As their work begins to move them in the direction of sexual dysfunction, Bill is fixated on curing impotence, while Virginia is as concerned with female sexual dysfunction. The wonderful performances by Sheen and Caplan, whose seamless chemistry is communicated through lingering looks and conversations layered with multiple meanings, cannot be underestimated. This are many other characters who are allowed only a respite of contentment before they're plunged back into their misery. In trying to tell a story based about real people and real events, Masters of Sex takes plenty of liberties. Unsurprisingly, their unorthodox methods coupled with such a taboo topic has negative consequences for the two. The ways in which Masters and Johnson move their work forward is in no small way indebted to their work on female sexuality and the many myths they debunk. Bill is haunted by an abusive childhood that colors all his relationships, particularly those with his mother Essie Ann Dowd , his wife Libby Caitlin FitzGerald , and his children; Virginia is determined to not turn out like her own mother and frequently sabotages her own happiness; Libby is knowingly married to a husband having a long-term affair with Virginia; and Bill's mentor Dr. As the series opens in the '50s and ends in the early '70s, it touches on a great deal of social history, including gender politics, race relations, and sexual identity. Getting to that point involves jumping from several hospitals, opening their own clinic, and publishing their first book, the seminal Human Sexual Response The sequence, which includes suggestive, tongue-in-cheek sex metaphors and symbols, received a mix response from critics; it placed on both best and worst lists for opening credit sequences. Many of its most successful and memorable moments are tied to recurring or one-off characters. Nothing is ever gratuitous and there's a purpose behind every one of those scenes. The complex series of changes and unforeseen circumstances that their relationship weathers remains engrossing even as they can frequently be unlikable , in large part thanks to the charm of its leads.