

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    Hi

    Me

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Where's all the pages?

    Interesting book so far. My copy goes from page 168 to 171. I paid for a complete book. Can someone fix this? Also don't appreciate the off topic posts trying to arrange hook-ups in the reviews.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    To jess

    How old r u

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    To shadow

    Res 17

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Need master

    Sexy girl in search of master reply to shadow

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    To emily

    Fuk with your self

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    To kat

    My name is liam from 1D and i want to date u cause ur so nice

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    To girl to all guys

    YES ABSOLUTLY WHAT CITY DO LIVE IN

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    Shela to Gary

    I'd love to. Name the place.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    Kat

    Heyy

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    To madi

    Connor walks in and buys her a drink trn brings her to a hotel room

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    Linn to anyone

    Hey im a girl and anyone wanna fuq?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Emily to below

    Shut up who r u

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Kyle

    Fuk u guise

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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