Masters of Sex Review: Sex and Science

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If you came to Showtime's Masters of Sex pilot expecting to see some sort of pornographic, sudsy, twerk-fest... you were definitely in for a shock; a good, educational, intelligent shock. That's not to say you won't get your fair share of nudity, foreplay and sex - but Masters of Sex is not looking to be a soft-core porn on cable. That's what Skinemax is for, kids.

What you will find is a show based on a true life story and the book it spawned about Dr. William Masters, his associate Virginia Johnson and their quest to answer the question of what exactly happens to the body during sex.

Michael Sheen Photo

It starts in the 1950s in St. Louis. Masters is a brilliant and well-respected OBGYN with a focus on fertility studies. Yet, he longs to be studying the nature of the human body and the scientific aspect behind sex. We see that as clever and as sharp as Masters seems to all of his peers and the medical community, there is also a man who is emotionally closed off and plagued by his own personal shortcomings.

Wife Libby, played by Caitlin Fitzgerald, is as doting as ever and just wants to give her husband a baby.

For two years they've been trying to no avail. While it's made to seem that the infertility issues lie with Libby, is it possible that Masters is the one who's incapable of getting Libby pregnant? Ethan Haas, Masters colleague played by an effusive Nicholas D'Agosto, happened to mention Masters' low sperm count during his pillow talk with Virgina. Super sexy verbal foreplay, no?

Johnson is almost the opposite of Masters in a way. She is a single mother raising two children, does not confuse love with sex as she proclaims most women do, can openly discuss pretty much anything including faking orgasms and makes no apologies for what she wants in life. I loved the scene when she demanded the rude librarian to enroll her in sociology courses...NOW. It never fails to rile me up when people have the gall to tell you how to live your life and raise your children. I'm glad Johnson put her in her place.

It seems that everyone is quickly taken with Johnson, albeit for different reasons. Ethan is obsessed with her to a stage five clinger degree and backhands her when she isn't interested in discussing their romantic life and wants nothing more than a friends with benefits arrangement. Masters, though, seems to admire her for exactly that quality and sees a kindred spirit in the way Johnson shows a general desire to understand say the science of an orgasm. 

The study of sex is the beginning of all life. Yet we sit like prudish cavemen in the dark riddled with shame and guilt. 

The twist of it all comes at the end when Masters suggests that he and Johnson become the subjects of the studies as well. She asks for the weekend to consider it, probably feeling even weirder now that's she's bonded a bit with his wife Libby. Will she be able to approach sex with Master the same way she approaches other sexual encounters or will it create messy ties that even she can't resist?

That's what we'll find out in this interesting new series based on the famous book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson. If you tuned in just to see some boobs and people get it on... well, there's that too. Except when a girl is masturbating it's with a specially created device with a camera attached and wires hooked up to her body to measure the different stages of her reactions. Call it sex with a side of education, or the other way around.

What did you think of the Masters of Sex premiere?

Pilot Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (61 Votes)
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Masters of Sex Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

I think women often confuse love with physical attraction.


Women fake orgasms, maybe all of em. Although I haven't checked my clipboard lately