Masters of Sex
All Together Now

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 43 USERS: A
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The High Striker

The other side of giving is taking, and boy are we not okay with taking. Dale helps here, too. Because Fifty Shades Of Gray is precisely about our fear of asking for sex, when it comes to women's bodies, and the fantasy of turning sexuality into a transaction. Of power, this time. You never have to ask if you are submissive, in a power relationship, which means you get out of the "dirty girl" box for wanting sex, but more importantly you get out of the hair-raising obligations -- and more importantly confessions -- that come along with asking for it.

And I dare you to find a man, by the same token, that hasn't fantasized about being a prostitute. (It means something so different it's barely the same concept, because men are not subject to the same forces, or dangers, as women. A woman on the street is contending with dangers that a man in any street knows by association, rather than lifetime training in those dangers.) They won't admit it, but it's there, and again it has to do with fear less of rejection than of wanting, or asking, itself. In 1957, and still now, it's safer (emotionally speaking) to be the hustler than to be the hustled, but either way the transactional aspect of it clears you both of a lot of fuzz. Craigslist hookups and glory holes work the same magic: By reducing things to a transaction -- supply curve meets demand -- you are both absolved of the sin called Need.

So as we're watching Virginia and Bill go at it, almost neurasthenic in their desire to stay free of this most shameful sin, we're looking also at Barton driving up to meet Dale in a dark alley, or Margaret daring her husband to tell her she's ugly, or Austin wandering blindly through the forest of his deepest mind: We're looking at the ways in which we turn the ineffable, the divine instinct of desire, into numbers -- dollars, dicks without faces or stories attached, points on a graph -- that keep us clean. She won't fuck him in a hotel, but she'll fuck him in this quiet hospital, because one of them is sex and the other is science.

One of them is tender, and the other one is true: Excitement, plateau, orgasm, resolution, they murmur, like a prayer. And it might as well be.

Bill: "The plateau state of the male subject lasted 8:31, resulting in his orgasm..."
Gini: "But not the female's. Which is fine, because it was the position. In 1957 grinding the corn is something Pilgrims do. But if the point is maximizing clitoral stimulation, Missionary gets a big fat 4 out of 10."

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Masters of Sex

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