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Pioneer of sex research, Virginia Johnson, dies at 88

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Sex researcher Virginia Johnson, part of the famed Masters and Johnson team who conducted groundbreaking work on human sexuality, has died in St. Louis at the age of 88, her son said on Thursday.

Johnson suffered from various illnesses prior to her death on Wednesday at an assisted living center, Scott Johnson said.

Virginia Johnson and William Masters, who died in 2001, met when she was a researcher for him at Washington University in St. Louis in the 1950s. Masters was a physician at the university and had begun researching sex in 1954.

The couple published the bestselling book "Human Sexual Response" in 1966 after years of laboratory research and testing of sexual arousal in couples. They published what was considered a second major study in 1970, "Human Sexual Inadequacy."

Her son said publication of the two books "forever changed the study of sex" and helped in the development of treatments for sexual dysfunction.

"She was very proud of her life's work," Scott Johnson said.

Masters and Johnson married in 1971, and in 1973 formed the Masters and Johnson Institute in St. Louis to continue their research and reports. They divorced after 20 years, but often appeared on talk shows and other programs to discuss their research.

(Editing by Greg McCune and Matthew Lewis)

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