A Skeptical Scrutiny of the Works and Theories of WILHELM REICH

As related to

The Tension-Charge (Orgasm) Formula

By Roger M. Wilcox

Last modified 21-August-2000

The tension-charge formula, or "orgasm formula," was Reich's description of a four-beat process which allegedly explained the orgasm — and which Reich later claimed applied to all "healthy" living processes.  It is a "formula" in the sense that it is drawn as a series of short phrases connected by arrows rather than described in ordinary prose.

In his earlier works, such as Character Analysis and chapter 1 of The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety, Reich defined the tension-charge formula as follows:

Mechanical tension —> bioelectrical charge —> bioelectrical discharge —> mechanical relaxation
In that earlier time, Reich believed that sexuality was electrical in nature.  However, after about 1939, Reich was convinced that his orgone energy, and not electricity, was actually the stuff of which sexuality is made.  He then reworded his tension-charge formula as:
Mechanical tension —> bioenergetic charge —> bioenergetic discharge —> mechanical relaxation
— Remainder of article yet to be written. —

Send comments regarding this Web page to: Roger M. Wilcox.
Main Wilhelm Reich index page | Roger M. Wilcox's home page