A: We’re all familiar with the chastity belt – that virginity-saving device that does for sex what house arrest does for crime. It’s alleged that the chastity belt was strictly used to maintain sexual control over women, ensuring that only a locksmith could get past the heavy-metal shield. Up until relatively recently, everyone has taken the existence of the chastity belt for granted, but some research has suggested that the use of chastity belts in the past is mere urban legend – one that sprung up in Italy in the 1300s.
In 1996, two British historians reported that there was no medical evidence from the time of Chaucer through the Victorian period that chastity belts existed or were commonly used. In fact, the reports were so persuasive that following this announcement, the British Museum of London even decided to remove an alleged chastity belt that had been on exhibit since 1846.