Friday, January 28

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The History and Reality of Chastity Belts

Most historic illustrations that prevail to depict chastity belts exhibit crusaders, knights, or traveling husbands fastening the padlock to their wives’ chastity belts. Given the setting and the pictorial direction of the image, it is assumed that chastity belts were a thing of the medieval era. During the renaissance, the curiosity for this metal underwear augmented, mixed with the romanticization of medieval love and capability to secure their wives’ genital region.

A medieval age satire titillated many to believe chastity belt to be a product of the middle ages. Researchers have since then proven that the questionable chastity belt was nothing but centuries-old humor on insecure men and their lustful wives. “It is probable that the great majority of examples now existing were made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as curiosities for the prurient, or as jokes for the tasteless,” states The British Museum regarding a chastity belt specimen at the museum.

Chastity Belt and its alleged purpose

A chastity belt is a contraption consisting of metal underwear with a padlock and hole to safeguard a women’s fidelity, to keep a young woman “pure” until marriage or masturbation. The hole allowed women to urinate, menstruate, excrete without yanking off the belt. 

Image acquired from the book “The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process“.

Based on the myth, crusaders and knights made their wives wear belts to ensure sexual loyalty while the husbands were away for long periods of time. Furthermore, it was believed that donning a chastity belt also prevents women from seeking sexual companions due to loneliness, and even rape.

One of the most prominent graphics of chastity belts, which according to Museum Hack is ‘a concept devised for the Renaissance equivalent of a Playboy cartoon,’ was developed in the 16th century. It exhibits a nude woman donned only in a chastity belt on a bed handing over its key to her crusader husband. All the while, two other men are seen lurking behind the bed with a copy of the chastity belt’s key. Similar illustrations of naked women in nothing but a chastity belt seen within a myriad of setups rose into popularity during the renaissance period.

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A torturous and ridiculous myth

“The truth about chastity belts is that they are largely a fiction constructed in the Renaissance and Early Modern periods in order to conjure a more “barbaric” middle age that had come previously,” writes historian Sarah Bond. 

Leaving the technicality of the gizmo behind, merely donning the belt perpetually can cause severe biological, medical and hygiene issues. To researchers, it seemed impossible how a device meant to dissuade vaginal and anal penetration could simultaneously permit urination, excretion, and menstruation. The metal has the probability to cause serious chafing, whereas the blending of metal with the vaginal and anal discharge could induce fatal infections for the women. 

In the book “The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process”, author Albrecht Classen tracked down stories, instances, and myths surrounding chastity belts and concluded that their existence were merely a “satirical topos by fifteenth- and sixteenth-century poets and artists.” 

“They were all the product of erotic fantasy, or of neurotic obsessiveness concerning how to control, if not to subjugate, women’s allegedly excessive sexuality and to block any potential adulterous lover from getting access to the wife’s body,” he added.

Technologically advanced Chastity Belts

Blatantly, and despite being a myth, the world has advanced from the era when a woman wore a metal chastity belt. In recent years, China launched CellMate – the world’s first app controlled male chastity device. The device lets the ‘keymaster’ possess the power to lock and unlock the chastity remotely through its Bluetooth app. As good as it sounds in theory, the device and its app were effortlessly hacked by non-users. They demanded huge ransoms from the victims whose genitals were locked by the hackers. The app’s vulnerability was exposed by a UK based security firm, however, authorities of CellMate are yet to provide a solution to this grave predicament.

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Feature Image Via Nanaimo News Now!

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Written By

A Mass Media graduate with a freelance background in Content Writing and Photography. Currently working as the Junior Editor at The Ticket Fairy. (She/Her)

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