My boyfriend and I binge watched the Showtime series “Masters of Sex” and once I finished I was keen to learn more so I decided to read the book by Thomas Maier. In the past I had learned a bit about Masters and Johnson when reading “Bonk” so this book was not entirely unfamiliar territory. It was interesting to read how the book differed from reality (although even in a non-fiction book like this I am sure that some liberties were taken). Overall it was an interesting read, however towards the end it started to drag on and I lost interest somewhat but powered through it to finish. If you are watching the series or plan to read the book and want to be surprised then I don’t think you need me to tell you not to read on, but you never know.
If you are unfamiliar, Masters and Johnson were pioneers in the research of human sexuality. Starting in the late 60s and working together for several decades they risked reputations and sacrificed personal lives and marriages to the cause of sex research. They published several books together and gained massive success and media attention. Masters and Johnson had a complicated personal relationship as well, he requested (or insisted, or implied that it would cost her job to refuse) that they have sexual relations together as part of the research. Johnson was driven and although she lacked credentials, she worked very hard to achieve respect in the field.
Masters and Johnson eventually opened clinics where they would assist couples with solving their sexual dysfunctions through a variety of methods, such as sensate focusing, sexual surrogacy and they claimed a high success rate in just a few weeks of treatment at their clinic. They wrote several other books, some not as popular as others. Specifically their book “Homosexuality in Perspective” which claimed that they were able to convert homosexuals with a 71.6% success rate. This was not well received in the community and Johnson herself stated that the results may have been fabricated.
In their personal lives, both Masters and Johnson were really married to their work and they both continued working until quite advanced ages. Masters in particular seemed to be a workaholic and was unable to really just be anything other than his professional self. Johnson married several times, and although her affair with Masters does eventually lead to a marriage, by all accounts it is more for convenience and image and really it does not end well.
So if you are having withdrawals from the TV series as we have a while to wait for Season 2, this might be a good read for you.