Monday, November 11, 2013

Showtime’s Masters of Sex #107 “All Together Now”

Sexless Love; Loveless Sex
Allison Janney as Margaret Scully
on Masters of Sex
By Catherine Giordano

Sexless-love; loveless sex is the topic of my review and recap of episode 107 of Showtime’s Masters of Sex titled “All Together Now” which aired on 11/10/13. Can you have one without the other? Perhaps, but not usually, and not for long.

Libby Masters loves her husband, but she thinks she might be losing him to his work. She believes a baby will bring them closer as they raise the child together. Since Bill has said that he did not want to keep trying for a pregnancy, Libby decides to go behind her husband’s back. She persuades Dr. Ethan Hass to continue the fertility treatments using Bill’s frozen sperm. This is highly unethical, so Ethan insists that she must have frequent sex with her husband so that there will be a plausible case for a “miracle baby” conceived the old fashioned way.

There is only one problem with this plan—Bill keeps rejecting Libby’s overtures. He comes home late every night and claims to be too tired. (Of course, he’s too tired. All those after-hour “experiments” with Virginia are wearing him out. Bill and Virginia are exploring different coital positions and their effect on orgasms quite thoroughly.) Libby knows nothing of this when she goes to see Virginia. She confides in Virginia that her husband is too tired for the marital act, and could Virginia please rearrange his schedule so he can come home early. 

Virginia tells Bill that their participation in the study must stop unless Bill can do is duty at home as well in the lab. Bill is evidently angry at Virginia, but he goes home and makes love to his wife. The sex rekindles their love, and Bill becomes eager to make love to his wife.

The experiments resume, but Bill is cold to Virginia now. He flaunts his new-found ardor for his wife in Virginia’s face. Bill and Libby continue their experiments in a dispassionate way. Virginia maintains that, unlike other women, she can have sex without love. They both strive mightily to prove that proposition.

Margaret Scully suggests to Langham that they see each other again by coyly mentioning that her husband will be away on a business trip. They meet for sex at Margaret’s home. Unfortunately for her, she gets a little mushy, and this cools Langham’s ardor. His preference is for sex without love. Margaret was just feeling affection--she wasn’t suggesting that they both divorce their spouses and run off together, but it was enough to scare Langham off. The funny thing is Langham was feeling affection for Margaret—he wanted to take her to dinner, but as soon as she spoke the words, he got all jittery. This is the “can-you-cut-a-girl-a break-and stop-over-reacting” moment of the week.

Things appear to be working out in just the opposite way for Ethan Hass. His relationship with Vivian Scully, which started off as just casual sex, is changing.  At first Ethan thought that he had to play the role of boyfriend with Vivian or else jeopardize his job. Now, he is genuinely pleased with their relationship. He’s no longer pretending. He is starting to love her, or at least starting to love the relationship.

Even Margaret’s husband, Barton, is falling in love with his male prostitute. Barton had arranged a meeting with him to occur in the hour before he had to catch his train for his trip to New York. Unfortunately, the rendezvous was to take place in his car in an area known for homosexual meet-ups. Two thugs attack Barton, but when his date arrives, the date chases them off. 

Barton was wounded in the attack, but he could not go to the emergency room for fear of exposure of his hidden life. He drives to the hospital and tries to patch himself up, but he is discovered by Bill. Bill tends to Barton's wound while giving him a stern lecture about how he is risking everything by indulging his perversion.

Barton does not take Bill’s advice. The only change he makes is deciding that future meetings take place in a hotel. But wait, there is also another change. Barton’s paid lover could have just run off when he came upon the attack, instead he risked his life to help Barton. This makes Barton feel that the relationship has evolved beyond just sex. They have real feelings for each other.

Due to the attack, Barton had to cancel his trip to New York. When he arrived home, it was obvious Margaret had been entertaining a man in her bedroom. Barton doesn’t care to find out who, and the next morning, he acts like nothing has happened. This drives Margaret crazy. She thinks Barton’s indifference is her fault. “What is wrong with me,” she cries out, “that you haven’t touched me in six years?” Barton doesn’t explain, but he tells Margaret that he loves her. It’s true, but it is a sexless love.

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So there is love that leads to sex and sex that leads to love, and loveless-sex and sexless-love. Love and sex, sex and love--It’s complicated. 

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P.S. Each week, there is a different young couple who come to Dr. Masters for help conceiving. This week's couple was into the Kama Sutra. In response to a question asked by a reader, I'll add that the sex position mentioned in the episode was the rocking horse.