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Iron chastity belt, Europe, 1501-1600

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Red velvet lining gives some comfort for the wearer of this hinged, metal chastity belt. The heavy belt is locked with a key. It is thought chastity belts were invented in the Middle Ages to prevent women having sexual intercourse. However, recent arguments suggest they are nothing more than Victorian myths. Documentation connected with this object claims it may date from the 1500s, but more likely it was made in the 1800s.

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Glossary: chastity belt

A garment which prevents the wearer from having sex.