Practice, Practice, Practice
By CRISTINA NEHRING
MASTERS OF SEX
The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love
By Thomas Maier
Illustrated. 411 pp. Basic Books. $27.50
“I can’t imagine anything that would make for more dull reading,” the sex researcher William Masters declared when asked, in his 60s, if he wished to write an account of his life. Now that account exists — and it’s a bombshell. It is also anything but envy-inducing or seductive. And therein, perhaps, lies its crucial importance.
Can the life of a man who spent most of the waking hours of his adult life either having sex, watching sex or talking sex be sad? The answer, as we see in Thomas Maier’s eye-opening “Masters of Sex” is a resounding yes.
Born in Cleveland in 1915 and banished 15 years later to boarding school by an abusive father who told him to expect no further support, Masters worked hard despite academic limitations. It was in medical school that he…