Rest Easy Virginia Johnson; You Made A Good Mark On Our World

Virginia Johnson, one half of the famous (in sex research at least) duo Masters & Johnson, has passed away at age 88. She seems to have lived a long, eventful, and happy life, and I truly appreciate what she gave to this world.

Virgina Johnson, pic found at http://missouriwomen.org/2012/02/14/virginia-johnson/
  If you don't know about ol' M&J, then you could do a couple things...watch the HBO series that is coming out about them in September, but that might take too long to get into the real info about them, and it's TV (sorry, not TV - HBO), so it might also be wildly inaccurate. You could check this article that came out in 2001 when Masters died, or this kinda nice little 1994 interview with the two of them after their divorce (they got married after many years of researching together) that's a little more personal. Also, you could just read either their 1968 groundbreaking book about the physiology of human arousal and orgasm or their other slightly less groundbreaking 1970 book about the couple therapy system they developed for sexual dysfunction.

Here I would point out that, yes, I know M&J had their faults. Their other books, aimed more at the public as opposed to scientists and medical professionals, were sometime heavily criticized, and seem to me to be less interesting and useful. Plus, they had some ideas about sex that are antiquated, holding heterosexuality as the ideal (although it seems this was something that Johnson may not have been so much behind) and orgasms during intercourse (not to be mistaken for the illusive and magical "vaginal/uterine/g-spot" orgasm, just normal ol' clit orgasms but during intercourse) as overly important. To counteract some of that, I'd recommend Dr. Lonnie Barbach's book For Yourself, which in many ways updated the principals of M&J's therapy - particularly helping women who want/need to work on their sexual issues without having to include a partner. But, honestly, even with their faults, they did extraordinary, scientifically sound, work that still holds up as a standard for physically researching and understanding the human orgasm. They were pioneers, and frankly pioneers aren't supposed to be perfect in every way.

Anyway, thanks Virgina Johnson for giving us the knowledge we need to be informed about how our ladygasms work. You were a brave woman, and we all owe you a little something for sparking the best parts of the sexual revolution. I just wish more of us were well schooled on your work and much earlier in our lives too.

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