Monday, October 28, 2013

On The Cover of The Rolling Stone! "Masters of Sex" is Called "This Year's 'Mad Men' "

 To heck with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, it's Dr. Bill Masters & Company who are on "the cover of the Rolling Stone"! As the cover headline says, "Masters of Sex" is being called the 'New Mad Men." That's pretty good company. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Showtime Renews "Masters of Sex" for Second Season in 2014

Less than a month after its premiere, Showtime renewed "Masters of Sex" for a second season along with "Homeland." The new series is based on my biography of Masters and Johnson and was developed for television by Sony. This big endorsement by the U.S. cable network hopefully opens the door for more seasons to come. "Masters of Sex" is seen in more than 15 nations around the world and the book was recently re-issued with actors Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan on the cover, as well as a Spanish language version.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Power Showrunners and i-Poppin Praise: LA Times says Lizzy Caplan gets "rave critical notices as a character not even Shakespeare could have envisioned" -- Ahhh, the Bard! And we were aiming for Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion!'

The Los Angeles Times offers up a wonderful portrait of Lizzy Caplan and, at least to these unbiased eyes, manages to liken "Masters of Sex" to Shakespeare! How's THAT for eye-poppin' praise!
Lizzy Caplan with Reade Maier and
 his stunt double on the set of "Masters of Sex"
As the LA Times reports: "Now, she's earning rave critical notices as a character not even Shakespeare could have envisioned. In "Masters of Sex," she plays Virginia Johnson, one half of the famed sex research duo Masters & Johnson, whose 1966 tome "Human Sexual Response" became an unlikely bestseller, shattered myths about the female orgasm and helped ignited the Sexual Revolution. The drama, based on Thomas Maier's 2009 book of the same name, opens in 1956, the year that Johnson, a twice-divorced single mother, was hired as a secretary for William Masters (Michael Sheen), then a prominent gynecologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Though she lacked medical training or even a college degree, Johnson quickly became an invaluable collaborator and, later, his wife.As embodied by Caplan, Johnson is a woman well ahead of her time, at once sexually liberated and emotionally closed off."
 Congrats to Lizzy on a well-earned plaudit. And speaking of eye-popping praise, many congrats to Michelle Ashford who is at the top of the list of The Hollywood Reporter's "Power Showrunners To Watch For In 2014." As THR says: "Matching Homeland's promising 2011 launch with 1 million viewers, Showtime's period drama about real-life sex researchers Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson earned the rare distinction of improving in its second outing -- by 9 percent -- and grossed a premiere audience of 5.6 million viewers."

It's nice to be popular.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"Masters of Sex" Takes London and UK by Storm; Looks like a Hit, Mate; Anglo-American Unity is Affirmed with Import Show about Sex and Love

"Masters of Sex" -- both the show and book -- is taking London by storm, with tons of reviews and stories about the debut there this past week.

The Guardian weighs in on the new edition of the book that was released along with the new show, airing on Channel 4 in UK. "Maier offers a fascinating insight into the origins of America's sexual revolution," says the Guardian. 

The Daily Mail was wonderful to the show and had extremely nice words to say about the book. "Thomas Maier’s account is as thorough as it’s briskly paced. Full of shrewdness and sympathy, it also vividly evokes the spirit of the times," wrote the Daily Mail. "But perhaps most importantly of all, he’s nailed the central paradox that lies at the heart of the story. Masters of sex they may have been, yet in every other respect Masters and Johnson were hopelessly, almost childishly, naïve," said the Daily Mail.

And on Sunday, The Sunday Times of London asked me to write this essay below. Hope you enjoy:

Let’s talk about sex: A TV drama about the 1950s sex researchers Masters and Johnson proves we may now know all about desire but are still mystified by love

Thomas Maier Published: 6 October 2013
On the Hollywood set of Masters of Sex, the new American television drama, I watched Michael Sheen play Dr William Masters, marvelling at how he captured all the pent-up intensity of this world-famous sex researcher.
For nearly four decades, Masters was fascinated by his female associate Virginia Johnson (played by Lizzy Caplan). In secret, they conducted the largest sex experiment in US history, with hundreds of volunteers (portrayed by various naked supporting cast members in the show), hoping to win a Nobel prize in medicine.
The lives of Masters and Johnson and their relationship were emotionally intense, brimming with enough ambition, lust, risk-taking and backstage drama to fill a soap opera. Johnson, in particular, provided a new understanding of female sexuality, and their work proved the existence of female multiple orgasms.
Yet like many men, Masters found it difficult to express love.
When we chatted about his character, Sheen asked me — as the author of the book that inspired the TV series — about that paradox. Did Masters, a demanding control freak, ever really love Johnson? “Absolutely he’s in love with her,” I told Sheen, “but he always had difficulty showing it.”
He wasn’t the only one. When Masters and Johnson began their ground-breaking sex research in the 1950s, America was a prudish place, full of taboos and misconceptions. Looking back, it is easy to feel smug and nostalgic, as if we now have all the clinical answers. But in many ways, we remain as clueless about love as those a half century ago.
Today, we are flooded with information about Viagra and how-to manuals, but studies still show the same level of sexual dysfunction among adults as in the 1950s. We live in an age of pornography, where young people are expected to perform in the bedroom like the actors they see.
Yet for all the scientific details we received from experts such as Masters and Johnson, many of the eternal questions about human intimacy — the essential but often elusive communication between a couple — remain a mystery.
Masters and Johnson were keenly aware of this paradox. After their first clinical books became bestsellers, they realised the pendulum had swung too far. They spent the 1970s writing books and magazine articles specifically about “human loving”, designed to help couples balance things in their relationships, and not make everything about sexual performance.
After a decade of dispensing much-needed medical information, fuelling America’s so-called sexual revolution in the 1960s, they sensed the public longed for an emotional commitment that went beyond mere physical urges. Somehow their efforts to rid Americans of crippling sexual ignorance became linked with a popular culture saturated in pornographic films such as Deep Throat, sex dens such as Plato’s Retreat in Manhattan, and soft-core cable television glimmering nightly throughout the American heartland.
For years, these researchers from St Louis, Missouri, deliberately avoided the word love, usually at Masters’s insistence. “It means many different things to different people,” he declared.
Gradually, Johnson seemed bothered by criticism that their studies had tended to detach sex from emotion. In therapy sessions, her advice often tried to place sex in the context of human loving. By then married to each other, Masters and Johnson now spoke of the warm and comforting interplay between sex and love in ways they had once avoided with clinical precision.
The sexual revolution they helped to create had a profound impact. In a decade, the birth-control pill and other medical advances had allowed women far greater ability to control their own bodies, redefining the laws and social codes that once ruled their lives. The work of Masters and Johnson challenged Freud’s male-dominated theories about sex and underlined the power of female sexuality. Yet Masters and Johnson cautioned that this freedom could go too far, creating an ethical ambiguity that discouraged faithful commitment and opened the door to libertines.
In their own personal lives, Masters and Johnson kept searching for love with great difficulty. Johnson was twice-divorced with two children when she began the studies in 1956 with Masters, an unhappily married university gynaecologist with two children, living in the suburbs. As a condition of working together, Masters required Johnson to have sex with him, and they went on to have a long-term affair. When they married in 1971, they did so as much for business reasons — keeping their brand-name partnership together — as for love.
Twenty years later they divorced, without children. They told friends and family that they had never loved each other, though their close collaboration and fascination with each other belied that claim. Before he died in 2001, Masters married his long-lost college sweetheart, and Johnson began a similar Proustian search for her high-school beau to whom she lost her virginity. She died in July this year still wondering what love is all about.
“I can remember saying out loud — and I’m appalled as I remember it — being very pleased that I could be anything any man wanted me to be,” Johnson told me late in life. “In retrospect, I ask myself, ‘Jeez, did I lose myself that totally?’ But I was very much a product of my time, of the era.”
Today the same elusiveness about love exists in our modern “hook-up” culture. A new inarticulateness is wrapped in a worldly veneer of graphic language and images, but many of us remain essentially clueless about deep emotion. Although we are a society saturated with sex, we often seem to have learnt nothing. A 1999 study showed sexual dysfunction — the focus of Masters and Johnson’s lifelong work — is still a problem, and more prevalent in women (43%) than in men (31%) .
Experts say many men still struggle with intimacy, empathy and a respect for the common humanity of their sex partners. They often view women not as caring human beings but rather as video-game holograms or blow-up dolls.
As Masters and Johnson underlined late in their career, knowledge of carnal functions cannot replace wisdom of the heart. Our TV show portrays their sex studies with great candour and detail. But fundamentally their story is about this elusive search for love, something that is eternal. And it is as much of a challenge for this generation as it was for those in the past.
Masters of Sex begins on Tuesday at 9pm on Channel 4

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Merry Ole England Gets Merrier; "Masters of Sex" Debuts on Channel 4 in London Tonight.

Merry Ole England and the rest of the UK are now so much more merrier with the premiere tonight of "Masters of Sex" on Channel 4. Our London correspondent, Andrew Maier, emailed
this poster from the subway .. er, tube, touting the new show. Below is one of my favorite pieces from England, written by Mr. Charles Laurence, who interviewed me here in NY.

Masters of Sex: Did the researchers find joy in the science?

Sex researchers Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson told us about the goings on under the covers, but they left one questioned unanswered...

Charles Laurence
Sex researchers Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson, ringmasters to the social revolutions of the 1960s, told us everything we ever needed to know about sex. But they left one question unanswered: did they find love themselves?
Their 1966 bestseller Human Sexual Response revealed for the first time in intimate biological detail how it all worked. That included the female orgasm. The revolutionary news was that girls are capable of multiple orgasms of sequentially increasing power, while the erstwhile dominant sex retreats into their “recovery period”. The girls didn’t even need assistance: the best orgasms recorded on the medical machines of the sex lab were self-induced. This news arrived alongside the contraceptive pill and feminism, and changed everything.
Masters and Johnson set out in 1956 as professor and untrained lab assistant respectively, and became illicit lovers – according to their biographer Thomas Maier, at Masters’ coercion (imagine that at an industrial tribunal today). Ten years later they were co-owners of the multimillion-dollar Masters and Johnson brand, with books and sex therapy clinics. They married in 1971. Then they divorced in old age, in time for Masters to marry his childhood sweetheart.
A new 12-part US dramaMasters of Sex, which launched in the US last week and starts this week on Channel 4, aims to unravel the enigma of their relationship at the same time as devoting many hours to the saga of sexual discovery, one episodic case study at a time. The series is testing the limits, with graphic sex and clever camera angles.
Masters of Sex stars Michael Sheen as Masters, Lizzy Caplan as Johnson and Caitlin FitzGerald as Masters’ first wife, Libby. British director Michael Apted, of the Seven Up! documentary series, has directed two of the episodes in the series so far.
The drama is based on Maier’s 2009 book of the same title – Masters of Sex: the Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. Maier, a journalist with Newsday, New York’s suburban newspaper, spotted the story almost by chance. He had telephoned Masters while researching a book on Dr Spock, the paediatrician who was to American childhood what Masters would become to American sex.
“I put the phone down,” he says, “and thought: here’s a man and a woman who are not married but who spend years studying love and sex, who become gurus of sex, who then get married and stay married for 20 years, but who then divorce. I typed up my notes wondering what their relationship really was, and thinking that here was a story nobody knew.”
Maier thought about it for ten years or so, and then telephoned Johnson. She was retired and living in a flat not far from the university campus in St Louis, Missouri, which had been the scene of the sex lab. By this time, Masters had died from Parkinson’s. Johnson died, aged 88, earlier this year.
“She was quite gabby,” says Maier. “But she gave me a fan dance. I soon discovered that both of them were very secretive about their lives.”
Maier has won prizes for investigative reporting, and he went to work ferreting through records and contacting any friend, relative or old colleague of theirs he could find. He came up with terrific details. Masters had had a miserable if affluent childhood, beaten by his father, dumped in a boarding school at 14 and told he could come home only at Christmas. He had been a brilliant surgeon with a cold, blue- eyed stare, a big ego, and an ambition to win the Nobel Prize. He always wore a bow tie.
Johnson was descended from a Hessian (German) mercenary hired by the Crown in the American War of Independence – as in the Headless Horseman of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – and had been brought up on a farm in Missouri during the Depression. Her mother was socially ambitious. Johnson had, Maier writes in the first chapter of his book, lost her virginity as a teenager in the back seat of a car. She concluded early on that sex was “a need” she could fulfil with lots of guys, but that relation- ships were for getting ahead. She had already been married and divorced twice and had two children when she went to work for Masters. Masters, who launched his studies by peeking through peepholes at local brothels, had realised that, as a man, he could get only so far in under- standing women’s desire and fulfilment, and that he needed to work with a woman. Johnson had an unrivalled knack of getting the volunteers to relax as their bodies were attached to probes and electrodes, their nipples measured, and so on. She made sure that Ulysses, a contraption fitted with a film camera for internal photography, was first warmed with hot towels before it was put to work.
“It turns out that Ulysses was thrown out when they closed the lab,” says Maier. “They had to make a reproduction for the show.”
He discovered that Masters had started his research because his own sperm count was too low to get his wife pregnant, and that Johnson had never known this. He also found out that Masters left Libby to marry Johnson only when Johnson, who told Maier that they had been “sexual athletes” together, wanted to marry another, very wealthy, man.
“Their relationship rotates dramatically as it goes along,” says Maier. “Masters was a control freak who dominated at first, but she ended up dominating him. They had a Burton and Taylor period when they really battled it out. They both found it easy to walk out on people. It’s the eter- nal question of what makes relationships between men and women tick.”
Their story, says Maier, begins as Pygmalion, but ends as a “Proustian search for times lost”. After their divorce, not only did Masters marry the girl from college he thought had rejected him, but Johnson went in search of the red- headed farm boy who had been her first lover. She had dumped him because she didn’t want to be a farmer’s wife, but then he left in order to join the CIA.
“When I was writing the book, Virginia told me she had never loved Masters,” says Maier. “But later she said, ‘I guess we were in love.’ She died still trying to figure it out.
“But my answer is that, definitely, they were in love. They galvanised one another as only a man and a woman can.” 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Read All About TV's "Masters of Sex": Tweets Tonight about Episode 2: Race To Space; Books Now In Spanish, Check Out NYers review.

Synergistic bliss: A happy TV watcher knows a lot more by reading "Masters of Sex" in advance!

EPISODE TWO: Race To Space.

n  Book: Pilot was filmed in NY in 2012, but Ep2 filmed at Sony studio in LA. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Virginia’s life as a single parent with 2 kids, p. 22.-27.

n   Book: Virginia deeply upset about having sex with Bill as part of her job, p. 126-28. #mastersofsex

n  Book: The names of Virgina’s two kids names are changed in this series, p. 25-26. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Dr. Masters’ battles to get sex study launch at Wash U, p. 66-75. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Masters played college football, p. 36, but Michael Sheen loves soccer, quite a futbol fan! #mastersofsex

n  Book: Libby Masters’s attempts to become pregnant, p. 57-65.

n  Book: Bill and Libby Masters lived in suburbs, he known as fertility expert, p. 57. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Masters lived in LaDue, Mo, but filmed near author in Huntington, LI. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Libby Masters wants to be ‘good wife’, more on her, p. 61-65. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Fertility expert Bill’s low-sperm count was big secret kept from most, p. 60. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Bill and Libby used his lab techniques to try and become pregnant, p. 59-60. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Virginia’s early marriages and love life, before Masters, p. 3-29. #mastersofsex

n  Book: View photos of real Masters and Johnson, p. 202-3. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Ethan Haas character inspired by real-life associates of Dr. Masters, p. 50-52. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Masters early study relied on prostitutes until Virginia arrived. p. 76-81, #mastersofsex

n  Book: Masters friendship with police chief detailed, p. 76-77. #mastersofsex

n  Book: “Masters of Sex” now in Spanish, Amazon bio bestseller. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Libby discomfort about Bill’s explosive sex study. p. 65. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Beau Bridges character based on Wash U chief, p. 66-70. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Virginia’s problem with balancing home and work, p. 25-26, #mastersofsex

n  Book: Why did Masters and Johnson first reply on prostitutes, p. 77-81. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Bill and Libby Masters’ marriage difficulties trying to get pregnant, p. 59-61. #mastersofsex

n  Book: Amazing how TV creator Michelle Ashford used book info to recreate M&J world, p. 85. #mastersofsex

n  Book: This episode went back a little from pilot to explain more about early sex study, p. 48-55. #mastersofsex

n  Book: ‘Masters’ premiered this week in London and all UK. Brazil, France, Egypt, Israel, more. #mastersofsex

n  Book: ‘Masters’ love brings peace to Middle East? Seen in Israel and Egypt. #mastersofsex

n  Book: The New Yorker raves for ‘Masters’ including ‘lively’ book. #mastersofsex

n  That’s all the tweeting for me tonite. Be sure to read the book if you like the show! #mastersofsex

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Masters of Sex" In The New Yorker

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Masters of Sex" ahora está en español! Programa de televisión se verá en España y en América Latina a todos mis amigos de habla española

Saludo a mis amigos que hablan y leen español! Mi libro llamado "Masters of Sex" se ha convertido en una serie de televisión protagonizada por Michael Sheen y Lizzy Caplan. Este programa se emitirá en todo el mundo, entre ellos España y varios países de habla española. Estoy encantado de que mi libro está traducido al español. Está a disposición de todos los lectores como un libro de bolsillo y las versiones de libros electrónicos. Espero que lo disfruten! Los productos más, Thomas Maier