The religious right loves to cite a famous claim made by noted sex researchers Masters and Johnson that they had “successfully converted 70%” of their gay patients to heterosexuality. However Scientific American is now reporting that assistants who worked with the duo back in the 70’s never saw any evidence of the research and believe that Masters made up the work.
When the clinic’s top associate, Robert Kolodny, asked to see the files and to hear the tape-recordings of these “storybook” cases, Masters refused to show them to him. Kolodny—who had never seen any conversion cases himself—began to suspect some, if not all, of the conversion cases were not entirely true. When he pressed Masters, it became ever clearer to him that these were at best composite case studies made into single ideal narratives, and at worst they were fabricated. Eventually Kolodny approached Virginia Johnson privately to express his alarm. She, too, held similar suspicions about Masters’ conversion theory, though publicly she supported him. The prospect of public embarrassment, of being exposed as a fraud, greatly upset Johnson, a self-educated therapist who didn’t have a college degree and depended largely on her husband’s medical expertise.
A last minute attempt was made to remove the fraudulent chapter from the duo’s now-famous book, but it was too late.
RELATED: The New York Times is covering the story today.
(Tipped by JMG reader Richard)