Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Masters of Sex #306 08/16/15 “Two Scents”

Virginia and Dan
Virginia and Dan get closer.
'Like a Moth to a Flame"

by Catherine Giordano

Like moths are drawn to a flame, moths are drawn to a mate by pheromones. Our friends on Showtime’s Masters of Sex are discovering that pheromones work on people also. On episode 306, which aired on August 16, 2015, we see how chemistry has a lot to do with sexual attraction, working on an unconscious level.
All along Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson have assumed that their sexual relationship began purely from their desire to study the science of sex. Now, Bill reveals that he felt desire for Virginia from the moment he first saw her. It’s all part of the mystery of sexual attraction.

Bill and Virginia are forced to return to the lab for their sexual trysts. They can’t meet at Virginia’s house because Virginia’s parents are there for an extended visit. They can’t meet at a hotel because they have become too famous and the hotel clerk recognizes them. Virginia is not happy about meeting in the lab. She prefers the “silk sheet” experience of a hotel—the luxury probably makes her feel like this affair is less tawdry.  
Libby, Bill’s wife, has a little tawdry secret of her own. Her neighbor, Joy, suffered an aneurism and is now unable to speak or move. Libby visits Joy, who lies in bed like a rag doll attentively combing her hair and talking to her. Joy had told Libby that she intended to leave her husband. Joy had rented an apartment was going to live there, but the aneurism struck before she could actually tell her husband. Libby discovers the key to the apartment, and starts to stay there as much as she can. It gives her a feeling of liberation to sit alone with coffee and a cigarette in this bleak apartment. She’s drawn to this escape.
Joy’s husband, Paul, a former football star, coaches a youth football team. Bill asks to be an assistant coach and forces his reluctant son Johnny to sign up for the team. Libby is opposed because she fears her son will get hurt. Johnny sprains his ankle and Libby angrily tells Paul that her son will no longer be allowed to play on the team. Paul berates Libby for this telling her that she is being overprotective. Libby becomes so angry that she tells Paul that Joy was planning to leave him. The leaves Paul devastated. He had no idea that his marriage was not perfect.
Anger often masks sexual tension. Paul goes to Joy’s apartment and finds Libby there. It is like a magnetic force pulls them into a torrid embrace and (so we are led to assume) into sexual union.

Paul has referred a couple to Bill for sexual counseling. The husband is a football player and the wife is a glamorous movie star named Christina. They are there because the Christina is “frigid.” Yet a session in the lab with Ulysses (the dildo) shows that Christina is able to climax in less than a minute.
We learn that Christina’s husband was drawn to her—like a moth to a flame-- because she was an unattainable movie star. However, once he became a famous football star, she was no longer unattainable. He took her to prove to himself that he could. She was a conquest. Christina is devastated to learn that her husband no longer desires her and never loved her.

Virginia and Dan are also playing with fire. Dan is an executive of a company that produces scents for commercial purposes. He wants to get “sex in a bottle.” Their experiments have shown that certain scents, like a man’s sweat, produce physiological signs of sexual arousal in their female subjects, but the women report having no reaction to the scent at all. It’s the pheromones and it happens on an unconscious level.

Dan has been flirting with Virginia to no avail from their first meeting. In this episode, he draws Virginia close to him into a dance. They dance in the lab silently without music while pretending it is all about the science. (This feels like an echo of the start of Virginia and Bill’s sexual activity.) Dan keeps asking Virginia if she feels anything. Virginia keeps saying “No.” But eventually those pheromones kick in and sexual lust presumably ensues. In the next scene, the two are putting their clothes back on.
While the adults are fulfilling their sexual yearnings, the children are trying to fulfill their yearnings for the approval of their parents. Virginia is a gown woman, with children of her own, but she still is fighting to obtain her mother’s approval.
Yet Virginia totally misses her daughter Tessa’s yearning for approval from her. Tessa has had an article published in a teen magazine. She wants to show it to her mother, but when Tessa tries to do so, but Virginia is preoccupied. Tessa walks away and dumps the magazine in the trash.
And little Johnny, despite being too small to be a good player, now wants to play football. It feels it is the only way he might get the approval of his father. The problem is that during football practice, Bill has established a relationship with Dennis, the bully who beat up Johnny in an earlier episode. Dennis is a star quarterback and Bill always approves of a winner. Dennis, who is evidently ignored by his own parents, now sees Bill as a father figure. He comes to Bill’s house and the two of them sit together looking at Bill’s collection of football cards. It’s a tender father-son scene; if only Bill’s actual son were not peering into the room from a hidden spot mournfully watching his father give the attention that he so desperately wants to another boy.
Children seek parental approval like the moth seeks the light. It is the lucky child who gets that approval. Then the children become adults and yearn for love. It’s the lucky adult who gets that love.

Masters of Sex Book
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Showtime's Masters of Sex Season One dvd
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Human Sexual Response book
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