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Just after Kinsey created his scale, Dr. William Masters asked “what happens to the body during sex” among other questions (“Why would a woman fake an orgasm?”). Showtime’s new series, Masters of Sex, tells the story of William Masters and Virginia Johnson who dared explore human sexuality in a time when not much was known for sure. Adapted from Thomas Maier’s book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, The Couple Who Taught America How To Love, the show stars Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls, True Blood) as Virginia “Ginny” Masters and Michael Sheen (Underworld, the Twilight series) as Dr. William Masters.
If you haven’t seen the premiere of Masters of Sex then consider this your official SPOILER ALERT.
The first episode of the series reveals how William Masters, an OBGYN and fertility specialist, met Virginia Johnson, a twice divorced singer, when she starts working as a secretary in a midwestern teaching hospital. When Masters begins his unsanctioned experiments he needs a non-squeamish female assistant to help him uncover the biological and physiological responses of the body during sex.
To keep the show interesting, Masters and his wife are trying to have a baby, but leave it to the fertility specialist to be sterile. Also Johnson is exploring her sexuality – which, as she informs Masters, does not have to be directly linked to love – with Ethan Haas (played by Nicholas D’Agosto) another doctor at the hospital. Unfortunately, Ethan does not know that sex and love are not mutually exclusive. Drama ensues.
Throughout the entire episode Masters fights to represent his experiments as science. He argues that his discoveries are necessary, regardless of being labeled a pervert. And as an audience we believe him; we want him to succeed and help debunk sexual mythologies. Yet, in the final moments of the premiere episode Masters crosses the line. William Masters insists that he and his new assistant, Virginia Masters, must have sex… for the sake of science.
Venture into the history of sexuality with Showtime’s newest series, Masters of Sex, premiering September 29th. Brace yourself.