Is Nora Everett From 'Masters Of Sex' A Real Person? She Is Getting Cozy With Bill
Bill and Virginia may as well be on different planes of existence for how disconnected they've been lately on Masters of Sex. While Virginia struggles to decide how permanent she'd like her spontaneous affair with perfume mogul Dan Logan to become, a painfully lonely Bill seeks out companionship elsewhere. He finds an unlikely rapport with the best student in the clinic's first class of sex surrogacy volunteers, Nora Everett. The Walking Dead's Emily Kinney plays the young woman, who also happens to have grown up next door to the Masters family. And, man, is she intrigued by Bill. As you must know by now, the show itself is based on Thomas Maier's biography of the real researchers, Masters Of Sex: The Life And Times Of William Masters And Virginia Johnson. So, is Nora Everett also based on a real person?
There's no evidence that Nora is based on an actual participant in the researchers' work, though Masters and Johnson did pioneer the practice of sex surrogacy. In this week's episode, Nora is first introduced to her client by Bill in the cozy lobby of the clinic. They discuss an outing of some kind, though the audience doesn't learn what exactly they end up doing. However, the very hands-off quality of their early interactions lines up with modern application of the therapy. According to the Kinsey Institute, "About 13% of a client's time with a surrogate partner involves physical interaction, such as directly teaching sexual techniques. Some surrogate-client relationships do not involve sexual contact at all, depending on client preference or the nature of the concern."
Which is why Bill has a massive freak-out whenever Nora breaks protocol the first time she initiates physical contact with the client. The process that she's supposed to be facilitating involves Masters and Johnson's sensate therapy, the goal of which is to strongly associate sexual contact with pleasurable sensory effects, not just an eventual climax. The sensate therapy kicks the client back into gear, as it were, and he begs Nora to fast-forward the protocol. She does, and faces the wrath of Bill — the same Bill who's reeling at the thought of losing Virginia to another man and another life. The man does not cope well with lack of control; as Betty pointed out, his need for it is his greatest weakness.
Bill decides to pull Nora off of the program; she pulls back the curtain on her childhood, cluing him in on the drama next door. Though the notoriously self-involved researcher probably wouldn't have noticed her family struggles even if screaming fights had taken place on his doorstep every day. What follows is a strangely self-aware heart-to-heart. Nora is composed and deliberate, even as she lays out her troubles. ("I think I have to do what people say, or they won't love me.") Bill is relieved to have a problem wholly unrelated to his personal life to focus on, but realizes that a companionable Chinese food picnic with a young employee perhaps shouldn't fall into his regular late-night work activities when Nora calmly states that she's aware she's transferring her daddy issues onto him.
While Nora seems very composed and certainly knows her own mind, her "slip" in tonight's episode reveals some struggles simmering just below the surface. And, with Bill completely lost without Virginia (how heartbreaking was his visit to her home earlier in the episode?), couldn't he be drawn into an intimate relationship with an similarly bright person who so openly admires him? We'll just have to wait and see.
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