Virginia Johnson, half of the pioneering team of Masters and Johnson who brought sexuality into public discussion in the post-WWII years has died. It's probably hard for most of us to imagine a time when sexuality wasn't discussed 'out in the open' the way it is today and in spite of the still somewhat delicate ways we might to continue to handle sex and sexuality when it comes to frank and honest discussions, it would have been even worse perhaps had these two not appeared.
They published two classic works, Human Sexual Response and Human Sexual Inadequacy, which were translated into more than thirty languages. Their work did much to dispel myths about many things related to sexuality and practice--female arousal and orgasm were issues they addressed in revelatory ways never discussed before. The actual 'human sexual response' was a four stage model they defined-it remains probably the most significant and enduring part of their work: excitement, plateau, orgasm, resolution. They also determined that men have a 'refractory phase' following orgasm which women do not, which led them to write of multi-orgasmic females, which was unheard of at the time-well, unaddressed anyway:)!
Like most pioneers in any field they were not without their critics and detractors which ranged from the moral and relgious communities to other scientists and researchers. For instance, they ran an insititute to convert people from homosexuality, at a time when it was still classified as a psychological disorder, and this was later villified. Others, who advocate a more individualized understanding of human sexuality critiqued their uncritical adoption of cultural attitudes into their work. Regardless, they remain seminal figures in the ongoing conversation about human sexuality and should be read if that is an area of interest (it's sex, why wouldn't it be? haha).
Showtime is airing a series in late September called Masters of Sex, based on a biography of the pair.