Showtime has a new show premiering on September 29 starring Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen. The show, titled "Masters of Sex," will be about two researchers that study human sexuality. Michael Sheen will play William Masters and Lizzy Kaplan will play Virginia Johnson. According to Showtime, "The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance and pop culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a mid-western teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine."
"William Masters and Virginia Johnson became famous in the 1960s for their groundbreaking and controversial research into the physiology of human sexuality," writes NPR about the real-life couple who pioneered sex in America. "Instead of just asking people about their sex lives, Masters and Johnson actually observed volunteers engaging in self-stimulation and sexual intercourse. Changes throughout their bodies during arousal were measured with medical equipment."
Here are four things to know about "Masters of Sex": (1) The series is an adaptation of 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" which was first published in 2009 (2) The pilot of the show was directed and executive produced by John Madden, an Academy Award nominee. (3) Other stars of the series include: Caitlin Fitzgerald (It's Complicated), Nicholas D'Agosto (Heroes) and Teddy Sears (American Horror Story), Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale. (4) In real life, it wasn't until Maier's book that the work of Masters and Johnson was uncovered.
"Before Masters and Johnson came along, the realm of sex - the subject of sex - was usually something you talked to your priest, your rabbi or your minister [about], or you found yourself lying on a couch, talking about your feelings, about your mother, to a Freudian-trained analyst," said Maier. "Bear in mind, when [Masters and Johnson] came along in the mid '50s, it was the height of Freud's impact on America. ... They thought the ... questions that people were posing and the answers that people were looking for were best addressed to a doctor who was well-trained in the subject of sex."
"Masters wanted to understand exactly how the body worked so that they could come up with therapies to fix the various different problems that married couples would have in the bedroom," adds Maier. "So they used a variety of different instruments. One of the instruments that they used was to trace the breathing and the heart rates and such. It was also used to internally observe sexual response by women, and that had a nickname called 'Ulysses.' But it was something that was all part of their clinical observation of how both males and females responded during sex."