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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Come again?

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 14 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5873
  1. John Quin, consultant physician, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton
  1. John.Quin{at}

Sex and science; ecstasy and repression. John Quin enjoyed the untold story of Wilhelm Reich and his part in the start of the sexual revolution

In Vienna in 1919, Wilhelm (Willy) Reich, after three years at the Italian front, was a medical student aged 22, when he paid Sigmund Freud a visit. They clicked, and soon Freud regarded him as his “fair haired boy” and began referring patients to the wunderkind for analysis. Despite the laughter of the medical school, Reich was groomed to be Freud’s successor, and he was regarded as the best diagnostician of the younger generation of therapists. As a student Reich wondered if his restlessness was a result of his lack of sexual gratification. Reich had psoriasis, and Christopher Turner, the author of Adventures in the Orgasmatron, asks if he gave birth to a sexual revolution as a result of his uneasy relationship with his own body. Aged 12 he was bullied by his father into admitting that he knew his mother was having an affair. …

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