Sawbones: Mr. Reich's Sexbox


One afternoon, Albert Einstein spent an afternoon studying a box that was supposed to harness cosmic sex energy. This happened. Really. And this week on Sawbones, Dr. Sydnee and Justin will introduce you to Wilhelm Reich, the man who made that incredible moment possible.

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Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers

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Insurance claim for an orgone accumulator

Love the podcast.
I work in an insurance claims department and once (about 5-6 years ago) had a claimant with a compensable open wound laceration injury (and some unrelated medical problems) who wanted the insurance to cover a second hand orgone accumulator which was built by someone he found on the net. Needless to say, funding was not granted for this. We did end up having to pay for psych counselling on a without prejudice basis, without admission of liability, though. This claimant also had an amusing way of describing neurogenic pain too. I won't go into it, but he made up for his threats, abuse and rants with the hilarity. I felt a lot safer because I never had to deal with him in person like the vocational rehab consultant, doctors and allied health providers did.
Keep up the good work.
PS As soon as I started listening to your episode about alcoholism, I immediately wanted a drink and got out the open bottle of red wine! Bad, I know. Luckily I just got home and didn't have to drive! At least it has some antioxidants in there. My family history has no alcoholism or liver probs, so I think I'm OK.

Early 20th Century Sex Research

Do you happen to know if Reich had any contact with Magnus Hirschfeld, the Berlin sex reform activist and doctor? This sounds like something he would have had in the collections of his Institute for Sexology.

A lot of the early sexologists in Austria and Germany were Jewish medical folks, and a number of them also held fairly radical political views for the time (with communists and socialists well-known for their espousal of "free love," which could include everything from more egalitarian marriage and divorce laws to the decriminalization of homosexuality to polyamory--all fairly shocking and controversial for the period). Hirschfeld was himself Jewish, very openly gay, and a pacifist. After the Nazis rose to power, he wrote a book denouncing the eugenics movement. Also, that famous photo of a Nazi book burning was taken during the destruction of Hirschfeld's Institute.

(Hirschfeld did have some scientifically-dubious beliefs that are more Sawbones-worthy, mostly about how hormones work, but he generally seems to have been a pretty awesome person in the history of both medicine and LGBT rights.)

Love the show, and would love to see more discussions of weird sex research things and quackery!