Sex researcher's work sparked ire, interest
ST. LOUIS — In an era when even talking about sex was virtually taboo, Virginia Johnson had a way of putting research subjects at ease, persuading them to participate in groundbreaking investigations that changed the way human sexuality was perceived.
Johnson, half of the renowned Masters and Johnson team, was remembered Thursday as one of the key figures in the sexual revolution. Johnson, whose legal name was Virginia Masters, died Wednesday of complications from several illnesses in an assisted living center in St. Louis. She was 88.
“She has one of the most extraordinary lives of any American woman in the 20th century,” said Thomas Maier, author of the 2009 book “Masters of Sex, the Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love.”
That research was discussed in their 1966 book, “Human Sexual Response.” And their 1970 book, “Human Sexual Inadequacy,” explored a therapy they'd developed for men and women with sexual problems.
At the height of their careers, Masters and Johnson were huge celebrities, the topic of late-night talk show hosts and on the cover of news magazines.
Their work had its critics, and it was often frowned upon in some circles in an era when sex was seldom discussed publicly.
“There was a lot of grief,” Johnson's son, Scott Johnson, recalled. “There were threats, things of that kind. She was a very strong woman.”
Their work still fascinates and resonates. Showtime will debut a TV series in September, “Masters of Sex,” based on Maier's book.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Westmoreland used car dealers indicted in fraud
- Struggling Pirates SS Mercer finding himself out on infield’s left side
- Police confiscate heroin, phones, cash in North Versailles bust
- Starkey: Patriots’ legacy forever stained
- Developer hopes to make Allegheny Center a tech hub
- Suspect in killings of wealthy D.C. family arrested
- Natrona Heights native helped bring ‘American Ninja Warrior’ to Pittsburgh
- Analyst says Pa. senate race leans toward Toomey — because Democrats ‘loathe’ Sestak
- Plum witnesses seen entering grand jury building in Dormont
- Former Ringgold guidance counselor facing sex charges