It is believed by most scholars that the chastity belts did not even exist in the Medieval period. Instead, it was a product of the 18th and 19th centuries. Then it was used for the societal ill, obsession with masturbation and safeguard women at the workplace. While we perceived the Medieval period had heroic knights, ruling kings, court jesters, giant turkey legs, stampeding horses and maidens wearing the chastity belts; we are wrong about the last one though.
What were chastity belts?
The myth concluded that the Chastity belts were locked metal or leather belts that were worn by maidens to keep them “pure”. The myths, however, date back to the 11th and 13th centuries. At the time Crusades when knights would be gone for years. They would rape and pillage in the name of god, and the wives would wait at home longing a companionship or being vulnerable to unscrupulous men.
So the knights would make the wives wear the Chastity belts as a protection and a pledge the fidelity. The only thing is the maidens, and the knights never heard of the chastity belts at that time.
Although, the first depiction of the chastity belts or a “female Chastity device” was 600 years ago by Konrad Keyser in his 1405 book of military technology, Bellifortis. Keyser writes and draws the crossbow, instruments of torture, battering ram, and also describes the female Chastity device. He writes: “These are hard iron breeches of Florentine women which are closed at the front.”
None can verify the presence of these artifacts and devices. The historians concluded that they were rarely used or just all made up. The fact that the Florentine Women were not generally open to the soldier’s advances. Further, several poems of the era mentioned the female chastity device. They could have taken it as simple strips of clothes that cover a female’s body and has nothing to do with the real chastity belts.
In the 15th and 16th century paintings and drawings, women were shown to wear metal chastity belts and even padlocks on their tongue. But these were merely fictional stories where women would wear padlock to their languages, who would do that in real. The story where a jealous husband would make his wife wear a lock to keep her from running off with a rival of his own. Well, directly putting licks on the genitals the women would have been prone to infections, and this was lethal back in the time.
The lack of any direct documentation and surviving artifacts of the fact that women used to wear metal chastity belts that make the historians skeptical about the fact. This gets them to think that at what point of time in history what did people do. But, the increasing mention of the chastity belts in the fiction shows that it is possible some people did wear them.
Trace it back, and you will find many instants of the chastity belts being worn by the women for various reasons. While we origin the word chaste as an adjective and then a noun in the 12th and 14th centuries respectively. As an adjective Chaste meant “virtuous, pure from unlawful sexual intercourse” and as a noun, chaste meant “a virgin person.”