The Fascinating History Of Male And Female Chastity
A woman reclines on a bed, naked save for the band of cold, forbidding metal encircling her waist and disappearing between her legs. She waits patiently for her husband's return - from war or the Crusades or to the capital to see the King - as he holds the only key which can open the lock keeping her pure, chaste and faithful.
It's a beautiful, erotic image, certainly - but, as recent scholarship has begun to show, it is also a historically inaccurate one. The idea of the "chastity belt," a metal garment used by wealthy, important men to keep their young, beautiful wives faithful has been proven rather definitively to be no more than a myth.
Historical art and writings featuring these "chastity belts" were either metaphorical or satirical in nature. Perhaps most conclusive of all, the supposed "medieval" chastity belts on display in British and French museums - reportedly worn by famous queens and empresses of old - were proven via metal analysis to have actually been made as recently as the 1800s.
It seems increasingly likely that no real medieval women were forced into chastity belts by their husbands.
Still, the image of a lover locked up in chastity remains a beautiful and compelling one - and it is that image which adventurous kinksters have striven to recreate using modern chastity belts, genital piercings, cock rings and, of course, cock cages.
While new, more innovative, sexier and crueler cock cages are being developed every year, it is important to remember and honor "how we got here" even as we travel ever faster towards the future.
That's why we've created this exciting look into both the myths and the truths which make up the storied history of chastity devices!
Medieval Female Chastity - More Myth Than Fact
The idea of historical female chastity is most commonly associated with the Crusades, as wives were forced to spend long periods of time at home while their husbands fought in the Christian armies laying siege to the Middle East.
The image of a woman waiting faithfully, her loins girded with a chastity belt in the "armored bikini" style as her husband rides off with the key, captivated historians to the point that it was written about in fact in several texts describing the period.
Primary among the sources cited by these historians were various religious pamphlets in Latin, paintings and woodcuttings of German and Italian origin, and Bellifortis, Konrad Kyeser's 1405 manual of torture implements and tools of war.
However, none of these supposedly legitimate "sources" stand up to even the slightest bit of scrutiny. The theological texts are unquestionably meant to be taken metaphorically, rather than literally.
Sure, women are encouraged to "gird their waists with the belt of chastity," but, at the same time, they are also told to "wear salvation as a helmet" and "keep truth in their mouths".
While we don't have any perfectly accurate accounts of the day to day lives of medieval women, it is highly unlikely that they went around constantly helmeted and chewing on giant blocks of wood labeled "TRUTH".
Therefore, the "belt" mentioned in these texts should also be considered a metaphor for the importance of female virtue and sexual fidelity in that time period.
Satirical Art And Writing
As for the many artistic images - these have been revealed to be in fact a clever mix of metaphor and satire.
Take a look at any one of these varied pieces, and you'll see quite a similar situation: the woman locked up in her "metal bikini," waiting patiently for her husband to return with the key - but there, behind the bed or hiding in the corner of the picture is her much younger and handsomer lover.
And what's he got there? Why, it's a copy of that very key! Rather than being factual descriptions of an actual historical practice, these paintings and carvings serve as a humorous warning about the difficulty old, rich, not very attractive men face when attempting to keep their wives faithful.
After all - "there's always more than one key to every lock!"
And what of Bellifortis? For decades, scholar after scholar held up this text as the one irrefutable piece of evidence that medieval chastity belts were a real, widely used item.
The tome, written by a German engineer, describes military technology of the time period in meticulous detail. Many of the featured items are drawn in Kyeser's neatly meticulous hand.
One of these diagrams is clearly labeled "chastity belt". Its design once again evokes a pair of metal panties , this time featuring a set of spiked “jaws” meant to damage the cock of any man who tries to get past it.
Yes, the drawing is impressive - but it is no more “definitive evidence” of chastity belts than anything else.
A closer examination of Bellifortis reveals that, mixed in with the real-world military technology are fantastical, fictional ideas crafted by Kyeser, such as armor which would allow soldiers to become invisible or sneak past enemy lines without making a sound.
The drawing of the chastity belt appears in one of these facetious sections. Most damning of all, Kyeser neither describes how to make one nor provides any real life examples of such a device being used.
The "Bellifortis belt" is nothing more than the amusing product of an active imagination.
Male Anti-Masturbation Devices - Victorian Medical "Science"
The female chastity belt was a myth, a fantasy playing off men's fears of female infidelity and sexual appetites.
The "armored undergarment" style belt - also referred to as the "Florentine belt" due to a mistaken belief that they were manufactured in Florence, Italy - completely fails to stand up to realistic, modern analysis.
How could a woman urinate, defecate, menstruate and keep her vagina clean and disease-free if it was constantly covered by a metal "shield"?
However, what these fictional belts could - and did - do was serve as an inspiration. Victorian-era inventors and medical scientists looked to the chastity belts of old when attempting to create a solution to the dangerous scourge known as "masturbation".
Dangerous scourge? Masturbation? What on Earth?
Today, we know that self-pleasure is a healthy, completely normal process with numerous benefits ranging from improving your mood to easing headaches and menstrual cramps.
They believed that it distracted young children, especially boys, from leading productive lives. Frequent masturbation was thought to shrink the penis and testicles, decrease the quality of the sperm, and even cause infertility.
Nocturnal emission - releasing semen while you sleep due to erotic dreams or friction from your blankets - was believed to be the primary symptom of a fatal (and entirely fictional) disease called "spermatorrhea".
So what did doctors, scientists, inventors and religious authorities do to curtail the global masturbation "epidemic"?
Why, take inspiration from medieval chastity belts and create "anti-masturbation devices", of course!
A trip to the American and British patent offices reveals over a dozen distinct devices patented for the express purpose of stopping young boys from touching themselves or even getting erections.
In this collection of barbaric torture-like instruments can even be found the "ancestors" of the modern cock cage!
Some of these devices were merely preventative in nature. Others were meant to cause pain, humiliation and - in one case - even public shame!
Here are just a few examples of very real, very uncomfortable anti-masturbation tools used in surprisingly recent history:
The Jugnum Penis
The Jugnum Penis, also known as the Spermatorrhea Ring, was primarily designed to prevent wet dreams and nocturnal emissions.
It consisted of a single spiked ring placed around the base of the cock just above the balls. Modern scholars and sexual historians have described it as "somewhere between a cock ring and a bear trap."
If the wearer developed an erection during the night, the spikes would dig into their penis, causing them to wake up and forcing them to calm themselves down so that the pain would stop.
It is unclear who first invented or patented the Jugnum Penis, or in what year, because several competing designs were available on the market at the time.
Because of its simplicity, the Spermatorrhea Ring is widely believed to be the most popular and widespread of the anti-masturbation devices listed here.
The Spermatic Truss
The Spermatic Truss was first patented in 1876 by Harvey Stephenson of Pennsylvania. Its original design "merely" prevented erections by placing the flaccid cock inside a fabric or leather pouch and strapping it against the leg.
However, a few years later, Stephenson filed a new patent for an "improved" version, which encased the cock in a series of spiked rings - similar to the Jugnum Penis above.
The Truss is widely considered to be the device most responsible for the design of the modern cock cage, as it was the first to use the "series of rings" model which is still popular today.
However, it is strongly recommended that modern kinksters avoid any designs featuring spikes such as the ones Stephenson designed, as they can cause permanent damage to the sensitive flesh of the penis - and even possibly render the wearer permanently impotent.
The Cold Shower
Have you ever stepped into a freezing cold shower to rid yourself of a pesky erection? Well, in 1893, an American man named Frank Orth patented an extremely complex device which used the tried and true "cold shower method" to prevent erections and masturbation.
Orth's "penis cooler" required the unfortunate victim to wear a pair of waterproof rubber underwear and sandwich their cock between two extremely sensitive levers.
If the penis moved even slightly, the levers would activate and pump cold water over the organ.
Orth believed that this would immediately "shrink" and "shrivel" the cock to the point that erection was no longer possible.
Diagrams attached to the patent indicate that Orth's device would come in multiple versions, some of which could be attached to a house's water system and others capable of carrying water independently.
The Parental Warning
Today, most men who wear a cock cage or other chastity device do so either because they themselves want to or because their Dominant partner commands it.
However, during the era of "anti-masturbation mania," many unfortunate young boys were forced into these contraptions by their overly concerned parents.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that multiple anti-masturbation devices existed which worked by informing the parents as soon as their "precious little boy's" cock began to grow.
Patents of this type were issued in both France and America in the mid-1800s. Like the "penis cooler" above, the "parental warning" system worked by placing the penis next to a sensitive lever which would react to the smallest movement of the cock.
Most of these levers would cause a bell to ring loudly, thus summoning the parents so they could chastise their deviant son.
However, one variety, attributed to a man named Joseph Lees, instead caused a gramophone to begin playing soft classical music.
Lees hoped that exposure to gentle, calming music would help train young boys to vanquish their dreaded nighttime reactions on their own.
The Permanent Consequence
Most barbaric of all were the anti-masturbation devices which could lead to permanent pain, scarring or disfigurement if the poor child gave in to temptation - or even experienced a harmless, totally natural nighttime boner.
Some of these drew inspiration from the codpieces of old suits of armor and completely covered the cock, almost certainly leading to infection or disease since it could no longer be cleaned properly.
Others delivered electric shocks, ranging from mildly irritating to downright debilitating.
One particular tool, patented by a "James H. Bowen" in 1889, has not retained popularity even among the most extreme of modern masochists.
The "Bowen Device" featured a series of narrow cables which were clamped to individual pubic hairs. When the unfortunate boy's cock began to stiffen, the hairs would be pulled tightly, causing extreme pain.
Sometimes, the hairs would even be pulled from the body entirely and fail to grow back, leaving unsightly bald patches on the wearer's groin.
Lastly, in 1906, the "bloody brilliant" Raphael Sohn patented the "Mechanical Sheath," a solid metal contraption locked by a key about the size of a fingernail.
The Sheath resembled a modern cock cage - but much, much, MUCH tighter. It was designed to squeeze the penis in a vice grip, preventing even the slightest motion.
And should the wearer attempt to remove the cage without using their key? Well...let's just say that, according to Sohn's patent, their penis would be short a few layers of skin and their body would be missing about a pint of blood.
...And Much, Much More!
The above examples are just a few of the ways in which parents, doctors and scientists attempted to end the "masturbation curse" once and for all.
Boys were sent to bed in full-body pajamas, aprons, and even straitjackets in order to prevent friction and keep their hands away from their cock.
Pamphlets were published insisting that masturbation caused blindness, impotence, insanity and even death.
Two rather familiar names - John Harvey Kellogg and Sylvester Graham - advocated for bland diets in order to reduce sexual lust in young men and women. Their crusade resulted in the development of Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal and Graham crackers, both of which remain popular today (although, hopefully, they are no longer used to prevent children from masturbating).
It was not until the 1930s that doctors and scholars began to acknowledge that perhaps masturbation was not as deadly as once thought.
Luckily, most of the barbaric devices described in this article are no longer in production today, and their patents have been allowed to lapse.
What Has All This "Cum" To?
We started with a beautiful fiction, then turned it into a horrifying reality - but where are we now?
Today, chastity devices are produced almost entirely for kink exploration by adults interested in orgasm denial or female-led relationships.
Although, a quick Google search does reveal that some religious extremist parents still hold Victorian-esque views about the dangers of allowing their children to masturbate.
Both male and female chastity devices in a wide range of materials are produced by companies all over the world, although sales figures indicate that approximately 80% of customers interested in being locked up in chastity are male.
Popular designs range from stainless steel cages to vibrating silicone rings to bright pink "sissy" models made from plastic.
The female chastity belt, meanwhile, continues to have its place in fiction and fantasy, appearing in both the 1993 comedic film Robin Hood: Men in Tights and the 2015 post-apocalyptic thriller Mad Max: Fury Road.
It seems, truly, that chastity belts and devices exist today much as they did in the past - a surprisingly harmonious marriage between the erotic female fiction and the kinky male reality.