Manhood: The Rise and Fall of the Penis

Mels van Driel

Manhood: The Rise and Fall of the Penis

Why does drinking alcohol increase a woman's sexual desire but reduce a man's ability to perform? Why is the glans not the most sensitive part of the penis? Why is sperm sticky? Can a penis break off? What about all the diseases that torment the hypochondriac? Since 1983 Mels van Driel has come into direct contact with 'tens of thousands of penises and testicles' in his medical practice. He knows his subject intimately. Manhood examines the male sexual organ from medical, psychological and cultural-historical, as well as literary, angles. Van Driel admits that over the years his professional work has produced an 'uneasy balance' between these different viewpoints, which is precisely what prompted him to write this book. Van Driel investigates the penis and its functions, from the scrotum to the glans, from inguinal hernia to infertility, from impotence to the speed of ejaculation. Every man seems to suffer in seeming isolation from some inadequacy or affliction, and the author discusses conditions such as deteriorating sperm, undescended testicles and penile lengthening surgery. Psychological factors that have an impact on sexual experience (wandering thoughts, the madonna-whore complex, castration anxiety) and contemporary phenomena, such as computer sex, are given enlightening treatment along the way. 2.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
Manhood: The Rise and Fall of the Penis

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Sex & Sexuality
Format Hardback
Pages 288
RRP
Date of Publication October 2009
ISBN 978-1861895424
Publisher Reaktion
 

Why does drinking alcohol increase a woman's sexual desire but reduce a man's ability to perform? Why is the glans not the most sensitive part of the penis? Why is sperm sticky? Can a penis break off? What about all the diseases that torment the hypochondriac? Since 1983 Mels van Driel has come into direct contact with 'tens of thousands of penises and testicles' in his medical practice. He knows his subject intimately. Manhood examines the male sexual organ from medical, psychological and cultural-historical, as well as literary, angles. Van Driel admits that over the years his professional work has produced an 'uneasy balance' between these different viewpoints, which is precisely what prompted him to write this book. Van Driel investigates the penis and its functions, from the scrotum to the glans, from inguinal hernia to infertility, from impotence to the speed of ejaculation. Every man seems to suffer in seeming isolation from some inadequacy or affliction, and the author discusses conditions such as deteriorating sperm, undescended testicles and penile lengthening surgery. Psychological factors that have an impact on sexual experience (wandering thoughts, the madonna-whore complex, castration anxiety) and contemporary phenomena, such as computer sex, are given enlightening treatment along the way.

Reviews

The Observer

Leo Benedictus

For all the laughs that our guide courts deliberately, it is the many more that happen accidentally that make him such good company … I do sometimes doubt the veracity of Van Driel's facts or, at least, his assiduity in checking them. And yes, the book contains some lulls — the chapter on vasectomies and infertility, for one, felt very long indeed. But provided you have the sense to take some breaks and skips bits, Manhood is an eccentric delight. And more than that: a monument, though rickety, to science and its driving force, obsession.

13/12/2009

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The Sunday Telegraph

Noel Malcolm

Where the medical details are concerned, we can assume that Dr Van Driel knows what he is talking about … But one has to wonder how reliable he is on anything else. It’s not that I suspect him of making things up when he cites an eminent Dutch sexologist called Professor Slob. The problem, rather, is his tendency to cite other people who have made things up, or got things wrong. No serious medieval historian believes that the Albigensians 'sprinkled the bread used for Holy Communion with human sperm’ — a claim for which Van Driel cites, as his authority, the Victorian sexologist Havelock Ellis.

13/12/2009

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