Iron chastity belt, lined with silk, possibly 16th


Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Iron chastity belt, lined with silk, possibly 16th century

Chastity belts are said to have been used as a method of ‘sin prevention’. They were historically used on women, but examples exist for animals to. The belts were first referenced in texts from the crusades which describe them being inflicted on wives by their husbands who had left for war. These belts demonstrate a misogynistic view of sexuality, something modern feminists are still fighting against.

However, it is thought that chastity belts may never actually have been used. Instead, it has been suggested that historical references of their use are examples of dark humour that poked fun at the male fear of infidelity, and some argue that existing examples of chastity belts are Victorian reproductions. Modern popular culture references of chastity belts often tend to be satirical, continuing the idea that these items were more for humour and entertainment than practical purposes.

Realistically, the (lack of) hygiene and comfort of a chastity belt alone would suggest they weren’t widely used – especially when you consider the logistics of managing menstrual cycles whilst wearing one, and the potential for injury on the sharp, metal parts.


Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
iron and silk
chastity belts and chastity belts and

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.