UPDATE: You know how (or maybe you don't) magazine editors often edit the literary masterpieces that are turned in to them for publication? Well, apparently that's what happened to Stoya's piece for Esquire.com—and we've got to say, her original is far superior to what's described and excerpted below. You can read Stoya's original thoughts on Masters of Sex here.
HOLLYWOOD—Digital Playground star Stoya is a fan of Showtime Network's recently-debuted drama Masters of Sex—and who wouldn't be? Set in the late 1950s, the show features the work of sex researcher Dr. William Masters, and begins just as he meets the research assistant who was later to become his wife, Virginia Johnson—and to say that each episode provides some arousal for the sex-starved masses would be an understatement.
For example, early episodes have Masters and Johnson setting up shop in a bordello after the head of Masters' department, Dean Scully (played by Beau Bridges), decides that he can't allow people to masturbate, let alone fuck, in the university's labratories. But after Masters discovers that Scully has been seeing a gay prostitute on the sly, the lab is opened once again, and this time, the researchers are recruiting couples for wired-up sex—and in the seventh episode, Masters and Johnson give it the "old college try" themselves.
The show stops just short of depicting hardcore sex, but it's a fun evening's entertainment, even though most will see that Michael Sheen's Masters is a bit of a stuck-up asshole (though his on-screen wife, Caitlin Fitzgerald, pretty much seems to have her shit together). However, they're likely to be blown away by Lizzy Caplan's portrayal of the lounge-singer-turned-researcher Virginia Johnson, who shows her liberation by rising up the "corporate ladder" from secretary to full-fledged research assistant... and who, in a recent episode, let Dr. Masters know that she has "no problem separating sex from love," as probably should have been evident from the two or three lovers who've graced her bed over the course of the series so far. And there's also the fact that she's portrayed as intelligent enough to have seen through a lot of '50s society's incredibly idiotic views of both a woman's brain power and her determination to succeed on her own merits.
Some of what Stoya finds interesting about Masters of Sex include her comparison of the researchers' work with what's portrayed in adult videos: that "human sexual response [can be divided] into the four stages of excitement, plateau, orgasm, and refractory period. Decades later, this narrative arc is nearly ubiquitous in adult films and our discussions and concepts of heterosexual sex in western culture. Why do we insist on framing sex as a task to be accomplished? Unless you are a sex worker at work, of course. Then that makes sense."
She also notes that "Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen are a lot more attractive than people they are playing," as can be seen from the photos accompanying this article; that "Sigmund Freud thought there was something wrong with adult females who only orgasm from clitoral stimulation. In case you missed it: he was completely wrong about that"; and that "Blooming flowers are an effective metaphor for female arousal."
Stoya's full analysis can be found here—and for adult industry fans and even members, both it and the show itself are well worth a look.