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The Rocking Horse, Huh? What We Learned About Optimal Sexual Positions from This Week's 'Masters and Johnson'

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | November 11, 2013 | Comments ()


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Holy Awkward Sex Scene, Batman — Masters and Johnson are now conducting research using themselves as subjects, and boy, is it uncomfortable. The rest of the Internet seems to be catching up to how great Masters of Sex, though many have suggested that the show is best away from the sex scenes, and it’s sex scenes like this one that make me agree.

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Female Superior, Both Sitting, Partially Reclined — However, it’s brilliant for the way it contrasts Masters and Johnson’s sex life before Masters discovers the Kama Sutra and after he discovers the “rocking horse.”

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You hear that, fellas? The rocking horse.

Over the course of the episode, Johnson, it seems, comes to realize that separating emotional attachment from sex is far more difficult when that sex comes with multiple orgasms (se what I did there?)

Baby, It’s Cold Outside — Masters, on the other hand, reverses course: He picked up a few tips from his experiences with Johnson and applied them to his own once frigid marriage, and by episode’s end, he’s excited to get home to his wife for a lovely dinner and a bang, leaving poor Johnson without a sexual partner for the evening. But can I just say, hooray! for Libby finally getting some decent sex action.

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Baby, It’s Cold Inside (My Womb) We learn that Libby did get pregnant with Ethan’s help, only not the help some of us might have expected. He was inserting Masters’ frozen semen into Libby’s cervical cap, an experiment he plans to continue post-miscarriage because Libby is afraid that Masters will leave him if they don’t have a child in common. (Oh, Libby). Can I ask this, though: Where is Ethan getting Masters’ frozen semen, and why would it work better than his live semen? Also, does anyone get the distinct feeling that Ethan is going to rat out Masters to Libby?

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Baby, That’s Just Cold — Speaking of Ethan, after he co-signed a car loan for Ginny and seemed to develop some repport with her again, his dreams of a romantic relationship with her were crushed by the knowledge that she’s conducting sexual experiments with Masters. That chased Ethan right back into the bosom of the Provost’s daughter, who has never met a shirt she cares to wear.

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Life and Limb for a Hummer — The Provost is still messing around with his male prostitute, who came to his rescue this week when some ’50s homophobes attacked the Provost. Masters gave the Scully a lecture in what he should and should not be doing with his penis while he was stitching up the Provost, and then Barton had to cancel his “New York trip” and return home suddenly, where …

Female Superior, Both Reclined — CJ Cregg was taking a ride to Austin. Austin Langham, that is. The Provost found out that his wife was cheating on him, but didn’t seem to be that bothered by it, but for the concern that his wife — who the Provost really does love — might leave him. Just come clean, Barton! I don’t know if Margaret will forgive him, but she’ll at least know that there’s a reason Barton is not attracted to her, which would spare her some loss of self-esteem, at least. These two clearly just need an “arrangement.”

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A-N-E-S-T-H-E-S-I-A Thematically, the episode turned on Masters’ need for a new secretary, specifically someone who could anticipate his needs, as Johnson has clearly learned to do (both administratively and sexually). Jane won’t be able to play grab-ass with Masters, but she should serve as an excellent secretary, who has impeccable spelling skills.

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(See Also: 10 Real-Life Facts About Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Inspiration for Showtime’s ‘Masters of Sex’)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • John W

    I wonder how many Emmy's this show will be nominated for?

    I'd be surprised if Alison Janney and Beau Bridges weren't nominated.

  • omelettedufromage

    I guess I'm a bit more cynical toward Masters for believing that he isn't so much EXCITED to get home to Libby as he is eager to hold up his end of the bargain so that he can continue to have sex with Virginia. You know, purely for science.

    And it makes me sad that Libby only gets her husband's attention under such circumstances. Maybe they will have a more active sex life for a few episodes, but it's all gonna go to sh*t sooner or later.

  • Maddy

    EXACTLY. I was watching this scene thinking it made no sense, and then it made sense. Also, he was SUCH a dick to the Provost when he was stitching him up, but then I'm still super pissed that he threatened to expose his homosexuality so the study could go ahead. And I know that in the context of the times his attitude to homosexuality isn't unusual or anything but it still makes me dislike him.

    Also, is it just me or did Virginia's sudden decision to sleep with Masters for the study make NO SENSE, especially right after Masters showed respect for her abilities after promoting her to research assistant *headdesk*

    Jane is the best and I miss Betty the snarky prostitute

  • e jerry powell

    As that first brothel episode illustrated so dramatically, Masters was viciously heterosexist, to the point that he and Johnson pioneered what would come to be known as "reparative therapy," which is now illegal for teens in at least California and New Jersey.

    Masters claimed a success rate of 71.6%, though Johnson suspected he was pulling those numbers out of his ass.

  • e jerry powell

    Around 1970. Poor Libby.

  • Bennetttt

    I hope the show doesn't cave to the internet of people uncomfortable with sex. The scene was supposed to be seemingly uncomfortable which is the very backbone of the series. I appreciate that the show isn't holding back, and moving forward. I hope the show doesn't cater to pleasing people complaining on the internet.

  • pajiba

    What? That's a weird take away from the first paragraph. No, I just meant that the sex scene between Masters and Johnson was very awkward, because Masters is a very awkward guy who is even more awkward when he's trying to sexually please a woman while also ticking off the stages of a sexual experience. I agree that the awkwardness of the sex scene was important to the series, and my thoughts on whether a woman's vagina is gross seems kind of .. well, that's a really weird question.

  • Bennetttt

    I'm kind of joking. I see lots of complaints from men about nudity which I continue to wonder about. I delete or edit.

    I believe the scene was supposed to be awkward, as it is part of the show to question the nature of sex. Bill Masters is a scientist, and trying to collect raw sex data separating emotion which is awkward in itself.

  • e jerry powell

    A scientist with no special moves until after the Pattersons...

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