27 November 2013 7:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The TV adaptation is a hit, but who were the real Masters and Johnson? This biography uncovers the story of the couple whose unusual scientific researches – they studied 14,000 orgasms – kickstarted a sexual revolution

In a laboratory in St Louis, William Masters and Virginia Johnson rigged up test subjects to electrocardiogram and respiratory monitors and asked them to masturbate. The apparatus was a sort of orgasmic polygraph that meticulously documented, as Thomas Maier puts it, "each pulse, breath, thrust and quiver". The scientists also observed physiological changes in women through a motorised Plexiglas phallus, nicknamed Ulysses, inside which a camera was secreted. It was radical, controversial research for the mid-50s, undertaken with utmost discretion, though there never seemed to be a lack of willing subjects.

Masters and Johnson went on to watch volunteers having sex through a one-way mirror. Wired up like lab monkeys, the couples seldom knew each other »

- Christopher Turner

Report a problem



Similar News Items

Michael Sheen
Hugh M. Hefner
Lizzy Caplan


IMDb.com, Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our users only. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb's opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. Please visit the source responsible for the item in question to report any concerns you may have regarding content or accuracy.

See our NewsDesk partners