Virginia E. Johnson

Last updated
Virginia E. Johnson
Born
Mary Virginia Eshelman

(1925-02-11)February 11, 1925
Springfield, Missouri, United States
DiedJuly 24, 2013(2013-07-24) (aged 88)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Nationality American
Other namesVirginia Gibson
EducationDrury College
University of Missouri
Kansas City Conservatory of Music
Washington University in St. Louis
Occupation Sexologist
Known for Masters and Johnson human sexuality research team
Spouse(s)Two brief early marriages, followed by
George Johnson (1950–1956)
William H. Masters (1971–1993)
Children2

Virginia E. Johnson, born Mary Virginia Eshelman [1] (February 11, 1925 – July 24, 2013), [2] was an American sexologist, best known as a member of the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team. [3] Along with William H. Masters, she pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunctions and disorders from 1957 until the 1990s.

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

The Masters and Johnson research team, composed of William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions from 1957 until the 1990s.

Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied over time, it lacks a precise definition. The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle. Someone's sexual orientation can influence that person's sexual interest and attraction for another person. Physical and emotional aspects of sexuality include bonds between individuals that are expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of love, trust, and care. Social aspects deal with the effects of human society on one's sexuality, while spirituality concerns an individual's spiritual connection with others. Sexuality also affects and is affected by cultural, political, legal, philosophical, moral, ethical, and religious aspects of life.

Contents

Early life

Virginia Johnson was born in Springfield, Missouri, the daughter of Edna (née Evans) and Hershel "Harry" Eshelman, a farmer. [2] [4] Her paternal grandparents were members of the LDS Church, and her father had Hessian ancestry. [4] When she was five, her family moved to Palo Alto, California, where her father worked as a groundskeeper for a hospital. The family later returned to Missouri and farming. [2] Virginia enrolled at her hometown's Drury College at age 16, but dropped out and spent four years working in the Missouri state insurance office. [2] She eventually returned to school, studying at the University of Missouri and the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and during World War II began a music career as a band singer. [2] She sang country music for radio station KWTO in Springfield, where she adopted the stage name Virginia Gibson. [1]

Springfield, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Springfield is the third-largest city in the state of Missouri and the county seat of Greene County. As of the 2010 census, its population was 159,498. As of 2017, the Census Bureau estimated its population at 167,376. It is the principal city of the Springfield metropolitan area, which has a population of 462,369 and includes the counties of Christian, Dallas, Greene, Polk, Webster.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nontrinitarian Christian restorationist church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian restorationist church that is considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 16 million members and 67,000 full-time volunteer missionaries. In 2012, the National Council of Churches ranked the church as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.5 million members reported by the church, as of January 2018. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.

Hesse State in Germany

Hesse or Hessia, officially the State of Hesse, is a federal state (Land) of the Federal Republic of Germany, with just over six million inhabitants. The state capital is Wiesbaden; the largest city is Frankfurt am Main.

Johnson moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she became a business writer for the St. Louis Daily Record . [2] Eschewing a singing career, Johnson enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis, intending to earn a degree in sociology [2] but never attaining one. [5]

The St. Louis Daily Record is a newspaper in St. Louis, Missouri published by Missouri Lawyers Media. It was founded in 1890. Its specialty is legal news. Archival copies through at least February 2004 are on microfilm at the St. Louis Public Library.

Washington University in St. Louis university in St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university in St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. As of 2017, 24 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington University, nine having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. Washington University's undergraduate program is ranked 19th by U.S. News & World Report in 2018 and 11th by The Wall Street Journal in their 2018 rankings. The university is ranked 20th in the world in 2018 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was 14%, with students selected from more than 31,000 applications. Of students admitted 90 percent were in the top 10 percent of their class.

Sociology Scientific study of human society and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions

Sociology is the scientific study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture of everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and change or social evolution. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.

Sexological works

Johnson met William H. Masters in 1957 when he hired her as a research assistant at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis. Masters trained her in medical terminology, therapy, and research during the years she worked as his assistant. [5] Together they developed polygraph-like instruments that were designed to measure sexual arousal in humans. Using these tools, Masters and Johnson observed and measured about 700 men and women who agreed to engage in sexual activity with other participants or masturbate in Masters' laboratory. [6] By observing these subjects, Johnson helped Masters identify the four stages of sexual response. This came to be known as the human sexual response cycle. The cycle consists of the excitement phase, plateau phase, orgasmic phase, and resolution phase. [7] In 1964, Masters and Johnson established their own independent nonprofit research institution in St. Louis called the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation. The center was renamed the Masters and Johnson Institute in 1978.

William Howell Masters was an American gynecologist, best known as the senior member of the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team. Along with his partner Virginia E. Johnson, he pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunctions and disorders from 1957 until the 1990s.

Medical terminology is language used to precisely describe the human body including its components, processes, conditions affecting it, and procedures performed upon it. Medical terminology is used in the field of medicine.

Sexual arousal arousal of sexual desire, during or in anticipation of sexual activity

Sexual arousal is the arousal of sexual desire, during or in anticipation of sexual activity. A number of physiological responses occur in the body and mind as preparation for sexual intercourse and continue during it. Male arousal will lead to an erection, and in female arousal the body's response is engorged sexual tissues such as nipples, vulva, clitoris, vaginal walls and vaginal lubrication. Mental stimuli and physical stimuli such as touch, and the internal fluctuation of hormones, can influence sexual arousal.

In April 2009, Thomas Maier reported in Scientific American that Johnson had serious reservations about the Masters and Johnson Institute's program to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals, [8] a program which ran from 1968 to 1977. [9] [10]

<i>Scientific American</i> American popular science magazine

Scientific American is an American popular science magazine. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein, have contributed articles to it. It is the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States.

Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions. There is virtually no reliable evidence that sexual orientation can be changed and medical bodies warn that conversion therapy practices are ineffective and potentially harmful. Nevertheless, advocates and proponents do provide anecdotal reports of people who claim some degree of success in becoming heterosexual. Medical, scientific, and government organizations in the United States and United Kingdom have expressed concern over the validity, efficacy and ethics of conversion therapy. Various jurisdictions in Asia, Europe, Oceania, and the Americas have passed laws against conversion therapy.

Personal life

By her early 20s, [2] Johnson had married a Missouri politician; the marriage lasted two days. [1] She then married a much older attorney, whom she also divorced. [1] In 1950, Johnson married bandleader George Johnson, with whom she had a boy and a girl, before divorcing in 1956. [1] [2] In 1971, Johnson married William Masters after he divorced his first wife. They were divorced in 1993, though they continued to collaborate professionally. [2] Johnson died in July 2013 "of complications from several illnesses". [11] [12]

Masters, who married again after his divorce from Johnson, [1] died in 2001. [13]

The American cable network Showtime debuted Masters of Sex , a dramatic television series based on the 2009 biography of the same name, on September 29, 2013. The series stars Lizzy Caplan as Johnson.

Related Research Articles

Heterosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between persons of the opposite sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, heterosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to persons of the opposite sex; it "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions."

Kinsey Reports two books by Alfred Kinsey and others

The Kinsey Reports are two books on human sexual behavior, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), written by Alfred Kinsey, Paul Gebhard, Wardell Pomeroy, Clyde Martin and others and published by Saunders. Kinsey was a zoologist at Indiana University and the founder of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.

Lesbian Homosexual woman

A lesbian is a homosexual woman. The word lesbian is also used for women in relation to their sexual identity or sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation, or as an adjective to characterize or associate nouns with female homosexuality or same-sex attraction.

Sexology is the scientific study of human sexuality, including human sexual interests, behaviors, and functions. The term sexology does not generally refer to the non-scientific study of sexuality, such as political science or social criticism.

Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender. These attractions are generally subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality, while asexuality is sometimes identified as the fourth category.

Kinsey scale social distribution of sexual orientation

The Kinsey scale, also called the Heterosexual–Homosexual Rating Scale, is used in research to describe a person's sexual orientation based on one’s experience or response at a given time. The scale typically ranges from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the male and female volumes of the Kinsey Reports, an additional grade, listed as "X", indicated "no socio-sexual contacts or reactions". The reports were first published in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) by Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy, and others, and were also prominent in the complementary work Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).

Sexual identity is how one thinks of oneself in terms of to whom one is romantically or sexually attracted. Sexual identity may also refer to sexual orientation identity, which is when people identify or dis-identify with a sexual orientation or choose not to identify with a sexual orientation. Sexual identity and sexual behavior are closely related to sexual orientation, but they are distinguished, with identity referring to an individual's conception of themselves, behavior referring to actual sexual acts performed by the individual, and sexual orientation referring to romantic or sexual attractions toward persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, to both sexes or more than one gender, or to no one.

Human sexual response cycle four-stage model of physiological responses to sexual stimulation,[1] which, in order of their occurrence, are the excitement phase, plateau phase, orgasmic phase, and resolution phase

The human sexual response cycle is a four-stage model of physiological responses to sexual stimulation, which, in order of their occurrence, are the excitement phase, plateau phase, orgasmic phase and resolution phase. This physiological response model was first formulated by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, in their 1966 book Human Sexual Response. Since then, other human sexual response models have been formulated.

Lizzy Caplan American actress

Elizabeth Anne Caplan is an American actress and model. Her first acting role was on the cult television series Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000). She received wider recognition with roles in the films Mean Girls (2004) and Cloverfield (2008), the latter of which earned her a nomination for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. Caplan has also starred on the TV shows Related (2005–2006), The Class (2006–2007), and Party Down (2009–2010). From 2013 to 2016, she played Virginia E. Johnson on the Showtime series Masters of Sex, a role that garnered her Primetime Emmy, Satellite, and Critics' Choice Award nominations.

The Masters and Johnson Institute (1964–1994) was the clinical and research foundation of sexologist duo Masters and Johnson. Located in Saint Louis, Missouri, the institute was established to study human sexuality with particular emphasis on the anatomy and physiology of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunctions.

Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to people of the same sex. It "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions."

LGBT parenting refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people raising one or more children as parents or foster care parents. This includes: children raised by same-sex couples, children raised by single LGBT parents, and children raised by an opposite-sex couple where at least one partner is LGBT.

The relationship between the environment and sexual orientation is a subject of research. In the study of sexual orientation, some researchers distinguish environmental influences from hormonal influences, while other researchers include biological influences such as prenatal hormones as part of environmental influences.

Bisexuality Sexual attraction to people of any sex or gender identity

Bisexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females, or to more than one sex or gender. It may also be defined as romantic or sexual attraction to people of any sex or gender identity, which is also known as pansexuality.

Robert C. Kolodny is an author and specialist in human sexuality and related topics.

Helen Singer Kaplan was an Austrian-American sex therapist and the founder of the first clinic in the United States for sexual disorders established at a medical school. The New York Times described Kaplan as someone who was "considered a leader among scientific-oriented sex therapists. She was noted for her efforts to combine some of the insights and techniques of psychoanalysis with behavioral methods." She was also dubbed the "Sex Queen" because of her role as a pioneer in sex therapy during the sexual revolution in 1960s America, and because of her advocacy of the idea that people should enjoy sexual activity as much as possible, as opposed to seeing it as something dirty or harmful. The main purpose of her dissertation is to evaluate the psychosexual dysfunctions because these syndromes are among the most prevalent, worrying and distressing medical complaints of modern times.

"Pilot" is the first episode of the first season of the American period drama television series Masters of Sex. It originally aired on September 29, 2013 in the United States on Showtime. The episode was written by series creator Michelle Ashford and directed by John Madden. The series is based on Thomas Maier's biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Fox, Margalit (July 25, 2013). "Virginia Johnson, Widely Published Collaborator in Sex Research, Dies at 88". The New York Times . Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Hayman, Suzie (July 28, 2013). "Virginia Johnson Obituary". The Guardian . UK. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  3. Masters, William H.; Johnson, Virginia E. (1970-04-27). "Craftsmen of Sexuality". The New York Times.
  4. 1 2 Maier, Thomas (2010). Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. ReadHowYouWant. pp. 7, 8, 650. ISBN   978-1458767516.
  5. 1 2 "Virginia Johnson". Missouri Women.
  6. "Masters and Johnson". Discovery Health. Sinclair Intimacy Institute. 2010-08-26.
  7. "Four Stages of the Sexual Response Cycle". Boundless. Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
  8. Maier, Thomas (April 22, 2009). "Can Psychiatrists Really 'Cure' Homosexuality?  Masters and Johnson Claimed to Convert Gays to Heterosexuality in a 1979 Book. But Did They?". Scientific American . Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  9. Masters, William H.; Johnson, Virginia E. (1982) [first published 1979]. Homosexuality in Perspective. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books. ISBN   978-0-553-20809-2.
  10. Schwartz, MF; Masters, WH (February 1, 1984). "The Masters and Johnson treatment program for dissatisfied homosexual men". American Journal of Psychiatry . 141 (2): 173–181. doi:10.1176/ajp.141.2.173. PMID   6691475.
  11. "Virginia Johnson, renowned sex researcher, dies". Archived from the original on 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-07-25.. Seattle Post-Intelligencer .
  12. Sorkin, Michael D. (July 25, 2013). "Virginia Johnson Masters Dies at 88; Famed Researcher Helped Debunk Sexual Myths". St. Louis Post-Dispatch . Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  13. Severo, Richard (February 19, 2001). "William H. Masters, a Pioneer in Studying and Demystifying Sex, Dies at 85". The New York Times . Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2008. Dr. William H. Masters, who with his co-researcher, Virginia E. Johnson, revolutionized the way sex is studied, taught and enjoyed in America, died Friday at a hospice in Tucson. He was 85 and had lived in retirement since 1994, first in St. Louis and then in Tucson. He suffered complications from Parkinson's disease, said his wife, Geraldine Baker Oliver Masters.