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Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex

Photo Credit:  Craig Blankenhorn / Showtime
  • Premiered: 
    September 29, 2013
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Showtime
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Based on the 2009 book (Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson...) by Thomas Maier 
  • Subject Matter:
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  • Season 1
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  • Season 2
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Plot Synopsis

Based on Thomas Maier's book, "Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, The Couple Who Taught America How To Love," MASTERS OF SEX is a scripted drama series that chronicles the unusual lives, romance and pop culture trajectory of William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality. Their research touched off the '60s sexual revolution, taking them from a mid-western teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of "Time" magazine (May 25, 1970). According to her recent "New York Times" obituary (July 25, 2013), "Dr. Masters was a gynecologist on the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis when he began his research into human sexuality in the mid-1950s. Ms. Johnson, who joined him in 1957 after answering an advertisement for an assistant, worked alongside him for more than three decades. She was variously his research associate, wife and former wife." This series starts with Johnson joining the hospital secretarial staff, proving herself to be an asset to Masters' work, as he ran a successful medical practice by day while conducting a secret study of human sexuality by night. Masters and Johnson then begin their controversial study, which gets kicked out of the hospital, moved to the chaos of a cathouse, and is returned to the controlled setting of the hospital. When Masters and Johnson expand the study to include couples, they discover that the science of sex is easily complicated by the mystery of attraction, eventually participating in their own sexual response study. And when the duo decide that the best way to record their study findings is to film them, they must convince others that the external reactions will not cross the line into pornography. Their work culminates in a hospital-wide presentation by Masters. Meanwhile, each of their personal relationships are tested throughout the study, and even their own working relationship is strained after ending their study participation, as Masters and Johnson butt heads on whether to maintain study confidentiality or take responsibility. MASTERS OF SEX returned for its second season on Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 10pm ET/PT on Showtime with 12 one-hour episodes. Season 2 picks up with Bill's declaration to Virginia at the end of the first season - that she is the one thing he cannot live without. After creating a scandal at the hospital, Bill lost his job and he's now moving to a new location, where his sex study will continue. Virginia stays with the study, and her unusual relationship with Bill progresses. Meanwhile, Bill's wife, Libby, is hoping that the newborn will bring the couple back together emotionally. On Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 10pm ET/PT, Showtime debuted the Season 2 finale of MASTERS OF SEX. In the season ender, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Masters and Johnson feel ready to cure sexual dysfunction. Showtime premiered the third season of MASTERS OF SEX on Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT. The year is 1966, and MASTERS OF SEX Season 3 finds the famed duo of Masters and Johnson dealing with the glare of the national spotlight as their sex study is finally unveiled. It's the start of the Sexual Revolution -- and Masters and Johnson's work will have a profound impact on contemporary relationships, especially their own evolving three-way "marriage" with Masters' wife Libby. In the season opener, "Parliament of Owls," Masters and Johnson face the press for the first time as they prepare to publish their study. As they do so, they recall last year's summer vacation when Bill was finishing work on their book, Virginia was facing parenting struggles, and Libby was pulling herself out from beneath a deep depression. Season 4 of MASTERS OF SEX premiered on Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT on Showtime. In the season opener, "Freefall," which begins in 1968 in the wake of their fallout, Masters and Johnson search for purpose in a world without each other. Libby finds herself alone and discovers some unexpected allies. Season 4 continues into the "swinging '70s," during which time the series' characters take on new partners both professionally, personally and sexually.
On Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT, Showtime premiered the Season 4 finale of MASTERS OF SEX. In the season ender, "The Eyes of God," Masters and Johnson work to save the practice from disintegrating in the face of insurrection within the clinic. As everyone either moves on or falls away, Bill and Virginia find solace in one another.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Sony Pictures Television


  • Washington University School of Medicine - St. Louis, Missouri USA