Masters of Sex – Book and Film Review

There is a marvellous adventure waiting for you that comes in two forms: A book called Masters of Sex by Thomas Maier and a TV series of the same name, based on the biographical book about famed sex researchers, Masters and Johnson.

I broke my arm at the end of October and had to rest for a couple of months while it healed. During this time, I dived into both the book and the TV series and have been entirely enchanted by both of them.

The story of Masters and Johnson and their phenomenal life work which sparked the sexual revolution is really worthy of great study by anyone interested in sexuality. I am deeply impressed by how the creators of the TV series captured so many important details, both personal and professional and indeed, made a very sexy and yet information-rich set of programs.

When I teach Tantra, I am surprised that many younger people have never even heard about Masters and Johnson or their research. Not only that, what is really shocking is that people still continue to cling to very outdated concepts about sex, such as the concepts dreamed up by Freud. The debunking of Freud’s ideas on sexuality is covered beautifully in both the book and the TV series.

A quote from the book says:

“Whatever Freud’s analytical merits on the couch Masters and Johnson decided he was wrong on medical facts in the bedroom. The incontrovertible, see-it-for-yourself evidence of the pair’s colour movies disproved Freud’s views, which delineated between supposedly more satisfying vaginal intercourse and a less fulfilling, “immature” orgasm based on clitoral stimulation. When so many imbibed Freudian psychology from the schools, media, and popular culture, however, such a challenge was no small feat.
A later study by two Chicago academics of a dozen 1960’s era medical textbooks found that two thirds “continued to state, contrary to Masters and Johnson’s findings, that the male sex drive was stronger.” Half of textbooks by gynaecologists and other doctors serving women cited “procreation” as the main purpose of sex for most females. Two texts said most women were “frigid” and another two repeated Freud’s view that vaginal orgasm was the only “mature” sexual response.
Masters and Johnson said previous studies of sexuality were unfortunately “the result of individual introspection, expressed personal opinion, or of limited clinical observation”-a barb clearly aimed at Freud and his acolytes.
Their proof in the lab seemed undeniable. As the electrodes and other devices showed, the multi-orgasmic potential of the American female far outpaced that of the male, who faded, at least temporarily, after only one shot of glory. Based on medical fact, Master’s and Johnson’s exhaustive research offered to free Americans from cultural superstitions and the Freudian imprisonment of female sexuality.”

The book sticks only to facts while the filmed version takes certain creative liberties, which though not factual are quite pleasing in the flow of the series. For example, the star actor and actress do not look like either Masters or Johnson. However, they elegantly capture their personalities and quirks (as revealed in the book). We can both love and hate these characters, just as we may do with people we know in real life. There are elements we love in them and elements that disturb us. This quality of inventiveness on the part of the creators of the series actually enhances the whole message.

At the time Masters and Johnson did their research (during the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s), America was still very prudish. Because of this, their research had to remain in the closet till such time as they were ready to publish their findings. Having studied subjects and compiled data, in the laboratory, of an estimated 10,000 orgasms, their published findings blew the lid off American prudish ignorance around sex. One of the most shocking findings for Americans, and by default the rest of the English-speaking world, was about women’s sexuality.

A quote from William Masters in the book reads: “One of the important things we established – to our own satisfaction at least—is that the female is naturally multi-orgasmic.”

During an interview Masters and Johnson debunked Freud’s theory without mentioning him by name. “Are clitoral and vaginal orgasms truly separate anatomic entities?” They asked. “From a biologic point of view, the answer to this question is an unequivocal ‘No’.”

The book goes on to say: “Orgasm for women was a body-wide sensation – with an intense clitoral-pelvic awareness” and “often a feeling of receptive opening- than for men with their narrow, centralized focus on erection and ejaculation”.

“Older women didn’t have to end their love lives either. Among sixty-one active female participants over the age of 41, including three between the ages of 71-80, the results suggested aging might slow, but never extinguish, the intensity of passion.”

It is very entertaining to read salacious passages in the book regarding the study on penis size, the findings of which every man should pay close attention to. I know you may want the whole story here and now, but really, it is much more in context when you read it in the book and or watch it in the TV series.

The work of Masters and Johnson, who began as research colleagues and ended up marrying, is still cutting edge today. They introduced a sexual surrogacy program based on pure compassion, how to help single men find their way into healing sexual dysfunction so that they could eventually experience nurturing and fulling sexual relationships.

They also developed genius protocols for healing sexual dysfunction in the couple, helping thousands of couples to finally experience fulfilling sex.

When their research was launched into the public arena, huge controversy reigned. Both the book and the TV series cover this episode in detail. The book says: “Corry’s dispatch in the New York Times stressed numbers that were almost unimaginable. During the eleven-year study, Corry noted, some 10,000 orgasms were tracked through “direct observation of hundreds of men and women engaged in coitus and masturbation.”

“Psychiatrist George Krupp suggested Master’s and Johnson’s findings illuminated the world of sex that seemed in retrospect, like the dark side of the moon before NASA documented its deep curves and crevices.

Human Sexual Response transformed the public discourse about sex in America, opening a new era of candidness never before seen in the media”.

The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and the Tantra Renaissance, which is now developing all over the world, have Masters and Johnson to thank. Both the book and the TV series are great tributes to their life and work and the information in these is as valuable today as it was in the 1960’s.
I advise you to order both the TV series and the book Masters of Sex today!

Don’t wait till tomorrow because tomorrow never comes….

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