Mels van Driel

Secret Parts

Alles wat je er altijd al over wilde weten

All you ever wanted to know

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, as he puts it, ‘tens of thousands of penises and testicles’ in his medical practice. He knows his subject intimately.

Secret Parts throws light on the male sexual organ from various angles, medical, psychological and cultural-historical as well as literary. 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. He often grants world literature the final say, since in his view art takes precedence over science.

Van Driel investigates and explains the background to medical and psychological phenomena, paying due attention to historical beliefs. He deals with the main elements of the penis and its functions, from the scrotum to the glans, from the inguinal hernia to infertility, from impotence to the speed of ejaculation. After reading this book you’ll be able to enlighten others.

Van Driel reassuringly discusses deteriorating sperm, undescended testicles and penile lengthening surgery. Describing the role of blood flow and the corpora cavernosa in an erection he says: ‘The penis is one great blood sausage.’ Psychological factors that have a bearing on sexual experiences (wandering thoughts, the madonna-whore complex, castration anxiety) and contemporary phenomena such as computer sex are treated in riveting short sections of their own.

Everyone seems to suffer from some affliction that they think they are alone in worrying about. The examples Van Driel uses to support his arguments in this intriguing book – Elvis Presley’s apparent preference for fellatio, Isaac Newton’s lifelong failure to perform coitus, Lance Armstrong’s overcoming testicular cancer – are diverse and instructive, and the text is enlivened by numerous illustrations. The happy combination of cultural patrimony and medical information makes this book a standard work.

  • Entertaining guide to the male sexual organ which takes account of the female reader Based on the expertise of a medical practitioner
  • Scientifically sound, with a sense of humour and sympathy for the human condition

In-depth study of everything that lives and thrives in the male pubic region.

NRC Handelsblad

A fascinating insight into the culturalhistorical, medical, psychological and literary aspects of a man’s private parts.

BRT Radio 1


Mels van Driel

Mels van Driel is a urologist and sexologist attached to the University Medical Centre in Groningen. In 1991 he wrote a postdoctoral thesis on the subject of erectile dysfunction. He is responsible for numerous scientific publications and has frequently written for newspapers and magazines.…

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Geheime delen. Alles wat je er altijd al over wilde weten (2008). Non-fiction, 501 pages.
Words: 100,000
Copies sold: 5,000

With illustrations in black-and-white and references


De Arbeiderspers

Weteringschans 259
NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 760 72 10

[email protected]

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