History Podcasts

#78: Did Medieval Women Really Wear Chastity Belts?

#78: Did Medieval Women Really Wear Chastity Belts?

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According to legends of the Middle Ages, knights used the chastity belt on their wives as an anti-temptation device before embarking on the Crusades. When the knight left for the Holy Lands, his Lady would wear a chastity belt to preserve her faithfulness to him. The metal teeth that surrounded her “credentials” would also tear to shreds the member of any would-be seducer.

However, there is no reliable evidence that chastity belts existed before the 15th century. Any reference to them is likely symbolic or a satirical drawing. No actual medieval chastity belt survives, and those that appear in museums are forgeries.

Were they ever in use at all? If not, how did the legend appear?


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