Virginia Johnson

Pioneer in the study of sex

There may never have been a topic people thought about more but understood less than their own sexuality. That all changed in 1966 thanks to Virginia Johnson, who died July 24 at 88, and her collaborator, Dr. William Masters, authors of the book Human Sexual Response, a dry but still groundbreaking work that moved beyond the earlier research of Alfred Kinsey, focusing less on sexual behavior and more on basic physiology. Johnson, a onetime country singer and journalist, had no particular sexual expertise--until 1956, when she applied for a job as a research associate at Washington University and was hired by...

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