Friday, November 8, 2013

Showtime’s Masters of Sex #106 “Brave New World”

Sexual Discoveries
By Catherine Giordano

Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham
Everyone is making sexual discoveries on Showtime’s  Masters of Sex, episode 106, titled “Brave New World” which aired on Sunday, November 3, 2013. The theme of this episode as well as this review and recap, is "Sexual Discoveries."

I think Libby is discovering that her husband Bill is just not that into her. They take a trip to Miami—it’s Libby’s consolation prize since she is not getting a baby. It’s a vacation to rekindle the romance in their marriage. But Bill doesn’t really seem to enjoy spending time with her, and that goes double for time in the sack.

Bill is much more interested in the couple in the next room, who they can hear through the walls.  The couple, who they later learn are in their 70’s, enjoys lots of loud noisy sex. Bill is discovering the elderly people can still enjoy sex. It’s a big surprise.

Libby tells Bill he can leave since he is impatient to be back to work. However, she is staying on her own. Then she proceeds to befriend the couple who is staying in the next room.  She tells them that she is a widow with two children. I understand the fantasy of having children, but it appears she also has a fantasy of Bill being dead. Libby is discovering that she no longer wishes to be married to her husband.  Her next discovery, however, concerns life as a single woman. She is viewed as sexually available—she gets propositioned by her new friends.  The man wants to have sex with her while his wife listens in the next room. The couple is not only lusty, but also a little kinky.

Poor Margaret Scully (played by Alison Janney). She discovers that she cannot participate in the sex study after all. She undergoes an emotionally painful and embarrassing interview. She has to report that she has sex with her husband only once a year and that she has never had an orgasm. (Given the very personal nature of this study, I am surprised that Masters and Johnson recruited participants from among the staff and their families.) Bill and Virginia tell her that all study participants must have had an orgasm.

Poor Margaret Scully. Her husband not only won’t sleep with her (in either sense of the word—they have separate bedrooms), he won’t even take her to the movies.  She goes alone to see Peyton Place. And who does she happen to meet as she leaves the theater? It’s Dr. Austin Langham, (played by Teddy Sears) who appears to spend sleepless nights wandering the streets depressed by his boner problem. He offers to walk Margaret to her car. Then he kisses her. Then he seduces her, and Margaret discovers what an orgasm is, right there in the back seat of her car. Langham has evidently gotten his mojo back, perhaps discovering that illicit sex is more exciting than sex in a laboratory.  

Did Austin choose to have sex with an older woman just because she was there or was the fact that she was older part of her appeal. It may have given him more confidence in his ability to perform. I once heard a joke about having sex with “older women”: “They won’t tell, they won’t swell, and they’re grateful as hell.”  Perhaps Austin was thinking along those lines. 

Virginia is making sexual discoveries also. She attends a lecture by Dr. Anna Freud who speaks about clitoral and vaginal orgasm, claiming that they are different and that the clitoral orgasm is the “immature” orgasm.  Virginia takes to the laboratory to prove this wrong.  She discovers that the data show that Freud is wrong--the orgasms are the same. (If anything, the clitoral orgasm is the slightly stronger orgasm.) When Bill returns to work she informs him of her findings. Bill promotes her from secretary to research assistant. The promotion does not come with a raise in salary.  

Virginia is so encouraged by her success and promotion that she wants to debunk another sexual myth.  Jane has told her that she can orgasm from stimulation of the breast alone.  Bill scoffs. While Bill’s back is turned, she quietly removes her blouse and attaches the monitoring devises. When Bill finally turns around, she takes his hand and places it firmly on her breast. Together they will discover the truth. 

This is the “crossing-the-Rubicon” moment of the week.  Virginia may not realize it yet, but  she is no longer just Bill’s co-worker, she has become Bill’s sexual partner. I think she will soon discover that their relationship is changed forever.

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