Is Masters of Sex based on a true story?

Question: Is the TV series Masters of Sex based on real life and if so, who is it about?

Nicholas D'Agosto as Dr. Ethan Haas, Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters, Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson, Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham and Caitlin Fitzgerald as Libby Masters in Masters of Sex (season 1) - Photo: Erwin Olaf/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: MOS1_PR04_WAITSIX_4C_300

Masters of Sex. Picture Publicist: Charles Fearn. Photographer: Sony Pictures Television International. Image Source:

Answer: The Channel 4 show which stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan is in fact based on real life, factual people and events.

The television series is based on Thomas Maier’s book ‘Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love’. The book is in turn based on the real life work of American gynecologist Dr. William H. Masters and Virginia Johnson, who lead a team of researches as they made groundbreaking studies into human sexual nature.

Please note, if you are yet to watch the television series or read Thomas Maier’s biography, you may wish to avoid reading the remainder of this page as it could potentially spoil your enjoyment of the story.

Beginning in the late 1950’s, the pair began a series of secret studies into intimacy, the ‘human sexual response cycle’ and sexual dysfunction. In total, the teams work carried on for over 40 years.

William H. Masters ended his existing marriage in 1971, in order to wed research partner Virginia. The couples marriage lasted until their divorce in 1992, to a large degree this separation also marked the end of their research together.

Season 1 of Masters of Sex, which consists of 12 episodes, is currently airing in the UK, Tuesday nights at 9:00 PM on Channel 4.

Source references: Masters and Johnson