Masters, William (Howell)(1915– ) biologist, sexual therapist; born in Cleveland, Ohio. He took an M.D. at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. At Washington University (St. Louis), he began in 1944 to establish scientific credentials in reproductive biology before launching his research into all aspects of human sexual activity in 1954. In 1957 he hired a psychologist, Virginia Johnson, to provide the necessary female perspective. They proceeded to investigate the physiological responses to sexual stimulation in actual men and women, and their first report, Human Sexual Response (1966), despite its technical nature, created a tremendous controversy. Later works such as Human Sexual Inadequacy (1970) and Homosexuality in Perspective (1979) proved almost as controversial. In 1964 he founded the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation; renamed the Masters and Johnson Institute, it increasingly concentrated on treating couples' sexual problems and training therapists. Masters and Johnson married in 1971 but divorced in 1992.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.