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Body Worlds to Unveil Cadaver Sex Show Next Year

A museum exhibit featuring poker-playing and football-throwing cadavers too boring for you? How about corpses displayed to look like they're having sex?

Body Worlds — a traveling exhibition of preserved, skinless, and posed corpses whose muscles and organs are visible — is proposing an exhibit for next year that shows cadavers posed in sex positions. Of the exhibit, Body Worlds' creative director Angelina Whalley said, "It's not my intention to show certain sexual poses. My goal is really to show the anatomy and the function."

Gunther von Hagens, Whalley's husband and Body Worlds' developer and promoter, treats the corpses using a technique he invented called "plastination," which is supposed to remove water from the bodies and preserve them with a silicon rubber or epoxy resin. (Perhaps this technique had not yet been perfected in 2005, when viewers of one exhibit in San Francisco complained of corpses oozing fluid.)


Although Body Worlds has been viewed by more than 27 million people all over the world, it has its detractors. Many human rights groups are worried about the ethics of displaying "donated" cadavers from countries like China with records of horrible human rights abuses. Von Hagens admitted to 20/20 reporters that he had to destroy some corpses he'd gotten from China because the injuries on their bodies suggested they'd been executed. Although Von Hagens and Whalley argue that Body Worlds exhibits are educational, others have called it a ghoulish peep show.

Would you want to see this upcoming sex exhibit? What do you think about the Body Worlds shows?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Pistil Pistil 7 years
These are rumors and von Hagens practice has been proven ethical. It is a special donation program specifically for the show. The donators know how their bodies are going to be used. However, there are shady imitation shows with no donation program (including the one in Vegas). "Bodies" is not the same as "Body Worlds".
gigilgirl gigilgirl 7 years
strange. but if the purpose is really for education then maybe it would not be too bad. like in med, the unclaimed cadavers become dissection objects/research objects. but it's pretty unfair that the promoters/developers that buy these bodies from executed people (prisoners) from China. i mean, isn't it also the haven for organ selling, where they take away a prisoner's organs without consent whilst still alive!
suziryder suziryder 7 years
I saw the Body Worlds exhibit in Vegas, thinking that it was the legit version. I had a creepy feeling going through it when I realized that every cadaver was Asian. I mean, if these people donated their bodies to science, they'd be a variety of races, wouldn't they? As soon as we left the exhibit, I looked up Body Worlds on my iPhone and was really upset to find out the truth - that the bodies are not donated, they're people who were prisoners in China who might have been tortured and who had no say in what happened to their remains. I was really disturbed by it. I'd never see another exhibit by Body Worlds - especially one about sex, it just seems like they're exploiting the heck out of these people to create a stir and make money. I doubt they care about the science at all.
Meike Meike 7 years
No, I would never support a show where its creator and promoter even admits to having destroyed bodies with injuries that suggested the people were executed. A good number of these people did not donate their body to the show. I also completely agree with staple salad and janneth on the exploitation of these people who had no idea their bodies could be potentially be used to display sexual positions.
janneth janneth 7 years
Exploitation has turned to sexploitation. Let's ask the people who were in the bodies if this is what they had in mind. Oh, wait, we can't, so let them R.I.P.
Spacekatdude Spacekatdude 7 years
vanilla19 vanilla19 7 years
I think this is completely horrible-these people donate their bodies to be used for science, not a sex show. Showing cadavers in sexual positions is not anything that couldn't be learned from a book.
TammyO TammyO 7 years
As if they don't make sex lewd and over done enough these days. Sex is awesome and beautiful....with two living bodies that is.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I've seen the Body Worlds exhibit and found it to be a fascinating exploration of the human body. I also find the controversy fascinating. I recognize that dead bodies should be handled with a certain amount of respect. I didn't see any displays that offended me.
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
I saw this in high school. I LOVED it. Thought it was the coolest thing ever. As for the sex positions, I'm kind of ambivalent about it. If it's done well, it could be very interesting.
mkiss mkiss 7 years
i saw this exhibit in Dallas a couple years back. as i'm not very comfortable with death and funeral viewings it's really interesting to see these bodies on display for everyone to see. it doesnt feel like i'm in a room full of dead people but people continuing to facinate others beyond the grave. who wants to spend the rest of eternity in a box? not these people obviously. :)
Ac2366 Ac2366 7 years
I would absolutely see this exhibit. I find the human body fascinating.
mondo mondo 7 years
It is so undignified to these "departed" souls. I hate the whole "Bodies in Motion" concept. I would never patronize any of these shows.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
I find the exhibit idea interesting, since it is educational (even though it's rather morbid). However, I don't like the idea of sexual positions. Because I know when I die, I want to be able to consider donating my body to science. I wouldn't mind it being carved up and studied, then cremated and turned into a diamond, it's a way I could help people after death by teaching them things that could save others one day. However, I would NOT be comfortable with my body being frozen in sexual positions with some stranger, especially if I were in a long term relationship or married when I died. I'm not that conservative, but I don't like the idea of someone's control over their sexuality being taken from them, even in death (same reason I really don't like necrophiliacs... unless it were the spouse/significant other of the dead body, but it's still icky then). And I'm sure a lot of the people whose bodys would be used feel the same way.
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 7 years
There are two different productions of this tour, one that is professional, and the other with shoddy production values and questionable ethics concerning the bodies (i.e. stolen from China). I know the one in SF was the latter...and the one I saw in Vegas was the cheaper one as well. Creepy, fascinating, and the smell was horrific. Showing the sexual positions makes sense, but not enough of a draw for me to check it out again
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
I've heard some really shady stories about the creator, so I will certainly not support him by going to the show.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
""It's not my intention to show certain sexual poses. My goal is really to show the anatomy and the function." Well there in lies the dilemma scientific vs. lay person perspective, lay persons win hands dwn by majority. I have no problem with the exhibit although I probably wouldn't go see it. It's been around for a while and I think art is in the eye of the beholder.
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