Everything You’ve Heard About Chastity Belts Is a Lie …

… so goes the headline at this Atlas Obscura article on that very subject. The article leads off:

In his 1969 book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask), David R. Reuben described it as an “armored bikini” with a “screen in front to allow urination and an inch of iron between the vagina and temptation.” “The whole business was fastened with a large padlock,” he wrote. With this device, medieval men going off to medieval wars could be assured that their wives would not have sex with anyone else where they were far, far away, for years at a time.

Yes, it sounds simultaneously ridiculous, barbarous and extremely unhygienic, but…medieval men, you know? It was a different time.

This, at least, has been the story that’s been told for hundreds of years. It’s simple, shocking, and, on some level, fun, in that it portrays past people as exceeding backwards and us, by extension, as enlightened and just better. It’s also, mostly likely, very wrong.

So that old joke about Lancelot and Guinevere? It remains a joke, apparently.

When one considers the evidence for medieval chastity belts, as Classen did in his book The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-making Process, it becomes apparent pretty quickly that there’s not much of it. First of all, there aren’t actually all that many pictures of or accounts of using chastity belts, and even fewer physical specimens. And the few book-length works on the topic rely heavily on each other and all cite the same few examples.

So, pretty much like Bigfoot or Alien Technology writers – they all pretty much cite each other.

“You have a bunch of literary representation, but very few historical references to a man trying to put a chastity belt on his wife,” says Classen. And, any literary reference to a chastity belt is likely either allegorical or satirical.

References in European texts to chastity belts go back centuries, well into the first millennium A.D. But until the 1100s, those references are all couched in theology, as metaphors for the idea of fidelity and purity. For example: One Latin source admonishes the “honest virgin” to “hold the helmet of salvation on your front, the word of truth in the mouth…true love of God and your neighbor in the chest, the girdle of chastity in the body….” Possibly virgins who took this advice went around wearing metal helmets and keeping some physical manifestation of the word “truth” in their cheek, like a wad of tobacco, in additional to strapping on metal underwear. Or, possibly, none of this is meant to be taken literally.

It’s interesting that today, chastity belts/devices are most assuredly not a path toward purity, but are used as sex toys, and (at least for men) seem to enhance, rather than restrict, their sexual thoughts.

But wait – how did people back in those days take the depictions of chastity belts?

In other words, even in the 1500s, no one took the idea of locked-up metal underwear very seriously as an effective anti-sex device. When chastity belts were depicted, it was in the Renaissance equivalent of Robin Hood: Men in Tights—and the audiences for those pieces of art probably thought the idea of a metal chastity belt just as giggle-worthy as late 20th century teenagers did.

The authors make an entirely relevant point:

Why has the myth of the chastity belt endured? It’s hard to disprove an idea once it’s firmly lodged in people’s minds. As a result, the same scant information has managed to convince generations that medieval men locked up their wives’ nether regions. Even the practical difficulties of such a device—as one historian wrote, “How could such a mechanism have been designed to permit the normal activities of urination, evacuation, menstruation, and hygiene, yet prevent both anal and vaginal penetration?”—have not dissuaded people from believing in chastity belts.

Certainly a good portion of the conversations on many chastity boards – and especially on our own The Chastity Forums – are involved with creating or modifying a device for long term wear that will allow users to take care of basic hygiene and comfort.

But the article ends with the suggestion that the authors may have been around this or similar blogs:

But for many people, it’s simply a fantasy about sex. Even if chastity belts used to enforce medieval fidelity were not real, modern-day chastity belts, sold as fetish objects, definitely, definitely are.

Not specifically medieval, but at least chastity related…




Mid-year Review

I was thinking that it’s time that I posted some original content for a change. I was going to write something about how Mrs. Edge and I have been doing as a result of her agreeing to give me some maintenance canings, but then I thought that most of you wouldn’t be interested in anything like that. Fortunately, Ms. Ferns mentioned that since I’ve used a number of different fitness tracking sites or apps, that it would be a good idea for me to write a little review. Certainly that’s better than reading about Mrs. Edge discovering that she now gets very aroused when I’m leaning over the bed as she’s smacking my well-muscled rear end, right?

Anyway, a while back, Ms. Ferns decided that she wanted some workout buddies, so she created a fitness section for herself and friends. The problem was that all of us seem to do different types of exercise, and on different schedules, so it was difficult to keep track of everyone. This led to some of us moving to a consistent platform to show off log our workouts. I’m just going to give the pros and cons (my own opinion) on some of them.

My own workout routine is a little different: in the warmer weather I prefer to spend my time road cycling. After having tried a number of different cycling/running apps, I settled on Strava. MapMyRide (part of the MapMy___ group) has more features, but it turned into a battery hog. It also stored the GPX (distance/speed tracking) files in a non-standard format that couldn’t be read with other apps. Strava has fewer features, but has been consistently good on my Galaxy S4 running Android; no weird freezing or crashes. Last year I bought myself a Garmin Edge 500 – a bare-bones GPS tracker, so I no longer use my phone to track my rides, but I do upload my data to Strava because I have a number of friends that follow me there.

In the colder months, though, I prefer to lift. This arrangement puts me in a frustrating position in which I lose a lot of my muscle gains from cycling and have to make them up again. In theory I should try to lift at least once a week over the summer, but really – cycling is my preferred activity.

For tracking my lifts, I actually use a notepad and pen. I have several years of notebooks, so I can look back at any time to see what I’d been doing. This is especially important when I want to see if certain exercise will cause me pain, soreness, etc. This past year, though, I’ve tried to keep my workouts simple – just a full-body workout using several basic exercises (as opposed to “leg day” and “arm day” workouts).

I tried a number of fitness trackers because I liked the idea of seeing up to date progress graphs and other features not immediately available on my paper notebooks. I settled on Jefit because it had a large exercise database, and the free version had some basic tracking. When they came out with a mobile app, it was easy to use and gave me most of the features I wanted.

Jefit is an exercise logger. It’s not going to give you a calorie count or nag you if you didn’t work out this week, but it does have a very large number of exercises that you can choose from. Pick the ones that you want and start entering the numbers: Barbell squats – 145 lbs, 5 sets of 5 reps. You can duplicate the sets and edit them later if you need. It will also show what your max is/was, and how it compares to what you’re doing now.

Where it falls short is in the “social” aspect, but to be fair, this is where most of the apps fall short. Jefit allows you to connect with other friends who can see your workouts, but you can’t easily post a workout to Facebook so all your other friends can ooh and ahh over it. That’s where Fitocracy shines.

A number of Ferns’ workout buddies have moved over to Fitocracy simply because of the social aspect. The exercise database is smaller than Jefit, and the web browser navigation is a bit clunky, and it relies too much on cutesy little scripty touches. And the app? Forget it – it’s actually easier to use your mobile browser than the app.

But Fitocracy does something that the other apps don’t do: it gives you (based on some weird calculated algorithm) points on your workout, and easily lets you share those scores with other friends, including on Twitter and Facebook. Why is the points important? Because you can set up small groups for time based challenges. The points allow people who do different workouts to compete with each other. For example, I do some pretty basic lifting – squats, deadlifts, pullups, presses. My frequent challenger does machines, plus some dancing, and a few other weird things. The Fitocracy algorithms allow her to compare her workout efforts to mine, even though our exercises are quite different. This makes the challenges a little more fun, and makes it so that the biggest, strongest person doesn’t consistently win all the time.

So, which fitness tracker for you? If you’re just looking for the social aspects, or looking to start a groups with people who all have different routines (or exercises), then Fitocracy is probably the best option. But if you like the old-school pen & paper style, then Jefit might be the tracker that let’s you forget about everything else except lifting the iron.


And here’s someone who doesn’t skip leg day. Or back day, or arm day.




Exploring new territory – 2

I mentioned a while back that I did something that I’m always cautioning other men around here not to do: take a full blown fantasy scenario and dump it on your unsuspecting partner, and then expect something good to happen with it.

The Reader’s Digest version is this: a year or two ago, Mrs. Edge was off for a few weeks visiting family, leaving me by my lonesome. We had been moving away from the chastity device into permission-based orgasm control (which, in my case, meant “not any”), and with it, had put some tentative tendrils into something resembling a female-led relationship, although it probably looked more like a mistress/servant type of thing. Over the course of doing my yard work, shopping, cleaning, and spending my time alone, I began to form some fantasy scenarios to keep me occupied, and without the opportunity to discuss them with her, they sort of… took off in a direction I hadn’t given much thought to.

When she finally got back and we’d had some time to settle in, she asked what was making me so antsy. I explained that I had this idea that we could have a weekly “performance review” evening, at which we could have a nice dinner — cooked by me, of course — after which we could settle in the drawing room on the family room sofa with a glass of wine (opened and poured by me), where she could go over how well I looked after her the previous week and note my shortcomings, after which I would be given some strokes with a riding crop or cane; some for punishment, and some strictly for maintenance. After which, I’d vow to do better, and we’d have some fun the next week.

Okay, seriously: I’m actually embarrassed to admit that this happened.

I mean, this totally came out of nowhere, so she wasn’t expecting anything like this at all.

And yes, it came out of nowhere for me, too. One day I was just mowing the lawn, and the next day I had some kind of tingle just thinking about it. But the instructive point here was that I had the better part of a month to let it percolate in my head; Mrs. Edge had never heard me ask for a spanking, let alone a punishment, performance review, or anything else. Again, I had been thinking about them, and building things up in my head, so what she heard was an almost-finished project that had no input from her.

This is often the case with guys who harbor domination fantasies for years, except that it often goes badly for them when their wife — who may have been much less disposed to anything not vanilla — just flat out rejects their ideas entirely.

In my case, Mrs. Edge was willing to listen; in part because we’d already spent some time in the past discussing how to best approach some of these ideas, and in part because I presented them as a fun, no-pressure version of a kinky date night. Her reaction wasn’t negative, but it was certainly guarded. We talked about how things would work, she asked a few questions, and a couple of weeks later we stopped by a local “adult emporium” and picked up an inexpensive riding crop. Why a crop over a paddle? She thought that a paddle seemed too much like Catholic School, and that a crop was more elegant, even if a bit stereotypically dominatrixy.

So, what happened? When we got home, she gave me a couple of whacks with the crop before bed, and then we put it in the drawer.

Where it stayed untouched.

The “performance review” nights turned into date nights, for which we made a rule for ourselves not to talk about our kids or our parents (readers of a certain age will understand what I mean here). It was nice to go out once a week, have a burger and a glass of wine and relax, but as the weeks, and then months passed, I found myself becoming frustrated. In the past, I’ve had to learn how to be conscious of not being too pushy for something that I wanted, but I’ve also learned that Mrs. Edge will often just not bring it up, hoping that I’ll forget about it. I brought the topic up again, and she seemed interested, and professed that she wanted to try it… but that didn’t go anywhere, either.

Does this sound familiar to anybody?

From the various blogs that I’ve seen come and go over the years, this is a pretty typical scene. I’m bringing this up because, despite the fact that Mrs. Edge and I actually have a pretty good relationship, we are still prone to the same kinds of frustrations and disagreements over expectations; especially expectations that are not communicated clearly or with the opportunity for input from both sides.

I won’t bore you with the mis-communications that we had over this during the next several months. Once in a while, I’d ask “Remember that thing I asked you about last summer? Are you still interested?” She would usually respond positively, and then… that would be it until the next time I asked.

In situations like this, it’s easy to blame the guy for being pushy, but that misses the bigger picture. Since it’s within a relationship, that means that there are two people who aren’t working together. Yes, the guy can be pushy or topping from the bottom, but if he isn’t getting good feedback from his partner, then he’s not going to know enough to change his approach. Fortunately, neither Mrs. Edge nor I are stupid. I took some time to step back and really think about what I had asked of her: in my mind, I was asking for a scene. But in her mind, I already had something scripted that she wasn’t on board with. So, I stripped it down to the basics, that is, what I was really hoping to gain from it, and asked her again.

“What if I were to ask you not for anything complicated, but something simple:  For two months, once a week, at a time of your choosing, I’d like you to hit me with the crop, say, a dozen to a dozen and a half strokes. This isn’t a sexual thing, it doesn’t have to be a particular day. Tuesday after dinner. Thursday before bed. Saturday morning. Any time you feel up to it.”

I then added, “There’s no leather involved, no role playing, you wouldn’t need to get dressed up — not that I’d mind — you could even stay in your pajamas. We don’t have to turn it into a scene. Just five minutes, and we’re done.”

Now that she didn’t see a script involved, she was more intrigued. “Isn’t that going to hurt? What’s in it for you?”

“Yes, I expect it to hurt — that’s kind of the idea. I’d like to experience what it’s like to be punished, or more correctly, to have some control removed. Like an indentured servant or something. I’d have no say in when you would do it, or any say in how many strokes.”

And I could see the wheels turning; it was no longer my idea, she would have plenty of say in how things went together.

“Are you sure you’d want a dozen whacks? You’re going to be begging me to stop.”

“Well, I know that I could take six or eight. Once we get past ten, I’d probably be out of my comfort zone. Since the idea is for me to be pushed past that zone, to do something I really don’t want to be doing, a dozen or more seemed like a good number. I gave you a top end in case you started feeling uncomfortable about it.”

“And is that why you said ‘two months’?”

She was giving this some actual thought now, which is good.

“That’s right. I figured I could handle a few times, but eight or nine weeks in a row is, again, pushing beyond my comfort zone. Plus, if you’re really not enjoying it, there’s an end in sight.”

“And this doesn’t have to be a date night thing? You won’t care if I give you a few whacks in the morning before work?”

I mentally winced at the idea of sitting on my office chair with a welted ass. “Yes, I might care, but that’s not the point. What I’m asking you for is for you to do this whether I want it or not.”

Mrs. Edge thought about this for a few minutes, and decided that it was something that she could live with. We had taken any odd or constricting factors out, and left the important sections up to her.

“What if you get mad at me for spanking you?”

“Oh, I’ll probably be upset in the moment, but what I’m expecting is that when I think about it later, It will make me all aroused and hot for you.”

She laughed at that. “It doesn’t take much to get you all aroused, but I do like it when you’re aroused for me.”

Suddenly she smiled at some inner thought.

“What’s that about?” I asked.

“Well, what if we get to eight weeks, and I decide that I want to continue?” she asked, slyly.

For those of you who don’t recognize what’s going on, this is what negotiation looks like in a relationship. It doesn’t necessarily mean compromise, but it does mean that everyone gets a say in how it’s going to work. It doesn’t mean that you will get everything that you want, but it certainly improves your chances for getting something that you want — which you weren’t getting without negotiation, anyway.



Although sometimes we have different ideas of what “negotiating” means…

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

Regarding the recent news article about frequent orgasms helping to prevent prostate cancer, here’s an interesting article about health & science news that popped up on IO9 today:

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.

The article itself details the Nutrition Science version of the Sokal Hoax, and I really can’t give it a good summary – just click the link and go read it.

But the take-away is this: Science journalism is much like any other kinds of journalism in that writers don’t fully understand the topic, and often draw the wrong conclusions based only on the press release and a quick skim of the material (if that). Then editors will throw a click-bait headline on it, and the entire thing is geared to sell ad space.

So, let’s remember to use some common sense, and to not believe the first thing that we read. This goes for science news as much as it goes for all those “true stories” on the BDSM blogs.

Well, except for this, of course. I came home from work one day and Mrs. Edge had totally converted into my dream/nightmare Domme. No, really.  This totally happened.

An orgasm a day…

I know that most of you come here looking for stories or information on *not* orgasming, but here’s something that popped up on the news feed recently:

Men who orgasm every day ‘have lower risk of prostate cancer’

Stories like this appear once in a while, but this time apparently someone was able to put a number to it. Ready?

Study finds men who ejaculate 21 times a month lower their risk of the disease by a fifth

Okay, that’s worth looking into.

A study has revealed that those men who ejaculate more often during their lifetime have a 22% lower risk of getting the disease.

The study doesn’t give any reasons why the practice of ejaculation may help to stave off prostate cancer, but there are theories which have been made public previously.

Oh, wait. I thought that we were going to have something a little more concrete than we usually see. But all is not lost:

The largest research to date on ejaculation followed almost 32,000 men in good health for 18 years.

Of the number, 3,839 later developed prostate cancer – but the figures showed that in the 40-49 bracket, men who ejaculated more than 21 times a month had a 22% lower risk of developing the disease.

Results were adjusted to take in other possibly contributing factors such as diet and lifestyle.

So, it looks like once you hit your 40s, you have to make orgasms a job: Once a day, Monday through Friday, and weekends off. That hits the 20+ mark on most months. Hell, when I was a younger lad, 21 was probably a minimum number for me.

You can read up on the rest of the article at The Mirror. I was hoping that they would have a link to the actual study, since Mrs. Edge is away this week and I’ve been trying to make up for lost time. For some  reason I’m feeling a bit lethargic this afternoon, and I’m too lazy right now to hunt it down myself.

See, I, personally don’t have any problem with this “21 orgasms per month” program. In fact, I kind of like that number. Unfortunately, Mrs. Edge seems to have other ideas, and won’t be as easily swayed.