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Why were chastity belts invented?

Why were chastity belts invented? Were they really used to keep women pure or protect them if the town was pillaged?

4446 day(s) ago

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Mr. Boxy
When you think "chastity belt," you probably think of some form of medieval metal underwear, like this:

However, the only chastity belts in use during this time were symbolic pieces of fabric worn by both men and woman showing that they would stay faithful while they were apart. In effect, they were a lot like today's chastity rings.

"Medieval" metal chastity belts have, thanks to modern methods of dating, proven to be much newer. While there were designs for metal belts dating to this period, they would have been far too uncomfortable to wear for any length of time. Use of belts that physically prevented intercourse didn't catch on until the 1800s. These were mainly designed to prevent masturbation, which was was thought to cause all manner of diseases. These were primarily used for boys and girls.

Use for personal protection didn't come into play until the end of the nineteenth century when women were entering the workplace. No legal reprisal could normally be made against a man for sexual assault and women left alone with male bosses felt particularly exposed. These new female workers would wear belts to protect themselves from unwanted advances.

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