A chastity belt is an item of clothing, used both historically and today, that is locked onto an individual in order to prevent sexual intercourse or masturbation. Generally, a chastity belt is worn by someone who neither consented to nor has the ability to remove it themselves, with the exception of its use today as an item of sex play or as a fetish.
The exact origin of the chastity belt is unknown but, as they are generally made of metal, it is likely that it originated after the development of metal-working. Chastity belts were once worn by the wives of a soldier or sailor who wore them at the direction of their husband, who demanded a guarantee of his wife’s fidelity while he was away.
In the Victorian era, parents believed that masturbation in children was medically dangerous or religiously unacceptable. Both boys and girls wore chastity belts, designed differently for each gender, to prevent the possibility of masturbation.
In certain Hindu practices involving extreme ascetism, practitioners voluntarily wear devices that encase the genitals in order to demonstrate their strict celibacy.
Chastity belts exist today as a form of sexual play and fetishism. Usually men wear these devices although they exist for women as well. This type of chastity belt can be made of plastic, leather or steel. There are two styles of modern-day chastity belts: (1) A cage-like device that encases the male genitalia and (2) a “Florentine” belt that simply shields the genitals. Each type of device is fitted with a padlock, similar to those used in historic times.