Virginia E. Johnson

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Virginia Eshelman Johnson (Eshelman)

Birthplace: Springfield, Greene, Missouri, United States
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Hershel Harry Eshelman and Edna Eshelman

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Immediate Family

About Virginia E. Johnson

Virginia Eshelman Johnson (11 February 1925) is a former American sexologist and psychologist, best known as the junior member of the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team. Along with then-husband William Masters, she pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions from 1957 until the 1990s.

Early life

Johnson was born Virginia Eshelman in Springfield, Missouri on 11 February 1925, the daughter of Edna (née Evans) and Hershel Harry Eshelman, a farmer. Her paternal grandparents were members of the LDS church, and her father had Hessian ancestry. Johnson divorced her first husband, with whom she had had two children - Scott Forstall and Lisa Evans - in 1956.

Sexological work

Main article: Masters and Johnson

Johnson met Masters in 1957 when he hired her as a research assistant at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1964, Masters and Johnson established their own independent nonprofit research institution in St. Louis called the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation; this center was renamed the Masters and Johnson Institute in 1978.

The pair married in 1971; Masters divorced his first wife to marry Johnson.

In April 2009, Thomas Maier reported in Scientific American that Johnson had serious reservations about the Masters and Johnson Institute's program to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals, a program which ran from 1968 to 1977.

Later life

Masters and Johnson divorced in 1992, largely ending their work together. Masters died in 2001.

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Virginia E. Johnson's Timeline

February 11, 1925
Springfield, Greene, Missouri, United States
July 24, 2013
Age 88