If you haven’t watched the season finale of Masters of Sex yet, go ahead and catch up before this post spoils everything and you’re forced to console yourself with help from Ulysses.
If, however, you saw Dr. Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) profess his love for Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) in the pouring rain, you’re either dying to know what’s going to happen next, or you suddenly have an inexplicable craving to watch a Nicholas Sparks movie.
Me? I wanted to see how much of Masters and Johnson’s real story had been fictionalized in the service of a good cliffhanger. So I went straight to the book that inspired the series, Thomas Maier’s Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. Okay, so I also used Google. Here’s what I found.
Was Virginia ever conflicted about accepting Bill’s “indecent proposal” in the first place?
Not so much. According to Maier, Bill hired Virginia specifically to be his sexual partner, and Virginia was fully aware of this when she signed on in 1957. “I was not comfortable with it, particularly,” she told Maier in an interview. “I didn’t want him at all, and had no interest in him.” They had sex almost nightly for more than a decade, with Bill instructing Virginia to “remain as professional as possible” so that their encounters would not “venture beyond the scope of scientific inquiry.” Decades later, Virginia claimed that she’d agreed to this simply because, as a single mother, she needed a job.