“Masters of Sex” is a new upcoming drama series for Showtime, based on the biography written by Thomas Maier, “Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson.” The series is set to premiere on Sept. 29, starring Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson. The protagonists are described as the two pioneering researchers of human sexuality.
The show is based on true events, William Masters was an American gynecologist who became notable for his work within the sexuality research team called Masters and Johnson. Masters was the senior member on the research team and worked with Virginia Johnson. From 1957 until the 1990’s the team delved into the study of the human sexual response and the diagnosis of sexual disorders. Masters recruited Johnson as a research assistant after meeting her at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis.
While working as a team, the pair developed state-of-the-art medical instruments in order to measure sexual arousal in both men and women. With the use of these tools and other research techniques, Masters and Johnson observed around 700 men and women engaging in intercourse or masturbation in their laboratory. Through their observations and use of new medical instruments, Masters and Johnson identified four stages of sex, which was later dubbed the human sexual response cycle. The four stages of the cycle are, in order of occurrence during intercourse, the excitement phase, plateau phase, orgasmic phase, and resolution phase. The pair published their findings in their 1966 book entitled “Human Sexual Response.”
Despite the pairs professional and scientific success their relationship progressed further. Masters and Johnson married in 1971, after he divorced his first wife Elisbaeth Ellis to marry his partner. The couple ended up divorcing in 1992, which ended their professional and personal relationship. The series documenting the couple’s life and work is set to have 12 episodes in Season 1, in anticipation of the series premiere, “Masters of Sex” was honored as a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series.