Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Chastity Belts--Victorian Creation

I heard this from television the other night on The History of Sex. While many of us consider chastity belts something from the middle ages, they turn out to be mostly Victorian in nature. In fact, no one has ever found a chastity belt dating back to the middle ages. They were written about in the poetry of the times, but the first ones made were made in the 19th century. And they weren't made for purposes of chastity, but to deny people the dangerous practice of "self-pleasure", which of course could lead to insanity. Actually too much of any sexual pleasure could lead to illness or insanity, according to my 19th century medical book The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser by R. V. Pierce. I could have sworn there were actual pictures of chastity belts in this book, but I have yet to find them. If anyone wants more information here's a link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2430118

and here's a link to a book:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2430118

Anyone have any interesting ideas on how to incorporate this tid-bit in a book?

6 comments:

Christine Koehler said...

And blindness, don't forget blindness. Too much self-pleasure could lead to insanity, blindness, changes in one's appearance (I'm nearly positive on that one) and most horrifying of all...people would know!

However, I, too, believed it was a medieval thing. Huh.

Susan Macatee said...

I didn't know this either, Dee!

I always associated them with knights and the ladies during the Crusades.

Denise Eagan said...

I keep wondering how to use it though. I mean, we should be able to at least mention it in a book. "Now that he'd removed the chastity belt, which he used to prevent nocturnal emissions, he could perform. . . ."

Nope, that doesn't work. Only other thing I could think of was some sort of nasty abuse from a mother leaving the hero psychologically damaged, but again, yuck.

Darn it.

Barbara Tanner Wallace said...

Were the chastity belts only for women? That's wholly unfair. I can see one of a more liberated heroine being appalled at the inequity. Or perhaps, the hero and heroine could come across one somewhere, the hero explaining what it is, and somehow the ensuing discussion of self-pleasure.....

Then there's always the mental chastity belt.....

Somewhere Dee's sorry I posted...

Barbara Tanner Wallace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denise Eagan said...

Barb, you are so funny. No I'm not sorry you posted. I dont know if they were just for woman, I think they may have been for men too. I'm going to have to find that out. You're right, it's totally unfair and I see my heroine getting ticked off over that.