Is It “Science” to Show Cadavers Having Sex?

By Boonsri Dickinson | September 14, 2009 2:53 pm

body.jpgYes, sex sells. But should it sell science? Anatomist Gunther von Hagens plans on opening a new kind of Body Exhibit, one that is akin to a sex show of dead corpses. The Swiss have already granted him the OK to set up the show in their country, as part of the Body Worlds exhibit. He’s tried to put it on before in Berlin, with a male and female corpse having sex, and met with protests. In response, he claimed that the two subjects had signed consent forms prior to their death, and agreed to have their bodies displayed in a sexual way.

Now, Reuters reports he’s ready for a full on show:

Von Hagens and his wife Angelina Whalley show corpses prepared using a technique invented by von Hagens called “plastination,” that removes water from specimens and preserves them with silicon rubber or epoxy resin.

“It’s not my intention to show certain sexual poses. My goal is really to show the anatomy and the function,” Body Worlds creative director Whalley told Reuters in an interview, adding the sex exhibition may open next year.

The regular Body World exhibit has racked up 27 million visitors, but constantly is called controversial for their use of corpses and dissection of skin and internal body parts. And while teaching about anatomy is a noble goal, is there really any educational purpose to this sex show? Or is von Hagens just very good at getting free press?

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DISCOVER: Gross Anatomy

Image: flickr/ dustinkeirstead

MORE ABOUT: body exhibit, sex
  • Haruspex

    The Body World exhibit is excellent. When will certain morals finally get out of the way of art and science? It’s just a body. It’s just sex. Get over it. The bodies were donated by their owners with consent for such displays. There is nothing wrong with this.

  • tom

    Haruspex you have no idea… von Hagens way of “convincing” poeple goes like this:

    he wanted to have the corpse of a handicapped man from russia. His family was having difficulties with money, because of his disorder and everyting.. they were pretty poor. So von hagen came to them and promised to help them… In the end it turned out that they had to pay the prize for this “generous” help in the form of their families bodys. And regarding their agreement, they gave up their right to codetermine what was going to happen with them.

    Gunter Hagen is completly concious-proof… that man is a ruthless unethical profit oriented cockalorum

  • Joe Bogus

    Hmmmmm… cockalorum….. “your average blogger”.

  • Jay

    The show isn’t a ‘sex show of corpses’, it is a display of the human anatomy in a variety of poses and still image actions, playing chess, gymnastics, kicking a soccer ball, copulating, and so on. I think it’s perfectly fine.

  • Peter R. Limburg

    Is “tom” familiar with the English language? His argument would be more convincing if he could spell properly and avoid bloopers like “concious-proof.” And can he document his contention that Von Hagens bought corpses of handicapped men in Russia?


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