Unsurprisingly, the history of our medical understanding of masturbation makes for amusing - though at times disturbing - reading.
Van Driel traces much misunderstanding back to the 18th-century physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot.
As a 29-year-old married woman who often engages in cybersex, says: When people feel trapped by their current circumstances, but still do not want to ruin their relationship, cyberspace may offer a parallel world in which things are better.
His list of ailments afflicting those who masturbate - including, as you may expect, eye disease and blindness - fills pages.
Van Driel’s analysis of the history of medicine and cultural reactions surrounding masturbation holds together, but his forays into literature, art and entertainment feel shallow and hurried by comparison.
Such criticisms aside, Van Driel has produced an enthusiastic, amusing and eye-opening exploration of a topic which remains disappointingly taboo.
Fortunately, we now know Tissot's thinking was incorrect, and some evidence even points to masturbation reducing incidence of prostate cancer and restless leg syndrome in men, though that doesn’t do much to change the effect of his work on Historical remedies brought about by these aged theories range from the hilarious to the gruesome.
Van Driel points out that one British medical journal went so far as to suggest placing a bird cage over the genitals to remove temptation to masturbate, for instance, while his accounts of deliberate scarring, mutilation of even removal of the genitals - in both sexes - demand a strong stomach.
The fact that most of these affairs are concealed from offline spouses is indicative of the possible harm.